Creating Technology Tools to Help Young People Thrive
HopeLab’s name is a clue to its mission and work. The team combines behavior science and technology design to motivate positive health behaviors. In our busy lives, technology can sometimes feel like part of the problem. But HopeLab is exploring how technology can engage people, especially kids and young adults, to improve their health and well-being.
Engaging technologies, backed by research
HopeLab’s first product was Re-Mission and Re-Mission 2, a collection of online games designed to help young people fight cancer. The next was Zamzee, a game-based website to get kids moving. HopeLab’s most recent work, according to Fred Dillon, Director of Product Development, focuses on promoting our innate capacity for resilience by creating mobile technologies that cultivate:
These psychological components are at the heart of resilience. And emotion management is at the heart of having a healthy sense of control and connection in our daily lives. There’s a trend to incorporate social and emotional learning in classrooms in Hawai‘i and around the world. “A growing body of evidence,” says Dillon “suggests that, just as children learn to read, kids and young adults need to learn how to develop their ability to understand and manage emotions.”
Building self-awareness and changing behavior
One of the most effective strategies for supporting social and emotional learning is to meet people where they are, namely, on their mobile devices. Working with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, HopeLab developed the Mood Meter App, a tool that enables users to plot feelings and find ways to manage them, which is necessary for establishing healthy relationships and well-being. “We may never eliminate bullying entirely,” says Dillon, “but creating a sense of belonging for kids can help them mount a resilient response to the challenges they face.”
In addition to the Mood Meter App, HopeLab partnered with The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT. Together, they created the Mitra App, a digital tool that helps students and aspiring leaders track their values over time and align them with their daily lives, with the ultimate goal of improving ethical leadership.
According to Dillon, “These are just two examples of how researchers and designers can collaborate to create technology that empowers kids and young adults to live healthy and fulfilling lives.”
HopeLab improves the health and well-being of young people by creating engaging technologies backed by rigorous research. HopeLab is part of The Omidyar Group, representing the personal, professional, and philanthropic interests of Pierre and Pam Omidyar. For more, visit HopeLab and Omidyar Group.
Check out HopeLab's presentations at the 2015 and 2016 Schools of the Future Conference.