Life-Alert: contextual essay

BCM214 Digital Artefact

When developing my artefact for our innovation, Life-Alert, I wanted to highlight first and foremost the need and utility of it. As shown in the video, the makeshift device, a black box, has purpose in being there as compared to when it was not there to be of assistance. Juxtaposing the two situations with and without the device helps the goal of presenting the clear social need of this innovation. Another tool used to demonstrate the point of this innovation were the statistics. These statistics were from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), and when coupled with the black screen, it can help focus on the message at hand, the elderly are struggling more than we perhaps anticipated in our own lives.

Upon reflection, while the statistics achieve their purpose, it runs the risk of reading as over-generalising or oversimplifying the data. There is a fine line for informative content, it can either be too short not provide the needed substance or too specific and takes longer to absorb. 

The Young Foundations report on Social Innovation really inspired what I wanted to convey,  a  section defines social innovation as the implementation of an idea that leads to specific results and outcomes, such as improved quality of life or social inclusion (The Young Foundation 2012 p.10). This is followed up by a second definition built upon the previous description, reading that social innovation is “a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals” (Phills et al. 2008). The use of the 2018 study concluding that Medical Alert Protection Systems improve the quality of life of those who use them was something I really needed in the clip to have substance and evidence that the Life-Alert does in fact lead to greater outcomes as per the first definition. Going back to the use of 2 falling clips, I wanted to justify that Life-Alert can be more efficient and effective than nothing. However, possibly mentioning alternatives that aren’t as performative could have helped prove that the Life-Alert does improve on already existing products, as proving anything is better than nothing has little impact. 

The clip of the person walking in the door aims to show the inclusion and overall sense of comfort the innovation could give for those who don’t have that in their life. Playing back on social inclusion, it’s important to showcase that Life-Alert has the potential to act as more than a speaker that calls emergency contacts. The production quality may be a little wayward, but the overall intended message can be seen in there which is just as impactful. 

Life-Alert has the bones to be a disruptive innovation on the scene, and I have tried to recognise and highlight the strong points, however all innovations have flaws. With further development and additions to this idea, it could be very strong and have larger potential to save lives. 

References 

J A Phills Jr., K Deiglmeier & D T Miller, ‘Rediscovering Social Innovation’, Stanford Social Innovation Review, vol. 6:4, 2008 pp. 34-43

The Young Foundation (2012) Social Innovation Overview: A deliverable of the project: “The theoretical, empirical and policy foundations for building social innovation in Europe” (TEPSIE), European Commission – 7 th Framework Programme, Brussels: European Commission, DG Research

Youtube Clip

Statistic 1

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2018, Older Australia at a glance, AIHW, Canberra. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australia-at-a-glance

Statistics 2 & 3

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017, Trends in hospitalisations due to falls by older people, Australia 2002–03 to 2012–13, AIHW, Canberra. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/hospitalisations-falls-older-people-2002-2013/contents/table-of-contents

Studies

StudiesWei, Nicolas. Ho, R.O. Chakraborty, A.F.W. Fook-Chong, B. Yogeswary, S. Sherman, P. Xin, L.  Poh, X. Kelvin Koon, J. & Marcus Eng Hock, O.N.G. 2018, “Utility of a Medical Alert Protection System compared to telephone follow-up only for home-alone elderly presenting to the ED — A randomized controlled trial”, The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 594-601.

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