Young People’s Digital Innovation Lab #5

Zoe Limbert

In mid July 2015, at Leeds Round Foundry Media Centre in a scortchingly sunny Leeds, our intrepid bunch of young innovators met once again for the fifth of our young people’s mental health and wellbeing digital innovation labs. While it might feel like we’ve been innovating together for ages, in actual fact we’ve actually only spent about ten to fifteen hours together. That’s only about the amount of time that it takes to watch an entire season of Doctor Who on Netflix. And we’ve already come up with a load of ideas, check these out here. But the clock is ticking.

It’s getting close to crunch time with our digital innovation lab in Leeds. We’re moving very close to the point where we actually have to show some people the things we’ve been working upon. Next month on the 12th of August we’ll actually be showing some of our ideas to a panel of representatives from our kind funders at the Clinical Commissioning group who’ll be helping to decide which of the ideas we actually take forward to the point of developing a prototype and then eventually a full build that people will be able to use and hopefully benefit from.

It’s not an easy business, developing ideas. Coming up with ideas is something that we do all of the time, whether we realise it or not. Every time we’re confronted with an unfamiliar situation, our creative powers are used to find the best response to it. We’re innovating all of the time. If you’ve ever had to try to work out a tool you weren’t familiar with or had to come up with an answer to a question you didn’t expect: you’ve come up with a creative solution to a problem.

blog2The challenge we faced in our fifth innovation lab was not to come up with an idea: the challenge was to work on refining some ideas we’d already had into a form that might work to solve a problem that young people have around their mental health and wellbeing in Leeds.

Last session we worked on Happy Vault, our idea for an app that will make it possible to store up little packets of happiness for an emotional rainy day, developing user stories for what the app will actually do. Check this out here.

In our fifth Lab we worked on two of ideas that were a little more hazy. With both of them we had a broad idea but had few of the details fleshed out.

The first of these is something we’re calling ‘My Plan’ at the moment. The overall shape of the idea is something that helps young people to plan or track their progress towards a goal or goals. That was where we began from; but it soon became more complex.

We spent a lot of our time working on My Plan trying to work out exactly what the kinds of things we might want to plan for might be and how the app might help us. Would it have rewards for achieving our goals and the steps towards them? Would it provide advice? Would it be something just for us or would it involve other people? In the process of this hectic drawing, scribbling and talking it occurred to me that we might actually be working on something that would be really useful as a tool for shared planning of the kind that young people in CAMHS often have to do.

The other bit of work we did was thinking about ways in which we could take the information we already have around CAMHS and young people’s mental health and move into the mobile realm so that it could interact with young people as they go about their everyday life. Generally speaking, we think of information on the web as something that we have to go and find via search engines; but what if the information could come and find us? My phone will tell me when I need to leave the house to catch the train if it knows when my train journey is booked. Based on the fact that it knows where I am via geolocation and can check train timetables and walking times; and that it knows what time it is; it can give me advice about exactly how long it’ll take to get from A+B (or in my case usually from London to Leeds).

So we did some thinking about what information we already have and where and when and how it could be delivered to people when they actually need it. I’m excited about this as it really would be a step on from the ways that mental health information has been delivered to young people, but consequently this is the idea that needs the most development to make it useful and deliverable.

If you’re around Leeds on the 12th, come to our Dragon’s Den where we’re presenting our ideas so far. Lab #6 takes place once again at The Round Foundry Media Centre from 4.30-7.30pm, click here book your place.

See you there!

Mark Brown
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