Effective health technology takes human behaviour into account

    Behavioural design is an effective tool for developing new technological solutions, which stimulate people towards self-care activities that can improve our general state of health. FORCE Technology’s IdemoLab helped Ergopartner and Needlite in an innovation project by developing new health technologies based on knowledge of human behaviour.

    By Nanna Bastved

    Many people spend most of their time sitting down indoors, despite countless studies having shown that it is not healthy for our bodies or our health. We need to move about and get more daylight over the course of the day. But how can we use technology to change our habits so that we keep ourselves healthy? This was the focus of an interesting, recently completed innovation project supported by the Innovation Network for Health and Welfare Technologies (ISV).

    In the innovation project, which was managed by FORCE Technology, two SMEs – Needlite and Ergopartner – received help from FORCE Technology’s IdemoLab team to develop specific health technology based upon behavioural design. They studied how sensor technology could aid in the design of health technologies, thus stimulating citizens towards self-care activities, that would promote their health.

    Ergopartner and Needlite

    In many offices there are countless height-adjustable desks lacking exercise because people do not use the height adjusting function. Ergopartner, which sells office equipment including height-adjustable tables, wished to develop a device that would remind people who work at a height-adjustable table to stand up more over the course of their working day.

    “As a company we want to constantly renew our offerings and give our customers some extra value. Many of our customers ask about products that could generate more activity during the working day,” explains Søren Veng Olesen, CEO of Ergopartner and continues: “As humans we are naturally lazy and driven by habits, so we don’t use our height-adjustable desks, even though we have them. From this came the idea of making a ‘stand-up motivator’, which could track how much and how often a person stands up to use their height-adjustable desk.”

    The second company to take part in the project was the start-up business Needlite, which develops and sells daylight lamps. These lamps provide a supplement to the daylight that is lacking for many people during the dark winter months. The lamps are developed with an eye for elegant design and a stable level of light exposure, and are attractive in comparison to many equivalent products on the market. The challenge for Needlite was not the product itself, but in being able to convince customers as to why they need a daylight lamp. What it needed from the innovation project with FORCE Technology was therefore to develop a device that could show how much – or how little – daylight office workers are exposed to over the course of a day.

    We wanted to have a light-meter produced along the lines of a pedometer that could be attached to clothing, and which could inform people whether they are getting enough light over the course of the day,” explains Preben Bitsch, CEO at Needlite, who with just three employees has limited time to spend on projects such as this one. “The project with FORCE Technology enabled us to do things we could not otherwise have done with our limited resources. Now we have a functioning prototype and the technology for the device.”

    From idea to concept in eight steps

    In the innovation project, FORCE Technology’s IdemoLab team led Ergopartner and Needlite through IdemoLab’s 8-step innovation process, which helped sharpen their ideas and develop a usable concept for their technological health device.

    “FORCE Technology helped us to make the idea tangible, so that we now have an actual product to work from. FORCE Technology has clearly professional experience with this kind of development process,” says Søren Olesen, who looks forward to being able to solve a social problem by producing a device which can be included in preventative work for lifestyle diseases.

    User test led us in the right direction

    As part of the project FORCE Technology carried out interviews with the target groups for the two devices. The results from the interviews provided important information for Needlite and Ergopartner:

    “The interviews showed us that we were heading in the wrong direction. We discovered that what we should be producing was not a complicated, expensive device, but rather a simple, inexpensive exposure meter to measure daylight,” says Preben Bitsch, who acknowledges that had the company gone in the wrong direction, then its device could not become a success.

    Design based upon behaviour

    DTU (Technical University of Denmark) was also involved in the innovation project. The university contributed with crucial knowledge about behavioural design and about which processes and methods researchers have studied and developed to support this type of design.

    It is IdemoLab’s experience that behavioural design is an effective tool for developing technological solutions that can stimulate people into self-care activities in order to improve our general state of health.

    The important knowledge from DTU was used to design Needlite’s and Ergopartner’s concepts with a fresh twist, in that the concepts take human behaviour into account.

    Streamlined process

    The project has shown the two case companies the direction to take in creating new business opportunities within the health sector by using technology. One important lesson has been that healthcare technology becomes more effective when it takes human behaviour into account.

    Both companies have greatly appreciated the help they have received from FORCE Technology to run a streamlined development process with a tight framework.

    “We have enjoyed a positive collaboration with FORCE Technology, which has helped us to make our idea tangible and to draw up an overall business plan,” says Preben Bitsch.

    Needlite and Ergopartner are both looking forward to leading their new devices from concept and prototype to a finished product that can help prevent lifestyle diseases.

    Would you also like to try something?

    If you would like to know more about how your company can create new business opportunities using technology and IdemoLab’s 8-step innovation process, then you should contact Mikkel Leth Olsen, Lead Specialist, Disruptive Technology, IdemoLab, FORCE Technology, +45 21 18 39 91, mlo@force.dk.

    Information about the project

    The innovation project for the Innovation Network for Health and Welfare Technology was carried out over the course of 2016 by FORCE Technology in collaboration with DTU, Technical University of Denmark. The Innovation Network for Health and Welfare Technology is part of Welfare Tech and is funded by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation under the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

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    DANISH VERSION


    Effektiv sundhedsteknologi tager højde for menneskelig adfærd

    Adfærdsdesign er et effektivt redskab til at udvikle nye teknologiske løsninger, der stimulerer os mennesker til selvhjulpen handling, så vores generelle sundhed forbedres. FORCE Technology’s IdemoLab hjalp Ergopartner og Needlite i et innovationsprojekt med at udvikle nye sundhedsteknologier med et anderledes tvist ud fra viden om den menneskelige adfærd.

    Af Nanna Bastved

    Mange mennesker sidder inaktive indendørs det meste af dagen, selv om talrige undersøgelser viser, at det ikke er sundt for vores krop og helbred. Vi skal røre os og få noget mere dagslys i løbet af dagen. Men hvordan kan vi bruge teknologien til at ændre vores vaner, så vi holder os sunde og raske? Det var fokus i et interessant nyligt afsluttet innovationsprojekt støttet af Innovationsnetværk for Sundhed og Velfærdsteknologier (ISV).

    I innovationsprojektet, som var ledet af FORCE Technology, fik to SMV-virksomheder, Needlite og Ergopartner, hjælp fra FORCE Technology’s IdemoLab til at udvikle specifikke sundhedsteknologier baseret på adfærdsdesign. Her undersøgte de, hvordan man ved hjælp af sensorteknologi kan designe sundhedsteknologier, der stimulerer borgerne til selvhjulpen handling, som fremmer sundheden.

    Ergopartner og Needlite

    Rundt omkring på mange arbejdspladser står utallige hæve-sænkeborde og mangler motion, fordi folk ikke får brugt hæve-sænke-funktionen. Ergopartner, som sælger kontorudstyr bl.a. hæve-sænkeborde, ønskede at få udviklet en device, der kan påminde folk, der arbejder ved hæve-sænkeborde, at de skal stå mere op i løbet af arbejdsdagen.

    ”Vi er en virksomhed, der gerne vil forny os hele tiden og give vores kunder noget ekstra værdi. Mange af vores kunder efterspørger produkter, som skaber mere aktivitet i hverdagen,” fortæller Søren Veng Olesen, direktør i Ergopartner og fortsætter: ”Vi mennesker er fra naturens side dovne og vanemennesker, så vi bruger ikke vores hæve-sænkeborde, selv om vi har dem. Deraf kom idéen til at lave en ’stå-motivator’, som kan tracke, hvor meget og hvor ofte man står op ved sit hæve-sænkebord.”

    Den anden deltager i projektet var start-up virksomheden, Needlite, der udvikler og sælger dagslyslamper, som giver et supplement til det dagslys, folk mangler i det mørke vinterhalvår. Deres lamper er udviklet med øje for et smukt design og jævn lyspåvirkning og fremstår attraktive i forholde til mange tilsvarende produkter på markedet. Udfordringen for Needlite var ikke selve produktet men at kunne overbevise kunderne om, hvorfor de har brug for en dagslyslampe. Deres behov i innovationsprojektet med FORCE Technology var derfor at få udviklet en device, der kan vise, hvor meget – eller lidt – dagslys kontorfolk bliver udsat for i løbet af en dag.

    ”Vi ønskede at få lavet en lysmåler à la en skridttæller til at sætte på tøjet, der kan fortælle folk, om de får lys nok i løbet af dagen,” fortæller Preben Bitsch, direktør i Needlite, som med sine 3 ansatte har begrænset tid til at kaste sig over opgaver som denne. ”Projektet med FORCE Technology gav os mulighed for at gøre ting, vi ellers ikke kunne med vores begrænsede ressourcer. Nu har vi en fungerende prototype og teknologi for devicen.”

    Fra idé til koncept i 8 trin

    I innovationsprojektet førte FORCE Technology’s IdemoLab-team Ergopartner og Needlite gennem IdemoLabs 8-trins innovationsproces, som hjalp dem begge med at blive skarpe på deres idé og udvikle et brugbart koncept for deres teknologiske sundhedsdevice.

    ”FORCE Technology hjalp os med at få konkretiseret idéen, så vi nu har et konkret produkt at arbejde ud fra. Det var tydeligt, at FORCE Technology har professionel erfaring med sådanne udviklingsforløb,” siger Søren Olesen, som glæder sig over at være med til at kunne løse et samfundsmæssigt problem ved at lave en device, der kan indgå i det forbyggende arbejde for livsstilssygdomme.

    Brugertest sendte os på rette vej

    Som en del af projektforløbet foretog FORCE Technology interviews blandt målgrupperne for de to devices. Resultaterne fra interviewene gav vigtig viden til Needlite og Ergopartner:

    ”Interviewene viste os, at vi var gået den forkerte vej. Vi fandt ud af, at det ikke skulle være en kompliceret, dyr device, men en simpel, prisbillig lysmåler, der måler dagslys,” siger Preben Bitsch, som erkender, at hvis de var gået den forkerte vej, ville deres device ikke blive en succes.

    Design baseret på adfærd

    DTU var også involveret undervejs i innovationsprojektet. De bidrog med central viden om adfærdsdesign (behavioural design) og om hvilke processer og metoder, man fra forskningens side har undersøgt og udviklet til at understøtte design af adfærd.

    Det er IdemoLabs erfaring, at adfærdsdesign er et effektivt redskab til at udvikle teknologiske løsninger, der stimulerer os mennesker til selvhjulpen handling, så vores generelle sundhed forbedres.

    Denne vigtige viden fra DTU blev brugt til at designe Needlites og Ergopartner koncepter med et anderledes tvist, idet koncepterne tager højde for viden om den menneskelige adfærd.

    Strømlinet proces

    Projektet har vist de to case-virksomheder vejen til at skabe nye forretningsmuligheder indenfor sundhedsområdet ved brug af teknologi. En vigtig læring har været, at sundhedsteknologi bliver mere effektiv, når den tager højde for den menneskelige adfærd.

    Begge virksomheder har sat pris på den hjælp, de har fået fra FORCE Technology til at køre en strømlinet udviklingsproces med en stram ramme omkring.

    ”Vi har haft et godt samarbejde med FORCE Technology, som har hjulpet os med at gøre vores idé konkret og lave en overordnet plan for os,” siger Preben Bitsch.

    Needlite og Ergopartner ser begge frem til at føre deres nye devices fra koncept og prototype til et færdigt produkt, som kan være med til at forebygge livsstilsygdomme.

    Vil du prøve det samme?

    Ønsker du at vide mere om, hvordan din virksomhed kan skabe nye forretningsmuligheder ved hjælp af teknologi og IdemoLabs 8-trins innovationsproces, så kontakt Mikkel Leth Olsen, Lead Specialist, Disruptive Technology, IdemoLab, FORCE Technology, tlf. +45 21 18 39 91, mlo@force.dk.

    Information om projektet

    Innovationsprojektet for Innovationsnetværk for Sundhed og Velfærdsteknologi blev udført i løbet af 2016 af FORCE Technology i samarbejde med DTU, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet. Innovationsnetværk for Sundhed og Velfærdsteknologier hører under Welfare Tech og er finansieret af Styrelsen for Forskning og Uddannelse under Uddannelses- og Forskningsministeriet.

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