Vyra’s Luke Fagan talks to Wasted.ie

We just want to find a way to engage our employees on the subject of sustainability in a way that doesn’t turn them off.

Photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio /Pexels

This was a direct quote from the CSR manager of a large software company when Wasted.ie spoke to them earlier this week.

It’s certainly a common challenge, ever more prominent in today’s company landscape. Most employers have stepped up the benefits they offer to employees, by embracing wellness as part of on-boarding packages. Programmes focused on belonging, inclusivity, wellbeing, mental health are commonplace in most large organisations now. Business leaders are looking at the challenges and anxieties faced by today’s professional and are offering them the tools to help. One company we know of gives €600 each year to employees to spend how they wish (as long as it’s on wellness 🙂

But one thing taking up more and more of our mental space of late, has been the constant communication surrounding our environment and the anxiety that goes with it.

While company owners are swamped in sustainable strategy rollouts, finding ways to reduce their Carbon footprint and trying to keep up with the latest energy saving technology, employers are now also desperate to find ways to involve their staff and get them to help them on this journey.

They also know that the only way to do this, is to find a way to properly engage employees in a way that sees their efforts rewarded in some way. After all, happy workers make for a better and more profitable business for everyone.

This is where the new Irish company, Vyra comes in. We spoke to Co-Founder Luke Fagan to find our more about the new company that may be able to meet this challenge head on.

Fagan, (originally a zoologist!), is Vyra’s Co-founder and data and subject matter expert, while co-founder Jack Dwyer brings experience in making complex information more digestible. (Jack also produced an award-winning VR documentary on forestry in Ireland for his final-year project at DCU).

Vyra has recently grown to include Eoin Le Masney, who shares a backgrond in Zoology with Fagan and comes from the Irish space-tech company Skytek, where he was involved with an AR project for the European Space Agency.

These are a forward thinking, innovative group of lads that could use their skillset in any number of industries and no doubt, make a fortune. What they all have in common is a deep connection to the natural world and putting their skills towards the protection of our environment.

So, what is Vyra?

Vyra is a software platform and tool that measures an individual’s carbon footprint across a day / week / month etc. A bit like a Fit Bit or fitness tracker that tracks your steps, the Vyra system will track your Carbon steps (so to speak). The system is hosted online and each employee has their own access, with their own dashboard to track how they are doing. Employees are presented with fun challenges and can participate in different modules depending on how much they want to engage.

The innovative platform encourages some light hearted, healthy ‘competition’ between team members as well as with other teams and because there is a fun side to the system, it helps to build communication and build relationships across the organisation.

For example, the ‘One Song Shower Challenge’ asks users to nominate a song that would last as long as the shower they took that morning. Bohemian Rhapsody (running to just under 6 minutes) wouldn’t score you very high on the leader board!

That sounds fun, but are employees actually learning too?

Vyra takes an approach known as micro-learning, which breaks concepts into small, accessible chunks. Gamification also features heavily on on the platform, with leaderboards, progress reports and points to be scored. It’s all meant to engage people over long periods of time, using positive reinforcement to effect a lasting change.

The platform has been able to attract employees that don’t necessarily have a large interest in the environment or a fundamental desire to reduce their carbon footprints.

But ultimately and most importantly, Vyra is informed by behavioural science. The platform itself uses quality environmental data  (from industry and government reports) to give them accurate predictions of Carbon reductions attached to a particular task so that they can inform users of their environmental impact.

All of the data collected through the user platform, allows Vyra, in turn, to create a more accurate index themselves. This is real time data of actual engaged consumers.

Are companies embracing the platform?

Vyra already has a number of successful pilot programmes behind it, including companies like Zipp Mobility and Veolia, who have been early adapters to the platform. The Vyra trio are now preparing for their enterprise launch in March of 2022. The plan is to get the platform into the hands of as many users as they can, while still continuing to make enhancements to the product. They are also looking to attract funding to help scale the business.

Our opinion:

Climate Technology is an area we believe will go from strength to strength in the next few years. We desperately need new and innovative technology in the area of communication and engagement that is backed up by real user data.

Platforms like Vyra could prove invaluable in terms of information led education as it collects real data from real users, in real time.

Maybe this information is just used for the employee’s own benefit (to show them what changes they could make), or perhaps the employer uses the data to see what changes they can make in their organisation to help staff and their process to become more efficient.

But maybe, a platform like Vyra is the future for us to build a national and global picture of where consumers heads are at. Because, if we can know that, surely, we have an oppotunity to help change consumer behaviour in this area for the better.

With clever people like Luke Fagan, Jack Dwyer, and Eoin Le Masney taking this first important step, we are confident that there is a great future for tech like this. Keep an eye out for the Vyra Trio in 2022. We have a feeling you will see a lot more of them around.

Thanks to Luke Fagan at Vyra for taking the time to talk to us at Wasted.ie
If you would like a flavour for what Vyra is all about, here is a small snapshot: Vyra on YouTube

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