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Asking Questions is more Important than Finding Answers

18 September 2023
Asking Questions is more Important than Finding Answers

“Work Smart doesn’t necessarily imply being the largest company or having the most branches. Rather, it means harnessing technology and leveraging existing resources to enhance our way of working”

This is part of the conclusion given by Piyasak Ukritnukun, a Managing Director at Ngern Tid Lor Public Company Limited, after the 1,000 Questions Workshop was completed. In this workshop, the Analytics and Development (A&D) team took over 50 NTL leaders on a journey to “ask questions,” as the workshop's name suggests. The goal was to empower them to strengthen their own capabilities and grow the organization. But what approaches and technologies would be a right tool, there’s an answer in this workshop.

The 1,000 Questions Workshop kicked off with the Gallery Walk activity, which provided an opportunity for participating leaders to review individual homework submitted by their colleagues. The true purpose of this assignment was not focusing on the answers but to highlight the process that, before data can be properly analyzed, there is a whole series of steps needed to be taken, starting from data collection, preparation, data cleansing, and ultimately linking and analyzing data to draw deep insights that can be put to practical use.

Then Piyasak invited participating NTL leaders to revisit the memories of the Open Box event at the beginning of 2023, which had the theme of "Smart Execution" to reiterate that to achieve this year's goals, NTLers needed to:

  • Be attentive to the surrounding context, such as the emergence of AI technology.
  • Prioritize tasks. Sometimes, unplanned matters may need to be taken up first if they are important like the 1,000 Questions Workshop, which was not initially planned.
  • Adapt and learn how to use new tools and technologies to make work faster, more convenient, and easier.

“Because the cost of not adapting may not only be trailing behind others, but also causes the organization to eventually fail and cease to exist.”

Why 1,000 Questions Workshop, and Why is this Important?

After watching the Generative AI film, which helped participating leaders gain a clearer understanding of what AI can do and how it will change the way we work, Bernard Tso, Head of Marketing and Business Development and Information Technology, summarized the insights from the movie and explained the upcoming activities, revealing why this workshop is called the '1,000 Questions Workshop' and providing an answer to why it is important:

“Leaders must work together to create a data system through asking questions to boost the speed of the Flywheel.”

Theewin Jidsathaporn, SVP Analytics and Development, further elaborated on the Generative AI that:

“Today, we have a team of analysts spread across various departments using Tableau (Data Analysis Software) with more than 200 licenses to the extent that it has replaced Excel. This indicates the need to harness available data at a company level (Data-Driven) so that when new technologies emerge, we will be ready to adapt and learn new things immediately.”

It was then time for them to split into groups, to sift through and select the questions that each group had prepared.

What is the Learning Approach Used in The 1,000 Questions Workshop and What have the Leaders of Ngern Tidlor Learned?

On the Day 2 of the workshop, it began with the announcement of 'THE BEST HOMEWORK' award, recognizing outstanding individual homework submissions (as voted by colleagues). The prize was a cap directly shipped from the United States.

This was followed by a discussion on creating data flow or the collection and analysis of data related to the Ngern Tidlor, presented by Thepsak Mapiam, VP of Information Technology Following that, participating leaders engaged in the Data Dash game, a simulation game that involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data using LEGO bricks. The highlight was that if the data collectors gathered either too little or too much data, the group's leader had to dash around the room!

Designing the 'game' that aligns with real-life situations for learning purposes helped participating leaders understand the importance of data quality and efficient data management. Additionally, it made it easier for the teams of Data Engineers and Data Analysts to work more smoothly effectively.

For example, Tassana Luksanakam, VP of the Collections, spoke about what they learned from this activity:

"The game allowed us to see the journey of how difficult it can be to obtain data, and if we start with the right data from the beginning, everything becomes faster and easier.”

But perhaps the most astonishing revelation was Theewin’s explanation that the A&D team used ChatGPT to design games and workshops and employed Midjourney to create illustrations, with the entire process taking just one hour.

“Without AI, we would definitely have to spend much more time.”

On the last day of the workshop, participating leaders had the opportunity to try creating images using the Midjourney program, which can draw pictures with just a few words through the 'Text-to-Image' technology. They practiced using prompts, writing text or sentences that describe what they wanted AI to generate as an image.’

Afterwards, each team was asked to express their feelings about participating in this workshop in the form of images and had representatives come forward to share their experiences with their colleagues.

Before closing the workshop, Piyasak helped summarize the key points emphasized in this workshop:

  • Develop skills of asking sharp, insightful questions and providing good answers.
  • Continue to learn and adapt to new technologies, not allowing technology to disrupt.
  • Communication is crucial. With each workshop, understanding between Ngern Tidlor team members improves. For example, this time, 'Data Users' understand 'Data Creators' better.
  • Collaboration reduces the need for paper-based communication among Ngern Tidlor team members, helping to reduce silos.

“Workshops are about creating experiences and environments for learning, in order to unleash the potential of individuals. Leaders are no different. The role of a leader is to create an atmosphere where individuals within the department and the organization can expand their capabilities limitlessly. I believe that from now on, our organization will evolve even further with increased potential.”

Today, working smart, learning, and embracing new technologies is the answer to increasing efficiency and accelerating the Flywheel of Ngern Tidlor. But the story doesn't end here. We must continue to 'never stop learning' and be ready to 'adapt' to lead and keep pace with the ongoing changes at all times.

Parts of the AHA Moments from the 1,000 Questions Workshop:

"This workshop underscores the importance of context in doing business and allowed us to make decisions more quickly. Sometimes, not all data is correct. Technology doesn't replace people but helps recommend and connect people together.” Waroot Namsiripongpun, Finance and Accounting.

"I’m impressed with the workshop's agenda and the diverse content we received. It made us see the importance of data and working in a cross-functional manner. It helped us understand other teams and departments better.” Putipa Chotikaworawut, Marketing and Business Development.

"We learned that asking good and precise questions influences the results. We also learned that there is a large amount of data, making it necessary for different departments to align their definitions of data.” Viriyapa Tanarapcharoen, Operations.

"I like that the workshop encouraged us to ask about both existed and non-existed. If we can pose a question right, it will help us fill a gap of thinking design process. If the question is about what we currently have, we could use it to improve.” Wanjaree Sasisuriyaphum, Information Technology.

"Having been with Ngern Tidlor for many years, I’ve witnessed the culture here where questions are constantly asked, and the questions being asked lead us to new chapters. We're excited about the upcoming technologies and new tools that will help us work better. This also requires us to sharpen our question-asking skills to craft the right and meaningful questions.” Nattawat Anantathananid, Marketing and Business Development.

"I like daring of our company that make everything here happen. Thanks for granting me an opportunity to be part of Data Engineer of NTL GPT. I am really excited to see this goes live.” Thanakorn Jantarungsri, Insurance Brokerage.


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