Feedback on an emotional intelligence tool I'm working on

Postby emtelligence » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:53 am

Hey all,

First, I want to say that this is a great forum and I'm so glad I found it. There are so many people on this form that really seem to care about each other and it's as if this isn't even the internet. I'm used to reading captions in Youtube or Reddit and people just sh*tting all over each other.

We're a group of engineers and a therapist that are creating a tool that is a spell checker for message structure and tonality. Ever chat with a loved one or a co-worker and they completely misinterpreted the tone and got offended by your message even though you were completely happy or just trying to be nice? We're working on a tool to provide message structure changes to help promote better communication. This would integrate in email and eventually over text and would work pretty much like spell checker.

-Reduce misinterpretations of your messages, especially to loved ones
-Auto-suggestions of therapist-recommended sentence structures to communicate ideas and feedback more appropriately
-Receive and provide feedback more effectively

I'm basically looking for constructive feedback on this tool. What concerns or questions do you have? I'm trying to gauge interest for this tool we're building. I appreciate the feedback.

Thanks,
Doug!
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:57 am

Hi Doug,

Welcome to the forum.

So you plan to approach companies with established digital writing/email software and selling them on the idea of integrating such a program into their existing platforms? Or is your plan to be more like grammarly and a person can copy their text and suggestions on how to improve are offered?

The grammarly path seems more feasible and allows you to retain control. Then it is just a matter of marketing, driving people to use the website and generating revenue via advertising.

The main challenge, in my opinion, is the market is a subset of a subset of a subset of people, used very selectively. Being taken out of context happens to all of us, but it is normally not such a widespread problem that it requires regularly screening of all of your messages for suggested improvements. Spelling/grammar applies to all messages and follows strict rules, while having tone or contextual problems with one individual, a loved one, is most often time constrained and dynamic.

This takes me to the secondary challenge, trying to apply a set of universal rules across varied contexts, cultures, and relationships will inevitably lead to issues where the software commits as many errors as it corrects, offering an improvement that adds to the offense in one context, but is received positively in another.

For example, some version of the two word statement “you shall” is an imperative, an order, which is most often appreciated as providing clarity of direction going from a person of higher status in a group to one of lower status. The reverse however, does not hold true. If a person of lower status uses an imperative to speak to a person of higher status, e.g. the parent, supervisor, manager, CEO, it will provide a much different context, generally negative. Software searching for context then, will have a very difficult time trying to figure out the group dynamic, the hierarchies of status and how this will impact tone/context, so something like imperatives is at least one barrier.

Anyway, ultimately I don’t see any real downside to having fun with it and seeing where it goes. It sounds like a decent kickstarter or gofundme. I think you could get plenty of buy in.
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#2

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:25 pm

Thinking about this a bit more and wondering how the software would handle communications at a company like IBM? How would it identify cultural differences along the 4 dimensions of communication styles?

The below link is a fascinating read.

“These stylistic differences can become, in turn, a major source of misunderstanding, distrust, and conflict in intercultural communication. A case in point is how the interethnic clash between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs can be exacerbated by the two diametrically opposite communication patterns they each have, dugri (straight talk) and musayra (to accommodate or “to go along with”). Understanding differences in communication styles and where these differences come from allows us to revise the interpretive frameworks we tend to use to evaluate culturally different others and is a crucial step toward gaining a greater understanding of ourselves and others.”

“Based on a study of 88,000 IBM employees in 72 countries, between 1967 and 1973, Hofstede (2001) identified four dimensions of cultural values: (a) individualism-collectivism, with individualism defined as a loosely knit social framework in which people are supposed to take care of themselves and their immediate families only, and collectivism defined as a tight social network in which people distinguish between ingroups and outgroups, expect their ingroup to look after them, and in return they owe absolute loyalty to it; (b) power distance, defined as the extent to which a society accepts the fact that power is distributed unequally; (c) uncertainty avoidance, defined as the extent to which a society feels threatened by uncertain and ambiguous situations; and (d) masculinity-femininity, defined as the extent to which the dominant values in society are “masculine”—that is, assertiveness and the acquisition of money and things, and not caring for others.”

http://communication.oxfordre.com/view/ ... 8613-e-162

I wonder how IBM addressed the issue? It might be worthwhile to conduct a literature review and reach out to some current authors. They might have some great feedback.
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#3

Postby emtelligence » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:52 pm

Hey Richard,

Thanks for the reply.

This would be more akin to a Grammarly approach, but each model and angle has a pro and a con.

We're going to have to attach this project to one use case with a specific target audience that would need this. Business to business rather than business direct to consumer would probably be more a fit just due to the problem set.

For sure, this is a huge technical challenge and we'll have to lean on a lot of learnings as we get more and more users to provide recommendations. Grammarly, for instance, takes in a lot of feedback from users and in turn their math model becomes more mature.

Yes, we're thinking of applying this to business solutions and maybe it would be best suited to remote workers where their first language isn't English. We'll see.

Just looking for feedback and to see if we can get a lot of email sign ups to assess if there is a market from each audience we're thinking of targeting with this tech.

Thanks,
Doug!
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