HopeLab, which is funded by the Omidyar eBay fortune, has for near a decade produced games to promote kids’ health, like Re-Mission for kids with cancer, and Zamzee, promoting activity for all children. But the real impact on the population of poor health environments for kids is only really just starting to be acknowledged more generally in society.
So it’s fabulous that HopeLab has appointed a new CEO, Margaret Laws. She was previously responsible for CHCF’s Innovation Fund, aimed at getting technology to move the needle for the underserved. She took the time to explain to me why she took her new role (think impact on children and their communities). And on a personal note, having known Margaret for several years, I think HopeLab made an excellent choice. This is a fascinating interview, even if the headline may be the worst pun in THCB history. Margaret also suggests where partners both in the health world and the tech world might work with HopeLab.
Can you play your way to better health? What does it take to get people moving? That was the question kicked around (har!) at the gaming-health session at Health 2.0.
Chris Hewett’s demo of MindBloom had the room packed. He began by talking about being motivated by fear, or, instead, being motivated by purpose. You’re either running away from something, or toward something. Mindbloom is about spending two minutes every day looking at images that mean something to you, and that motivate you. One step every day is the key to enduring change. The key is sustained engagement. Many of the tools that exist today are not engaging. The core goal is to make life change fun, and engaging. As a gamer, Hewett wants to make behavior change appealling. And it needs to be authentic. I think that he is trying to make Mindbloom into the Farmville of health – a pervasive and widely appealing game, but one that happens to have a positive effect on people’s health and life. People use Mindbloom to discover what’s most important to them. A key differentiator is to take a view of the entire life. The key reason why most people want to be healthy is to spend more time with their relationships. Mindbloom just finished their public beta with 15,000 users.