10 international and national awards. 6 years working on MyChoicePad and reaching over 100,000 children and adults with learning disabilities and building a product that could demonstrate measurable language development.
I always had my work cut out to improve on that one.
Difficult second company syndrome.
Everyone has to start again somewhere.
Imagine a world where...
Children with unclear speech or language or social communication disorders will be able to get that early intervention at home so they can catch up with their peers and start on the same level playing field for literacy when they start school.
Those that have lost their speech as a result of a stroke will be able to access the most effective therapy for them as part of their rehabilitation regardless of where they live and how much they have in the bank.
Most of the world does not have access to speech and language therapy services. We are the lucky ones.
Speech and Language Therapist vs. AI
In the blue corner we have 17,000 Speech and Language Therapists in the UK and a ratio of 1 therapist to every 3899 people. NHS waiting lists can be up to 18 months. Lots of travel for both therapist and client and mountains of evidence that more frequent, shorter sessions results in quicker and more effective results yet this is rarely put into practice due to time/travel restraints and budgets.
In the red corner we have the prospect of machine learning collecting data from thousands of sessions. There is no need for travel and the sessions can be set up to the optimal frequency that the client is happy with to increase the probability of targets being achieved. More people can be treated and the cost of provision dramatically reduces. But if we remove humans we are left with something that lacks empathy, ethics and the ability to read and sense discomfort or stress and touch people physically.
And the winner is…..
The winner is a hybrid. Iris Speaks aims to enable Speech and Language Therapists to do their evidence based research and interventions more effectively and with increased impact.
Enabling families to access 7 days a week from their home with no travel at times that suit them
Creating flexible work for therapists with busy family lives
Starting off with live video sessions and developing tracked activity sessions in a secure environment
Using the data to drive the ability to deliver more frequent shorter sessions over video or via activity sessions that fit in their daily life.
The therapist will control the level of dosage and agree targets with the family. Empowering the client and family to feel in charge of their own treatment.
What lies ahead?
Computer Vision still has some way to go before it can replace our eyes and senses (although it’s coming - Robbie AI). The AI industry is aware of the ethics and empathy issue so has a fair bit of work to do in that area particularly around emotional intelligence. Domestic robots in the home will help with the physical aspects but this is 10 years away.
Getting started - Which market? Adults or Children?
Last October I wrote about how I was working on a new project called Iris Speaks. Together with a team of speech and language therapists we put together 5 courses. Content is my background so I was always going to start with a content driven strategy. Objective to find out quickly which channel of marketing was most cost effective and which area of the market to focus upon adults or children. I’d spent most of the last decade focussed on children and young people so was keen to experiment with the adult market. But...I wanted to see the metrics first.
We built 3 courses for children and 2 for adults. After 5 months the results were overwhelmingly in favour of pediatrics. 85/15 split.
I got my answer. Not the one I thought. Doesn’t mean I won’t try it again...just won’t be the first market segment. Needs a more complex acquisition channel.
The challenges ahead
Iris Speaks is now live in it’s first version.
I’ve got all the usual challenges to building a two sided marketplace ahead of me. Lots of process and quality management standards, conversion ratios and balancing supply and demand.
We're about to start building our first case studies/testimonials with our first cohort of customers.....
You can find out more about Iris Speaks at irisspeaks.com and feel free to ask me questions!