Please welcome Novigi Br(ai)n to the table

The Association of Superannuation Funds Australia’s (ASFA) August National innovation discussion group had an unusual guest seated at the table. Br(ai)n — Novigi’s cloud based artificial intelligence and machine learning solution — was an active listener to the robust discussion around The State of Innovation in the Superannuation Industry.

The session was well-attended by thought leaders from across a diverse range of industries with Novigi’s Managing Partner — Ash Priest — chairing.  Each brought a different perspective to the discussion while Br(ai)n used a combination of cloud technology and natural language processing techniques to extract meaning from the conversation.

So what was discussed?

Each panelist provided their view on what innovation is and isn’t. Innovation was viewed as value add or value creation while technology, although pivotal in the process of innovation, wasn’t seen as the driving force. The driver for innovation was the need to optimise member experience and building relationships with the member base. Discovering what members needed was the first step in innovating.

Now, during the pandemic, was seen as the time to be talking about innovation in superannuation. Funds needed to think outside of the traditional and be open to an innovation mindset. Hiring for diversity to augment the creative process and create a culture of innovation from outside the industry was vital to leading innovative change.

Legislation was topical during the discussion with current legislation seen to constrain innovation while the removal of the sole purpose test was perhaps an opportunity for funds to innovate and provide better financial services to all members.

Concluding the discussion, each panellist seemed to agree on the principle that any innovation must benefit the consumer.

And what did Novigi Br(ai)n hear?

Br(ai)n listened to the discussion group and she quantified that there were:

  • 640 sentences;

  • 10,565 words spoken;

  • 177.6 words (10.7 sentences per minute); and

  • Removing spaces — there were 47,240 characters

Of the 10,565 words spoken, there was no surprise “innovation” headed the list as the most vocalised word. Words like “change”, “technology” and “engagement” were also prominent. These words provide insight into the positive nature of the discussion and how the future of innovation is encouraging.


Figure 1: Top 50 words Word Cloud generated from the discussion group


Br(ai)n also has the ability to use sentiment analysis techniques to determine and classify emotions in individual sentences.

Br(ai)n found that the discussion had an overall median positive sentiment score of 74%. This positive outlook was recorded for each of the three sections of the discussion.

  • Section one — Is the super industry innovative? — saw a 77% positive sentiment score;

  • Section two — What’s happening next in the industry — 66% positive sentiment, reflecting the recognition of potential blockers to innovation.

  • Section three — Issues facing the super industry and what needs to change to enable innovation — had the highest median sentiment score (80%),  This suggests a positive outlook with the panel perspective that potential blockers can be overcome.

Looking at the three sections more closely, Br(ai)n interpreted quotes surrounding the meaning of innovation as having a high positive sentiment. Br(ai)n ‘waves’ illustrate the fluctuating sentiment throughout the conversation.


Figure 2: Average positive sentiment score per 10 sentences — “Brain Waves”


In the first section, the quote “innovation really is at its core, value add or value creation” had a high positive sentiment of 96%. Quotes like “[members’] engagement levels are increasing” and “I think [what is driving innovation?] is a really exciting question” receiving scores of 94% and 96% respectively.

In contrast, Br(ai)n interpreted the quote “innovation with gimmicks” as 10% positive sentiment.

Br(ai)n is always evolving, and its application in this discussion group highlighted areas for improvement. Phrases like “thank you (name)”, “Brilliant (name)” and “Great” contributed to a high positive sentiment value. In contrast “I might throw it over to you” or “Sorry (name)” had a much lower sentiment score.

Br(ai)n’s speech to text translation is also evolving. As she is trained more, words like “speakers” won’t be confused with “sneakers”.

And what will we see in Br(ai)n’s future?

Br(ai)n’s future will most likely see her generate real-time insights and incorporate sentiment data from multiple sources. She might use Twitter’s API to pull tweets or use Zoom Chat comments to gather insights into real time audience sentiment.

Scraping data from online sources like APRA, ASIC, ASFA media releases to gauge these entities’ opinions on a topic is also on the horizon. Topic analysis to explore recurring themes or talking points between subsequent discussion groups is also planned.

Br(ai)n’s future potential is limitless. As a regular guest of future ASFA discussion groups — Br(ai)n will generate insights and use AI to become smarter and more insightful with every subsequent outing. Br(ai)n also wants to know what you want to see.  Send her your thoughts at


Terry Donnelly leads the Data Services function at Novigi, and is based in the Sydney office.

For more information about anything you’ve read here, or if you have a more general inquiry, please contact us.

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