A friend put me in touch with a friend of hers whilst in LA. I love meeting new people and I’ve done very well out of friends of friends!

I got told I HAD to meet with Jacob. After trying to make two busy schedules come together, we finally made it happen, and I’m so glad we did. Jacob is another person I’ve met whilst here who does not work in the world of grief (although he is very interested in it) but something entirely different – applied entertainment.

I’d not heard of that phrase either. I can’t pretend I’m knowledgeable enough to describe it eloquently or even correctly, but it’s essentially thinking about how we use any forms of entertainment to effect behaviour change. For example, the gaming industry or film or books, etc. Behaviour change applications are all around us in so many different forms. For example, Fit Bit, which shows you your level of activity and in doing so increases your motivation to be active. Wouldn’t it be cool to positively effect behaviour change through applied entertainment?

We had a discussion about embracing technology to help people help themselves better but also others too. Jacob told me about Be My Eyes, an app that allows you to lend your eyes to the blind. You can help blind people with everyday tasks. Visually impaired users can request help from a sighted volunteer. A live-video connection allows you to assist the impaired user, for example, they might be making lunch and they’re asking if the can on the left or right in front of them is the chickpeas.

Be My Eyes app

I signed up to it. I’m waiting to be notified when someone needs help and then I’m going to try it out. I’ve been told by the app that I’ll receive a notification when someone needs help but that it might take some time because they have so many volunteers. I’ve never heard that before!

That’s a LOT of volunteers

The easiest and smallest act of kindness can change lives, and technology is a wonderful tool to help facilitate that. It’s much easier for people to volunteer to help someone for 5-minutes using their phone than it is for them to carve out larger chunks of time at specific locations.

We spoke about scaling up with this kind of technology or approach in mind. It’s obviously hugely important to maintain quality when scaling something up – the reputation of an organisation is contingent on the quality of support being provided. Good quality care also increases the chances of a person wanting to continue a relationship with an organisation.

Jacob and Erin

Our discussion went on to talking about the various models of scaling up, with and without technology. Suddenly we were talking about a project we’d love to do together. It happened again – meeting someone outside of the world of grief led to collaborative ideas on how to better increase grief support.

Scaling up is about collaboration. No doubt about it.

And LA is full of creative people!

(Buzzing) Erin, x