Journal: Team Hauraki

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Journal entry: 20 Nov 2017

Claire Bennett: Things have been hectic this last fortnight – as word has spread about our idea, we’ve had a number of enquiries from families and institutions wanting to see it in action, so we’ve stepped up our user testing! It has resulted in some amazing feedback, but has kept us busy at a time when we’ve also been putting our final presentation together.

Every time a new user tests our tool, we learn something new – for example, we’ve recently seen how useful it is for extending attention-to-task, and creating a connection with other people. We are also looking forward to spending time with NZTE next week to get a kickstart on how to progress the business side of things. 

We are really excited to pitch our idea to the judges and have worked hard to put together a presentation that clearly demonstrates our tool and its potential social impact. 

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 Journal entry: 7 Nov 2017

Claire Bennett: This last two weeks have been really crazy. Simon and I have had heaps of positive feedback from our email to the Autism Association, and so I’ve been busy meeting with families and testing our prototype. We’ve had some awesomely positive feedback, and are delighted with how the prototype itself is performing - I’ve used it in in several of my own therapy sessions

I also wrote an article for the NZ Speech Language Therapy (SLT) magazine and this was published last week, resulting in lots of emails and queries from interested SLT's.

The main thing we’ve learned in the past fortnight is that we can survive on a lot less sleep than we thought! Our pitch is taking a long time to get right – we’ve put in so much work into the project over the last 3 months, so it’s a real challenge to condense our story down to just 20 minutes.

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Journal entry: 24 Oct 2017

Image: Claire on a Skype interview on Labour Day (no rest for the wicked!)

Claire Bennett: This last fortnight has been really busy gearing up for some intense user testing. This is our focus for the next month, alongside getting the structure of our final presentation organised. We have interviewed (over Skype) one amazing Mum and are looking forward to meeting with several more inspirational families, childcare centre staff and fellow speech language therapists over the coming weeks. We've also had some great feedback from the Autism Association about our idea, and thanks to Marcus King from Callaghan, we’ve had some keen families get in touch with us about trialling our prototype.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the 2nd Bootcamp, but Simon went along with Carl from 4ormFunction. It was great to have Carl there, as he has been so helpful to us in designing the wearable component of our product. The Bootcamp itself was a good opportunity for Si and Carl to catch up on progress and plan the remaining six weeks. And Si found it very useful to meet with our buddy Kirsten again and with her, help focus on what needs to happen to bring the project together.

We’re beginning to put our final presentation together, but it has not come as easily as we’d anticipated. There are so many aspects we wish to cover, and so identifying the key elements and linking these all together into an interesting, engaging story is taking some time – we're pleased that we’ve already made a start on this!

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Journal entry: 9 Oct 2017

IMAGE: Simon with our kids with some friends, racing towards the finish line at the beach this last week... a little symbolic of our project at the moment!

Claire Bennett: This has been a pretty quiet fortnight for us. School holidays mean a change in our routine and the project has gone on the back burner for the last week. Limited childcare and school holidays have resulted in significantly less time to work on the project, this isn't a surprise but is a constraint. 

We have, however, been investigating our intellectual property options and beginning to plan some consumer testing. And we're learning the importance of 'getting the story right' in sharing our idea with others. 

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Journal entry: 27 Sep 2017

Claire Bennett: Our recent focus has been twofold: (1) prototyping the physical components of our solution, (2) testing how users interact with our prototype and refining our design based on this.

We’ve made great progress with our physical prototype, and we are starting to get to grips with app development. This has been a reasonable learning challenge but is something we hoped to learn in doing this project. 

It has been a challenging fortnight otherwise – I think we'd underestimated the degree to which other commitments have limited our available time to focus on the project.

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Journal entry: 13 Sep 2017

IMAGE: Claire talking about Hauraki with her colleagues at the NZSTA Symposium

Claire Bennett: We have had a busy couple of weeks! We spent a day with Alan Potter and Jane McHenry from Potter IP. This day was really useful in helping us understand the IP process, and it highlighted the importance of mindful about what we say in order to protect our idea! That’s been a major learning experience for us.

I recently attended the New Zealand Speech Language Therapy Symposium in Rotorua – that gave me an opportunity to have some really useful discussions with my therapist colleagues about our idea and the practicalities of using it. As a subset of our potential end users, it was great to chat about how they could see it working. 

We had a few unexpected days of travel over the past fortnight too, which squeezed our timetable a bit. But we’re progressing well, and the physical component of our system is well underway and looking great.

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Journal ENTRY: 29 AUG 2017

Claire Bennett: Our Instant Visual wearable helps children with receptive language impairments to understand what is being said to them. It would be worn by the communication partner of the child – e.g. a speech and language therapist like me – to reduce anxiety for the child, while encouraging interaction and better personal relationships.

In the past two weeks, we’ve been working really hard on getting the software up and running, which involved some seriously late nights! But it’s been worth it, because now have a basic working first prototype- hurrah! We have also been getting to grips with our end user, completing several Value Proposition Canvases (see photo) to get a clear picture of our end user requirements. 

To be honest, the project is taking is a lot more time than we had anticipated. In some ways it is great to do this as a married couple – my husband Simon is an engineer – as we can talk and explore ideas all the time. But the other side of that coin is that it can be hard to escape the project and make some downtime. We’ll get there!

One thing we’re wrestling at the moment is the attachment component (how we attach the device to our clothing) – we’ve found that this is really key to its usability, so it needs a lot more thought and development.