This year has been a surreal year with COVID, lockdowns and so much more!
For us, we can’t believe what we have achieved as such a young team, and of course, with the help of our users, carers and supports. We just would like to take a moment to recognise and celebrate all the successes and the lessons learnt:
Curating and setting up the system to handle over 1,000 pieces of support information and tips over one’s dementia journey - there were moments when we thought this wasn’t possible (and we almost gave up twice!) with the algorithm being too complex and the support information too overwhelming for us to handle. While this overwhelmed us, all we could think of was how overwhelming it must be for the carers. This gave us the fuel to keep going and persevere to launch My Dementia Companion, so that family caregivers won’t be as overwhelmed on the journey
Launching the world’s first smart dementia assistant - while expecting 30 users to sign up, we signed hundreds and… everything broke! People couldn’t register and our algorithm had issues. This caused significant anxiety for us but looking back, here are the lessons learned to help any future innovators avoid the mistakes we have made: 1) reserve budget for post launch issues, 2) actually have a launch plan, 3) practice mindfulness and don’t blame yourself when things break, because apparently that’s what happens when you launch a digital product, 4) if you have a day job at the same time, take leave while you are trying to launch, and 5) don’t try to roll out a complex clinical survey first up with your pilot, because the first pilot is always to check whether the app works at all (and the answer is no, it won’t work (see point 3 above), but the only way to find out what doesn’t work is through a pilot.
Getting the first survey results back - we were expecting a 0 or negative net promoter score. So we nearly all fell off our chairs when we received a 65 (which then dropped to 52) for ours, which is 5-6x higher than a top American company. This was backed up by so much heart warming feedback from carers. When things get tough, always reflect back on this to keep you going.
Managing your funds - we used all our grant money to deliver a great product, as reflected in our net promoter score above. For all future social innovators, we recommend you save a chunk of that money to explore sustainable business models (unless you know you will be receiving more funding!) Your passion and heart is important, but so is your ability to attract talent, fund new features and keep going. The odd thing is that my day job is commerce and I was told this as I started My Dementia Companion, yet I didn’t follow it. So, please try to learn from my mistakes!
Use negative feedback to fuel your success - an outside advisor once told me that dementia was not worth investing in! Read more in this blog.
With all the success and lessons learned, we are more excited than ever before to embark on 2021:
We have heard the carers and we are madly curating support Topics related to challenging behaviours to support you
Similarly, we will refine our algorithm to better support carers in more advanced dementia as they come onto My Dementia Companion
We will also be exploring additional features to help carers better care for their loved one - a bit of a secret for now, but you will find out soon :)
Wish everyone a lovely and safe holiday season, and see you for an exciting 2021.