“Help Me Help You”, Rotman Business Design Competition 2011. Team SVA with Dave Bellona, Carmen Dukes, Erin Moore, and Beatriz Vizcaino.

Challenge

A team of us from SVA comprised of both 1st and 2nd years ventured out to Toronto this past weekend to compete in Rotman’s Business Design Challenge. With healthcare selected as the problem space, we were asked to target a segment audience and identify a solution that the Mayo Clinic could implement. Competing against eleven Rotman teams, three MBA teams from the states, and a few other MFA teams, Rotman BDC was definitely a testing ground for the critical thinking skills and ideation approaches we’ve acquired during our time at SVA.

Approach

The case study was incrementally disseminated over the course of three weeks, with just ten minutes alloted for our pitch to a panel of judges. Having been exposed to the rhythm of rapid iterations and, of course, the ten minute pitch in our coursework at SVA, we ideated our way through. Our classmates probably wondered what had come over us as we took over the whiteboards to strategize our process, identify the core problem, gather insights, and organically explore possible solutions.

Solution

Our target? Hyper-connected users between the ages of 18 and 35 who use technology to maintain social networks and track lifestyle data, but are disconnected from health care professionals, medical records, or sufficient knowledge about preventative health measures. It’s important to note that effective wellness is about a lifestyle, making regular and healthy decisions as a way to establish prevention and prediction. In contrast, our users are focused on current choices, with no real concern about establishing habits to anticipate future needs. In other words, while our target users are focused on wellness, they have a limited view of it combined with an inclination to self-gauge their wellness.

There was something about the dichotomy of the users’ social connectedness yet obvious disconnect with health that we wanted to address. Having found that our users like to rely on friends and family for advice and support, we felt that tapping into their existing habits and support networks would be a key way to motivate sustainable behavioral change.

And that… brings us to Help Me Help You (click to view final presentation).

Help Me Help You is an online health and wellness community for young adults that offers discounts for collective participation in health challenges. With a unique combination of community support and monthly rewards, Help Me Help You encourages its members to be proactive about all aspects of their health on both mobile and web platforms.

Addendum

While we didn’t make it to the finals, our entire team agrees that this was a formative experience. It turns out that this competition was about more than just coming up with a winning solution. It was about learning how to work cohesively while balancing other obligations and time constraints, stand firmly behind our iterative approach and subsequent insights, and put our collective skill sets to the test. And as MFAs equally pitted with the MBAs, we were proud to realize that while our methods and values as designers may still be questioned at times, we can definitely compete on par. In fact, the winning team was comprised of MFAs from the Ontario College of Art & Design.

What follows is a glimpse into our process, from ideation to final concept.

    Gathering after class to brainstorm... one of many consecutive late nights at the studio

    Gathering after class to brainstorm... one of many consecutive late nights at the studio

    Whiteboards are our best friends :)

    Whiteboards are our best friends :)

    Insights were organically pulled and synthesized from user interviews, surveys, and secondary market research

    Insights were organically pulled and synthesized from user interviews, surveys, and secondary market research

    Uncovering the latent problems for this target audience

    Uncovering the latent problems for this target audience

    At one point in our process, after having defined the problems and insights, we split up to ideate a handful of possible solutions. When we reconvened, we began to narrow down our concepts.

    At one point in our process, after having defined the problems and insights, we split up to ideate a handful of possible solutions. When we reconvened, we began to narrow down our concepts.

    Consistently throughout our brainstorming, we made sure to map our solution back to the themes of wellness, prediction and prevention.

    Consistently throughout our brainstorming, we made sure to map our solution back to the themes of wellness, prediction and prevention.

    Narrowing down our concepts to the final two.

    Narrowing down our concepts to the final two.

    Using up the entire whiteboard space, just like how it's meant to be used :)

    Using up the entire whiteboard space, just like how it's meant to be used :)

    At Rotman! We received the final portion of our case study and prepped away.

    At Rotman! We received the final portion of our case study and prepped away.

    Fresh off of the public speaking workshop with Stephen Nickson, we practiced our presentations, giving each other feedback on ways to improve.

    Fresh off of the public speaking workshop with Stephen Nickson, we practiced our presentations, giving each other feedback on ways to improve.

    On stage.

    On stage.

    Help Me Help You is an online health and wellness community for young adults.

    Help Me Help You is an online health and wellness community for young adults.