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MOM: Mental Health during Covid-19

The following is an excerpt from a June 2021 FutureFounder Innovator Gabriel Cordeiro's blog post on his work experience as part of the FutureFounder StartupReadiness training. FutureFounder Innovators create a Digital Portfolio in efforts to secure a work experience at a startup. To see more of Gabriel's work or learn more about his experience working at a startup, check out his Digital Portfolio.

-FutureFounder Team

MOM: Mental Health During Covid-19

Introduction Imagine that you need to solve a problem for your company, your school, or any group you belong to, and this needs to be done using some technology. And most importantly, you need it fast! Well, maybe a Hackathon could be an excellent solution to your problems. These events bring together software developers, designers, and other professionals related to programming, intending to create innovative solutions for a specific problem in a short time. And during the third week of the FutureFounder Brazil program, my companions and I resulted in a severe problem in Brazil and around the world. We are talking about mental health during a pandemic. For this, the development technique called Design Thinking was applied, which is a methodology for developing products and services focused on the needs, desires, and limitations of users. The main objective of Design Thinking is to convert difficulties and disadvantages into benefits for the customer and business value for your company.

The Product First, we had to think about what problem we would like to solve. Almost ten different ideas came up, but out of all of them, we went down the path of Mental Health, and from there, we started our research on the subject. Step 1 – Empathy: We found that the people most affected by this problem during the pandemic were university students aged between 18 and 21 years. We took this data from an internet survey, but how will we prove that this data is valid? We carry out a questionnaire through google forms and make it available to our relatives, friends, and even strangers. We had about 80 responses in our first survey, and with the results, we verified the data previously researched to start the problem. In the survey, six questions were selected to ask our audience to determine if someone already had some mental problem before the quarantine and if it got worse, or even for those who developed it during this challenging period. We also asked if people developed any skills or even habits during the pandemic, which helped us create ideas. Step 2 - Define: After doing great analysis of all 80 responses we received, we developed our persona, and we named it Enzo. Next, we define what our problem statement would be based on the needs of our persona and with insights we make during the process.

Step 3 – Ideate: Having in hand our problem and the persona, we started to brainstorm an idea. Each one of our group brought two different ideas to have a wide range of opinions and different solutions. So many ideas ended up having relationships with each other and connecting in some way. So, among all the pictures, we had to decide only one, a robot that would help people with anxiety and other mental problems, but we applied the practice of "what if", soon after there were many ideas to be improved. And then came MOM, an acronym for Mental Orientation Mechfriend.

Step 4 – Prototype: Following the steps of Design Thinking, it was time to start prototyping our product. At first, the project was supposed to be a robot, similar to an Alexa or even google home. Still, we had long conversations about accessibility and that for a robot, not everyone would be able to get one, so the idea of ​​developing an app came that meets this need. We drew several screens of how the application would look, and the result is in the image below: Step 5 – Test: Although our project is almost ready, we needed to know if our audience would use the app we developed. In this part, we enter the last stage of Design Thinking, which is the testing phase. We took our product to about ten people we interviewed face to face and asked a few questions to improve it even further. After long conversations between the team, we implemented much of the feedback from our interviewees, and with that, we completed all the stages of Design Thinking.

FutureFounder Demo Day Also, after having completed all the steps of Design Thinking, we need to make a presentation of our pitch to special guests. A pitch is a short presentation in which you try to convince investors that you have a significant project and that they should buy your idea. We presented it to some experts on the subject, such as Sam Magee and Fabio Hauagee do Prado so that in the end, we had feedback on how we did in trying to sell our product. Key Takeaways Finally, I enjoyed working with Design Thinking and all the knowledge I gained during this Hackathon, and it's a practice that everyone who needs a great product in a short period should invest. Two tips that I leave for you as a learning curve are collaboration with your team and division of tasks so that no one gets lost during the process and an incredible product is born."


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