Baby Scouts of the World (BSW)
I will prototype and manage the construction of a platform to promote the transition from knowledge-based to skill-based parenting.
Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)
The idea has changed from a large scope project with many moving parts, to a focus project emphasizing on skill deficiencies. Creating a simple instruction with a tangible exercises that teaches proper skill and incentivize with a badge.
Name or Organization
Stephen “James” Parsons Jr
Philadelphia, PA, USA
What is your stage of development?
New Innovator, with less than one year of experience in ECD
What is the stage of your proposal?
Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.
Example of the baby handbook.
Merit badge blankets will be personalized.
Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)
Most skills in child raising come from exposure or training, but the quality of those skills have a huge impact on the outcome of the child's development. My platform would be a game-changer because of the engineered skill builder that validates proficiency rather than gaining knowledge from reading, picking up skills from faulty techniques, or reinventing the wheel due to lack of support.
Select an Innovation Target
Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources.
Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)
Baby Scouts of the World aims to implement a platform that streamlines the physical, emotional, and intellectual wellbeing of babies though structured skill-building techniques, support networks, and cultural stimulation throughout the world for parents.
What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)
There is a major disconnect between parental knowledge and skill, often exacerbated by a lack of support networks for those along the parenthood journey. Additionally, parents are often unaware or free and affordable cultural resources to stimulate their child's mind.
Explain your idea (5000 characters)
Initially, I would compile a list of the top 100 parental deficiencies from daycares and parent aid organizations. Then I would contact field expertise who can comment on the list and provide feedback on proper techniques. The final skill set will be converted into educational videos (think Khan Acadamy) and an illustrated step by step cartoons (think How Stuff Works). The illustrated skills will be published in a handbook, and later integrated into a mobile application. The mobile application will have three main features: the 100 skills list, a local community network of vetted members and instructors, and eventually a sand bucket list. The 100 skill list will show what most parents should be skilled in to raise a healthy, emotionally strong and engaged baby. Once a skill has been achieved, parents will have the option of digital badges or physical patches to attach to a blanket. The local network will include parents who have previously completed a given merit badge and are willing to mentor new parents going through the process. The sand bucket list is a feature that would come in later versions as Baby Scouts of the World gains traction, with the idea of listing activities to engage their child. For example, one item may be a beach trip, where the parent is advised on sunscreen, shade, and water, while another item may advertise free museum admission for children under a certain age.
Who benefits? (1500 characters)
Babies will benefit from skilled parents and exposure to more varied cultural stimuli. Parents will benefit from the information, discounts, free photo storage and support structures.
From working in an Immunology Department in Yokosuka, Japan Naval Hospital to working in Disneyland, I’ve developed a great set of communication skills in varying emotional settings. I have worked with hundreds of parents giving them basic first aid skills, and how to comfort their children from physical stress like a vaccine shot to the emotional stress like a busy amusement park.
For the parents, I have a great set of communication skills, and I have an analytical mind from my engineering background.
What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)
The platform will impact every child born into a family that has adopted the Baby Scouts of the World. The saying “monkey see, monkey do”, shows a true root that children mimic their parents, and if the parents are skilled they produce a better product than unskilled. This will lead to children who will eventually pass this on to their children, and like the current Boy Scouts of America, this will last to the end of time.
How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)
BSW will impact low income children by giving parents a complete early development tool-set free of cost. The babies will also benifit from tools aquired by the parents leading to superior physical, mental and cultural development.
Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (5000 characters)
There are hundreds of books, web videos, websites and apps that aim on giving knowledge on raising babies, however they all fail because lack of compliance by the parent and lack of applicable skills. BSW leave parents with more than knowledge, it leaves parents with the correct skill set to apply to their babies.
Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)
After the initial adoption by trendsetters, the platform will be advertised on other social platforms based on analytics. The personalized merit blanket may also become social statuses among parents. The financial stability of Baby Scouts of the World will be in the form of purchases of the book and app. The cost will be comparable to the local income; in America, a yearly cost of $20 dollars may be the projected price, while the cost may be $2 in countries with lower income. Once established, enabling local production of the book and blanket in other countries will increase affordability.
Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)
I have talked with five established mothers and four new mothers, a larger sample size of parents with a demographic of unsupported child raising would need to be established to better understand the need.
Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (5000 characters)
Like any tool, usefulness and return on investment drives the user to continue useing the tool.
The digital guide will be free to everyone, fundamentally giving parents the needed resources. The paid platform however will give financial benefit in the form of discounts on baby consumables.
HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (5000 characters)
BSW adopted the human centered design(HCD) form the Boy Scouts of America. Starting off with a deficit, ie: Baby First Aid, first a video will show the correct skill in action. Second, the manual instruction is pictorial-graphic based. This approach helps the parent visualize the skill, even if the parent has difficulties in literacy. Next, the skill will have practice activities. These practice activists will be step-by-step. Slowing building upon the precious learned step to build the total skill. And lastly, having a subject expert grade the skill, give advices, and award competition.
Tell us more about you (3000 characters)
First I asked what was the most influential exposure I had in my life, and the answer was the Boy Scouts of America. Then I asked how can that system could be used for babies and parents. Along the way, I conceived the idea of skill building by doing with achievements and badges.
What excites me about the early childhood space, honestly, is that I’m excited about fixing the future of humanity and I know that children are our future. Whatever we can do to build a better person will build a better future.
I’ve always been good with children, and I love both learning and teaching. Growing up, my mother was very active with child care and worked with a lot of foreign exchange students. We hosted one from Russia, one from Slovakia and twenty exchange students from Japan. The desire to help teach and teach correctly always fascinated me. I learned a picture is worth 1000 words, and in 2000 I started a graphic design company. As Assistant Editor and Editor in Chief, I worked on the design and publication of book compiling undergraduate literature and art. I also have over 18 years of programming experience, including desktop applications, website design, app development and video games.
Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (600 characters)
I have the skill set to pull off this project; however, I know it will take a team of highly skilled and motivated people to make my vision a reality. First, I would partner with artists for the overall look; the more professional the look, the better the chances of adoption. Next, I would partner with software engineers who are skilled with database and backend web services to streamline the hosting, streaming, and cost predictions. Lastly, I would find experts in designated pessimism to critique my mission to force me to look at the big picture and not get lost in the details.
As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)
I feel my three-part platform will work best if I use one part to fund the next. I would use my artistic abilities and publishing skillset to create the handbook. I would align myself with artists and manual makers to find the perfect layout that will give the desired result. More research would need to be addressed, and current books would need to be reverse engineered to see what works and what doesn't. Once completed, the sales would fund the creation of the application including generation of the video guides and support network.
Would you like mentoring support?
If so, what type of mentoring support do you think you need? (1200 characters)
The mentoring I would like is how to find skilled and competent teammates. In my past ventures it was usually a weeding process until the stars were found; not very efficient.
Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?
Yes, share my contact information
[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).
Mentorship: How was your idea supported? [Relevant only for our early submission participants] (1500 characters)
Veronika Vilgis was a valued mentor. Her insight on the scope of my idea helped me focus on the big issue of providing a skill set to parents rather than knowledge.