Today’s post is an exclusive interview with David Mark, the Marketing / User Experience Officer at Hello Daisy. Hello Daisy is a company who have created a prototype digital platform / internet enabled device for those who may be digitally excluded.
Currently, according to 21stcenturychallenges.org around 5.9 million adults have never used the internet before. While many older people struggle with getting online due to a lack of computer skills or uncertainty about how to protect their digital information.
However, Hello Daisy are aiming to change things with their internet-enabled smart device so we thought we’d chat to David Mark to find out more about their project.
. . .
Dementia Cafe: Coming from a marketing background and pursuing an MSc in Behavioural Science how do you feel your experiences have helped in regards to Hello Daisy?
David Mark: “One of the biggest components of marketing is understanding your ‘crowd’. Recently, I heard the Director of Public Health for Doncaster say, ‘Don’t ask what’s the matter with people, ask what matters to people’.
This encapsulates the approach I have been using in social marketing and behavioural change for the last four years in health and care. So, rather than taking a prescriptive approach to helping older people thrive by suggesting what ‘solutions’ would work for them, we took the longer journey to empathically interview 104 older people across London for the duration of a year. Only by understanding more about them as people, and not just easy to box descriptors such as demographics, we were able to help co-create a service that would be relevant, useful and fun for them.”
“The area of behavioural psychology I have been focusing on is behavioural change. For too long health and health tech has been created ‘at’ many ‘older people’ and we intend to rotate this 180
degrees. Indeed, the approach we have taken is about creating the joy of connection, leading to belonging, this then acts as a catapult to feeling they have a purpose, then better self-care – in this order. We know that introducing improvements in one’s health, can only work if the person wants to change. If there is the right trigger, that creates an action, even if it is a tiny action, followed up by some type of reward (variable is best) leading to the next trigger.”
DC: Can you explain a little about how Hello Daisy works? For instance, is it easy to set up / operate and understand?
DM: “Hello Daisy is an internet enabled device (and also accessible through our app) using any TV. It has a very simple remote control and camera. However, it does requires some form of internet access whether this is wifi or dongle. It is easy to set up and requires an HDMI con
We have made the user experience as simple as possible so that it’s easy to operate and intuitive. We have been testing with older people at the People’ Academy part of London South Bank University and Age UK London.
DC: Currently, the product is at a prototype stage. From your market research do you believe consumers will embrace the product?
DM: “The over 65s are very diverse with 35% of older people being very digitally savvy, 35% never having been online and about 30% not online in the last three months. Clearly, those who are younger are far more digitally active. When we asked the 104 older people if they would like a device like Hello Daisy over 55% said they would be willing to pay about £7/month for this service. Categorically we would prefer their children, extended family to pay for this service, and not place a burden on the older person.”
“We believe that consumers will have a strong affinity to Hello Daisy, as it is a secure, private social network, this means families and communities can connect better and more frequently, by
sharing and responding to posts, messages, photos, videos and video chat. The data on loneliness is clear, it is a real and growing epidemic and leading to a range of illness, including; mental health, cardio-vascular issues and frailty fractures.”
DC: Many people already have smartphones / iPads and other devices that connect to the television via wi-fi / chromecast. What makes Hello Daisy different?
DM: “Absolutely, the key differences are, Hello Daisy is easy, fun, affordable and relevant (the main reasons why older people would want to get digitally active).
The large screen is also important as it means they do not need another device. It is easy to set up and beneficial for the visually impaired and deaf. Of course, many older people have smartphones and iPads and we offer the same service through our app. However, we will also offer customised health channels, so that older people can take greater charge of their own health. This will start with eat well, move well, well being, think well, and GP consultations. We will then add more channels depending on which are proven to be used most and valued.”
DC: You’ve mentioned that alongside family / friends Hello Daisy could be used by local community groups. Is there a risk that it could, for some people, replace face-to-face interaction?
DM: “We do not see Hello Daisy as a replacement, it is more of a supplement. Many older people see the TV more of a companion, and we will provide gentle interruptions in their day, to remind them they are being considered and are loved and empowering them to take greater charge of their own health and well-being, if they wish to. We know for many older people, social connection is their oxygen, and this is a way that organisations, such as Age UK and other community groups can directly communicate with them about what’s going on locally, so they can attend more groups and be less digitally excluded.”
DC: Hello Daisy is far more than an Internet-enabled set-top box. What would you say are its three standout features?
DM: “1. Hello Daisy is easy to use, fun, affordable and will provide community generated content that is relevant, from family, boosting the joy of connecting and belonging.
2. It’s accessible for everyone, using a TV (their everyday technology) or any smart rectangle.
3. We will use it as a catapult to better health by providing the tools for improving self-care.”
DC: Lots of companies have fallen foul of their target demographic by portraying seniors in a patronising / stereotypical manner. How does Hello Daisy avoid falling into this trap?
DM: “This is a great question. Our agreed behaviours for all interactions internal and external at Hello Daisy (we don’t like values, as they have lost their currency) are simple, personal and integrity. Our vision is to see older people thrive, and this being our North Star, means we are careful to continuously listen to our customers, their families, and communities, and should we offend, we will course-correct, as quickly as possible.”
DC: Many over 65’s aren’t scared of technology, in fact, lots of people embrace it so why do you think society is predisposed to think otherwise?
DM: This is a very accurate observation, and the trajectory of users over time will only increase. Presently, with two out of three older people not online, this is still a significant cohort of people who are digitally excluded.
DC: You’ve mentioned in future that there will be a healthcare / art therapy element to Hello Daisy. How important is it for older people to keep their minds / bodies active?
DM: “As an example, our research shows loneliness affects 1.1m older people, dementia affects 800k older people and frailty and fractures affect at least 220k older people yearly in the UK. An active mind and body are crucial for wellbeing at any age and will help alleviate many of these conditions.”
DC: Your product costings seem very reasonable, at a proposed £4.80 a month it’s less than a Netflix subscription. How confident are you that, once crowdfunded, people will stay with the product beyond say a free trial?
DM: “We purposely kept the price low, so that it is accessible to as many people as possible. We have made traction with care homes, councils and housing associations running multiple pilots, with agreements in place for ongoing contracts post-launch. We will also make Hello Daisy available for the public and will continuously improve the customer experience so there is tangible value for our communities.”
DC: As we’re the Dementia Café, I’d be interested to know if, during the design process, you’ve considered the needs of those seniors with dementia or other cognitive / physical disabilities?
DM: “Early on when we carried out the first phase of research, it was evident, for many older people poor health is a barrier stopping them from doing what they wish to. In fact, what they fear the most is dementia. When designing Hello Daisy, we purposely looked at fun health tools to reduce the impact of dementia as many of our interviewees expressed vociferous concerns about this. As examples of our design process for those with dementia and other seniors with cognitive / physical disabilities, we intend to build a photo carousel, of a lifetime, and voice interoperability with devices such as Amazon Echo/Dot and Google Home. New applications will be engineered, driven by need and health-based evidence and we will identify providers who can create cognitive games / exercises that are fun, engaging and effective.
For example, there are already strategies for dementia prevention, including using randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. This research indicates physical activity treatment for vascular disorders have the greatest strength of evidence, followed by, nutrition, treatment of major depressive disorders (MDD), cognitive retraining and stress management.”
DC: You’ve mentioned that it would be a private social network, and that only approved members can connect. Safeguarding is very important, especially for seniors, so briefly how will the Hello Daisy team ensure their members’ information is fully secure?
(for our readers: we talk about safeguarding here)
DM: “We have been working with a London council to ensure safeguarding is achieved for the older person and their families and communities. This means there will be also a trusted administrator (preferably a family member), who can manage, and approve members, and content. We will also have a rapid complaints system and use some machine learning to identify questionable content. We are also planning a workshop with the council and the police. It’s vital to ensure we not only comply with the law, GDPR, but also make it the safest and best user experience for older people and their family and community.”
DC: Thank you so much for speaking to us David.
Feature Image: Hello Daisy Network – Photo Credit, Hello Daisy