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NayaDaya makes digital emotions matter

Looking at the screen can evoke a lot of emotions. NayaDaya helps people share them.Istock.com/Poike

A simple thumb pointed up or down doesn’t quite represent the vast variety of human emotions. NayaDaya wants to be a forerunner in digital emotional communications.

How does that make you feel? Marketing professionals have long understood what draws consumers: it’s evoking emotions, leaving them feel touched. Buying a certain phone or drinking a particular tea is meaningful not only in pragmatic terms, but also on an emotional level.

However, feedback is often collected in much simpler ways. Telling how happy one is with a service on a scale of one to five or clicking on a smiling or frowning face often suffices for companies as an indicator of how they’re doing.

But it shouldn’t, deems Finnish NayaDaya. Co-founder and CEO Timo Järvinen points out that being able to express feelings and being heard, understood and accepted are fundamental human needs.

CEO Timo Järvinen Image: NayaDaya

“Places where the emotions of others are often left ignored are those where empathy doesn’t really shine through, like social media,” he says. “A lot of understanding is lost between people when we communicate through digital channels without seeing each other eye to eye.”

Järvinen and the rest of the seven-strong NayaDaya team want to add emotions to the digital world. Hence, the company has launched a platform that enables people to express the feelings caused by what they’ve just seen, read, heard or experienced. Its set of 20 emotion families is based on research conducted by the Geneva Emotion Research Group at the University of Geneva.

“We’re creating added value for digital interaction,” Järvinen explains. “On top of that, we’re building a huge pool of big data of emotional responses.”

Results may vary

NayaDaya’s solution has been in development for two years. Now, any website or digital service can integrate it to collect data about its users’ emotional reactions. For example, media group Keskisuomalainen has tested it on its online news publication Helsingin Uutiset, and US-based digital healthcare company Thrivors on its platform for cancer survivors. Jorvi Hospital, part of Helsinki University Hospital, will pilot the solution for measuring and developing mental health patient experiences.

One of the benefits of the service is that it makes people feel listened to. However, ultimately most firms would expect a measurable return on investment. Järvinen emphasises that there are as many ways to make use of the data as there are industries.

NayaDaya refers to its service as “human emotions on digital platforms”. Image: NayaDaya

“For example, online publications can find out what kind of emotional engagement arises from their content, or healthcare services are able to understand patients’ experiences.”

As big data is called big for a reason, responses need to be collected en masse. Järvinen believes that for this, the full range of human emotions 20 feelings helps: most people would find a suitable icon to reflect their reaction.

“Of course, you can get more reactions from just a thumbs-up or -down questionnaire,” he says. “But there’s not much you can do with the data later, as it gives no insight as to what kinds of positive or negative emotions took place.”

Emotions aren’t going anywhere

NayaDaya’s plan is to find customers and partners in the fields of digital media, health and education. However, the scope is not at all limited to the three. Järvinen believes that pretty much any industry could find the tool useful, be it in employment wellbeing or customer care.

“In today’s world, we’re constantly measuring our bodies with all sorts of gadgets,” he says. “This data ignores psychological elements.”

Hence the company isn’t limiting itself to specific markets. The goal is to internationalise – and quickly. Its first trip to Asia is already looming, and there are ongoing negotiations in the US.

After all, emotions aren’t geographically limited. Facebook alone has reported that 60 million emojis are used on its service every day, on top of the hefty five billion sent over Messenger.

“I don’t see people’s willingness to show their emotions diminishing,” Järvinen notes. “No matter how they’re measured.”

NayaDaya’s model The model is based on pre-existing scientific research independently conducted and published by the Geneva Emotion Research Group. Image: NayaDaya
By: Anne Salomäki