Cognician: Barry and Patrick Kayton

Cognician: Barry and Patrick Kayton


When brothers Barry and Patrick Kayton launched their business, they wanted to revolutionise the way education unlocked thinking. Barry hosted a popular seminar on critical and creative thinking for new product development, and they recognised the business opportunity in sharing these skills with a wider audience. Selling time is inefficient though, so they wanted the business to be based on software that did the same thing: help people realise their own potential.

They were aware of the constraints of e-learning, specifically that managers do not want to answer multiple choice questions in an e-course. They think it’s beneath them. “They need to be involved in meaningful, interactive discussions instead,” explains Patrick. And then something special happened. While developing the interface needed to create discussions and ask insightful questions, the brothers realised they had created a brand new interactive medium, which they now call a ‘cog’ (short for conversational guide).

“Creating a new medium doesn’t happen every day. It’s incredibly exciting, but it brings with it its own challenges,” says Barry. These ‘cogs’ became an idea that the brothers began pitching to the market, but they soon realised that introducing new ideas is not an easy sell.

“We tried to raise finance for the idea, but we struggled to explain to people what we had in mind, as we couldn’t demo anything,” explains Barry.

Realising they were not great at marketing themselves, the brothers considered hiring a web designer to improve their website. They then realised that they could spend that money on developing a prototype of Cognician instead. “It changed our business. We hired a genius developer who has been able to bring our vision to life, and it gave us a ‘real, live’ product that people could interact with,” says Barry.

“Today, corporates are recognising areas where our solution would be invaluable to them. They are educating us on what they need. We have been approached by leading US companies to discuss various applications with them.”

Through listening to their clients, visiting corporates and finding out what their greatest challenges are, Cognician has developed and changed. “When you are new in a market — especially if you
are offering something that is so different it can’t be related to other products, you need to invest money in the product itself. Selling an idea is one thing, giving clients something they can
touch and feel is another.”