Connecting with Community

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Studies over the last few decades have shown that 80 percent of human health is determined by social factors such as income, housing quality, and education, rather than just by the availability of quality medical care. Looking more closely at the local economy strategies alongside work emerging around the social determinants of health , it became clear that factors in each framework are working toward the same ends. In other words: what is working to build strong local economies and vibrant communities – anywhere in the world – is the same as what is working to improve human health and well-being in a particular community. (Build Healthy Places Network with Kaiser Permanente)

People need help even if they are educated and know they need to keep themselves healthy. They may even know what they need to do to it. Sometimes they just need that nudge, the outside support to remind them they can do it. For example, obesity: people try to lose weight, fail and just quit trying again. Behavior change is very difficult and even more difficult when sociological factors are stacked against you. If your friends are over weight – then it’s likely you will be too. In fact, They pointed to a 2010 study in the journal Obesity that chronicled “a generational shift in social norms related to body weight” in which, effectively, fat has become the new normal. This is a dangerous tipping point we are imperiously close to reaching. If our society doesn’t change it is doomed. We need to empower the populace to think their actions towards personal well-being matter. Whether it be helping people communicate with their own body or being made aware of avenues for support and engagement – this is a community issue. We need a platform that transcends just personal self-motivation and awareness to one that actively encourages the engagement with one’s community.

Much thanks and inspiration to Cormac Russell at Nurture Development

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Community 3.0, Melvin and the bleedingEDGE Communications Platform

 

What we need is a conduit that can help us build towards communities of engagement. We need a vehicle that connects the dots in our communities and makes its resources not only accessible – but proactively addictive. We need something or someone who will help us engage.

Amazon’s digital personal assistant is called Alexa. To say it’s been a runaway success is an understatement. Originally created to help you buy more Amazon products easier – if that was even possible, Alexa has turned into a repository of over 10,000 possible lifestyle automation uses and applications. It controls the heat in your home, it gives you definition (by voice) and provides recipes for the finicky guests at your next dinner party. And everyday its uses only multiply.

Imagine if you had an Alexa for engagement. Imagine if you had a virtual assistant that gathered possible ways you could engage with your body, your mind and socially with your community. And imagine if these were sorted, prioritized and through messaging motivated you accordingly. These messages could be based on advice from your doctor, your relationships with your neighborhood small businesses or even alerting you of volunteer opportunities. Your notifications, whether they be via text or email, would be your conduit to engaging with the environment around you. 

I call this conduit, MelvinMelvin is your vehicle to well-being – and physical, mental and social fitness. Consider it your well-being bot. What you call your version of Melvin is completely up to you. And what it, he or she looks like is also up to you. Regardless of the form or identity your Melvin takes, it’ll be what connects you to your community to help the you navigate the road to engagement, self-efficacy, empowerment and well-being.

Being well is not just something you do … it must be a basic function of your life, like breathing. Melvin is a communication vehicle that conditions our decision-making process to automatically act healthy and enriching through a ubiquitous immersion of positive engagement prompts, internally and externally. Personalized communication will encourage positive behavior change maximizing all the resources of not only your healthcare provider, but also the community – including the small businesses you frequent. Those participating in the Community 3.0 network will be encouraged not to just “sell stuff” – but be part of the solution by acting responsibly. These businesses, as well as your local non-profits, will organize what we call Solutions, or volunteer projects designed to strengthen the social fabric or of the community. You in turn will strengthen your sense of empathy and altruism – heightening the level of your well-being.

Community 3.0 is a civic ecosystem that connects local businesses to its customers by solving their community’s problems directly in addition to marketing their services, products and events. These participating businesses, or Front Porches, are hubs of civic involvement and volunteerism. Imagine a social hub where like-minded people can come together just to do good for the neighborhoods we all live in. Community 3.0 represent a new decentralized way of affecting change in our communities. Rather than passively waiting for government to fix what civically ails us – the 3.0 network mobilizes you and your neighbors to act directly using the small locally owned business community as its center. And at the core of all of it is Melvin.

The bleedingEDGE Communication Platform is the “black box” or brains of Melvin. It’s  Community 3.0‘s technical database backbone connecting its Members (and their Melvins) with the community. The bleedingEDGE Platform enables healthcare providers, small businesses and non-profits to create Engagement campaigns (single or multi-piece future-timed) that can be activated by any one or combination of pre-programmed triggers. These triggers are customized according to preferences and conditions set by both the Community 3.0 ecosystem and you (through Melvin), the recipient of the communications. 

 All these Engagements then flow into your personal Melvin which in turn sends the appropriate prioritized notifications to you directly setting you on the “Road to Your Perfect World” of health and well-being.

Not only will Members be targeted with the campaigns – so can their stakeholders and friends. Including others “in the loop,” by involving peers in can be the difference between an Engagement‘s success or failure as emotional support scales dramatically.  These triadic relationships also enable the Engagements to have effect outside just the direct communication between the target Member and the bleedingEDGE system. Information on stakeholders and other contacts will be gathered during the Conversation process.

 

Engagement Campaign Examples:

  • Provider: Nudge a Member with a self-help reminder to walk to the store rather driving (Physical: Exercise)
  • Merchant: Announce the  opening of a new farmers market including a discount offer. (Physical: Nutrition)
  • Community 3.0: Promote the use Community Cards (karma cards) that a given to community members who are seen doing good deeds. (Mind: Empathy)
  • Merchant: Nudge a Member to participation in a weekly book club at a locally owned bookstore (Community: Connection)
  • Community 3.0: Encourage finding a friend who knows something you don’t and have them teach you and then return the favor (Mind: Cross-pollinated cerebral expansion)
  • Merchant: Promote participation in an outreach program by delivering food to elderly people or shut-ins sponsored by a locally owned restaurant. (Community: Volunteering)

In addition to the outbound campaigns provided by the bleedingEDGE system, individuals are encouraged to participate in social media with people and groups that will provide positive peer pressure and sociological influence. These groups can provide options and contacts that otherwise wouldn’t be known and will be referred by the CHcC.

Long term plans are to integrate consumer-facing medical technology like Apple Watch apps into the Engagement mix also by using specific sensors to trigger alerts that prompt the individual to act as well as further connecting the Members to their provider. For example: Increases in average blood sugar levels over a month’s period would result in a more aggressive communication strategy of community engagement leaning toward physicality and proper nutrition. Effective persuasion is best done indirectly, and in this case, the person won’t really know they’re even making healthy decisions – they’ll just react that way.

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