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FIND App: A Customizable Video Coaching Tool to Promote Supportive Parent-Child Interaction

This customizable app will transform the field of video coaching, immediately increasing scalability of our FIND program and other programs.

Photo of Philip Fisher
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Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)

When we began working on our entry for the Prize, our single intention was to create an app that would allow us to scale our own evidence-based video coaching program (FIND) more effectively. After reviewing other entries on the Prize website and conducting a comprehensive review of the field of video coaching (which evidence shows is a powerful and efficient behavior change tool), we realized that the app we are proposing to develop has much wider applicability. Simply stated, at the core many video coaching programs are common functions: video capture, secure file storage/sharing, video editing to select specific behaviors, facilitated playback of edited films, and access to program materials (manuals, stock footage, handouts, questionnaires). However, most video coaching programs cobble together technology using an array of separate software products. As such, we have re-envisioned our FIND App as an integrated coaching platform that will not only facilitate the scaling of our own FIND program, but also be customizable for (and marketed to) the large and rapidly expanding number of programs that use video coaching to promoting positive interactions. This includes not only other parenting programs, but also programs designed to support high quality interactions in home- and center-based childcare, teacher training programs, pediatric primary care visits, programs to support positive peer interactions, and even programs for improving the quality of adult relationships.

Name or Organization

The FIND Program, Inc.


The FIND Program, Inc. is located in Eugene, Oregon. Our signature evidence-based video coaching program (Filming Interactions to Nurture Development, or FIND) is being implemented in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts, and New York, as well as in Canada. Demand for FIND continues to increase. FIND is being employed in publicly-funded home visiting and other parenting support programs, state quality improvement programs for childcare providers, and pediatric primary care.

What is your stage of development?

  • Advanced Innovator with 3 to 10+ years of experience in ECD


  • Non - Profit

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Full-scale roll-out: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the users I am trying to reach with my idea. I am ready to expand the pilot significantly.

Describe your submission in one clear sentence

The FIND app will be a fully customizable, integrated web-based platform for filming, file storage and sharing, editing (ultimately including a machine learning algorithm to expedite identification of target behavior), video coaching, and access to program materials such as manuals and handouts, thereby accelerating the scaling of our own FIND video coaching program as well as the scalability of other video coaching programs.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

Video coaching is a powerful tool for supporting parent-child interaction. Our FIND video coaching program leverages over two decades of our scientific research on core parenting practices to promote child development. Our evaluations show that FIND is very effective. However, lack of technology integration decreases efficiency, increases labor and costs, and creates a bottleneck that limits the scalability of FIND as well as all other video coaching approaches. The FIND App will remove this bottleneck by integrating all core components of video coaching into a single customizable platform.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Technology-enabled: Existing approach is more effective or scalable with the addition of technology

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

As with many video coaching models, we have utilized existing web-based software in the development of the FIND video coaching program. Currently the FIND video coaching process uses an iPad with three iOS applications, and a computer with the iMovie or Movie Maker applications. Using this opportunistic approach to technology, we have been able to implement FIND effectively, and our research to date shows significant improvements in both caregiver responsiveness and child developmental outcomes using this existing technology. Demand for the FIND program is growing and in general the video coaching market is expanding rapidly. However, the scalability of FIND and other video programs that make use of existing technology is limited because the independent functions of each device and application make the process complex and disjointed, and software updates are uncontrolled and unpredictable. This has limited the scalability of FIND and other video coaching models. The development of an all-in-one FIND video coaching application could make this process more efficient, thus making it possible for us to respond to the increasing demand for scaling FIND in a cost-effective manner. Our goal with the resources from the Prize is to develop an customizable app with all of the functions necessary for the FIND video coaching process and similar coaching programs, including filming/audio recording, secure file storage/sharing, video editing, playback, and access to program materials.

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

The FIND App solves the problem of the scalability of FIND and other video coaching programs by creating a customizable all-in-one platform that will makes it possible (1) to record and edit video, (2) to securely and efficiently store and share edited video during training and consultation process in a manner that will facilitate implementation fidelity, (3) to employ edited video in the context of FIND and other video coaching programs, and (4) to allow easy online access to program materials.

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

Imagine you are a new parent who is not confident that you have the skills to raise a thriving child. Maybe you were raised under adverse conditions yourself, and you didn't have great models of parenting in your own childhood. Or maybe you're a busy professional with a stressful job, many demands on your attention, and limited time and energy to spend with your child each day. Regardless of your circumstances, chances are that most of the formal parenting support that is available to you comes in forms that are not overly helpful. Perhaps your doctor or your baby's childcare center staff will give you informational pamphlets describing typical developmental milestones. If you are really struggling and seek professional services, it's likely that you'll either be told what you're doing wrong or taught new skills. Although these services are almost always delivered with the best of intentions, research suggests that for many families these parenting programs have little impact. Our team has been developing evidence-based programs to support positive parenting for over two decades, and during that time we have heard from many parents (and learned in our own research) that typical parenting support programs are a non-starter because they are based on the assumption that the solution is to fill deficits in knowledge and skills. It's not that some parents aren't seeking information and skills, but rather a question of whether this is the best starting point. Put simply, why not build upon what parents are already doing right--zeroing in on brief moments of developmentally supportive caregiving that occur naturally and bringing these to the attention of parents? It turns out that nearly all parents engage in supportive caregiving some of the time. So-called "serve and return" interactions occur when a child is exploring their world through movement, touch, or vocalizing and the caregiver notices what the child is doing and responds. As such, the question isn't whether parents have the ability to support their child, but rather making it apparent to them what skills they do have. The FIND video-coaching program was developed, beginning in 2012, out of this recognition. FIND uses video gathered in the home or other natural environment to show parents instances of serve and return. Research on FIND shows that it is effective at increasing responsive parenting and promoting children's development. As word has gotten out about FIND we have experienced increasing demand for the program from around the US and other countries. Although this has all of the ingredients of a success story, we have also encountered some challenges in taking FIND to scale. And we have come to understand that these challenges are common to many other video coaching programs designed to support positive interactions. We have come to characterize these challenges as a "technology bottleneck." Specifically, video coaching requires capacity for recording, storing, sharing, editing, and playing back video that is typically collected in natural environments; however, the software required to accomplish these tasks is rarely integrated into a single platform that can be readily accessed via a range of hardware devices (e.g., tablet, smartphone, laptop) across different operating systems. This not only limits the scalability of FIND and other video coaching programs, it also places such programs beyond the reach of some community service providers in low-resource settings (rural communities, inner city agencies). By creating a customizable video coaching app, we will eliminate this bottleneck and greatly enhance scalability of FIND and other video coaching programs. The FIND App will be a single integrated platform that allows users to record, store and share, edit, and play back segments of video using a range of hardware devices across different operating systems. In the context of our FIND video coaching program, this will allow us to greatly increase the scope of our implementation activities in communities throughout the US and elsewhere. In addition, because it will be designed to have functionality that can be customized to focus on virtually any interaction content, the reach of the app will extend far beyond our own video coaching program. Based on conversations with other video coaching program developers, we are confident that there is a large and untapped market for this product. In short, the FIND App will be a force for supporting positive parenting and other supportive family interactions and also be a potentially highly successful product offering of our company, The FIND Program, Inc.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

The ultimate beneficiaries of our idea are children, via increases in supportive parenting they experience as a result of video coaching, and who might otherwise not be reached due to limits on scalability of FIND and other video coaching. In addition, parents will benefit, based on our strong evidence that FIND increases parenting sense of competence and efficacy and decreases parenting stress. Indeed, one of the most frequent comments we hear from parents who receive the FIND coaching is, "Nobody ever told me that I already was doing things to help support my child's development. Now I know that I am." Another beneficiary is those who seek to support families, including social workers, pediatricians, therapists, teachers, childcare providers. These professional often lack tools that allow for truly strength-based engagement that is precise, targeted, and informed by science. Instead, they rely on resources that may be poorly matched to the contexts and families in which they work. The FIND App will put the power of integrated video coaching functionality literally into the hands of such professionals. Finally, because video coaching is not only effective but efficient, the lower cost of services will be beneficial to policy makers facing stretched budgets and to taxpayers.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

In the six years since we first began implementing FIND video coaching, the program has grown rapidly. Across the US and Canada we have trained 80 coaches, and over 3000 children have been impacted by FIND. Moreover, we have strong scientific evidence that FIND coaching leads to statistically significant improvements in parent well-being and child behavior and language development from a randomized clinical trial of FIND in Early Head Start, and exciting preliminary evidence that the program positively impacts mothers' brain activity. We are driven to impact many more families, in response to the demand to implement FIND (and other video coaching programs). With the FIND App, we will bypass the biggest bottleneck in our ability to scale our program (and we are confident that the customizable platform will allow for similar enhanced scalability for other video coaching programs). As such, by 2020, with the FIND App fully functional, we expect to bring FIND to at least 20,000 children and families, and that another 200,000 families will have received video coaching from other programs that are using our FIND app. With subsequent planned additions to the FIND App, including an artificial intelligence engine for automating the identification of supportive parenting that benefits from the vast amount of labeled digital video data produced by the APP, we expect the FIND App to have impacted millions of children in the US and worldwide.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

The FIND App will make FIND and other video coaching programs more widely available and scalable. This will have an immediate impact on low income children and their families. It will allow a much larger number of parents of such children to receive evidence-based validation of the skills they already possess to support their child's healthy development. It will facilitate the ability of professionals, paraprofessionals, and community health promoters to provide high quality and tailored service for those with whom they work. It will also increase efficiency and decrease program costs, which will in turn allow for a greater number of families to receive the support they need. In the long run, it may also increase the retention of those who work with low income children and families, which would result in additional net savings to community programs and public service budgets.

Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (1500 characters)

Video coaching is innovative because it uses the parent as their own model of developmentally supportive parenting. FIND video coaching is innovative because it isolates specific brief instances of serve and return parenting and shows it to parents in a way that makes what they are doing readily apparent. It is also innovative because it can be done by individuals with a range of education and experience. The FND App is innovative because it greatly increases the scalability of FIND. It is also innovative because of our plans to make it customizable for other video coaching programs.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

Video coaching has great potential to provide scalable and effective support to parents regarding what they are doing to promote their child's development. However a lack of integrated functions require those developing and implementing video coaching programs to either rely on a number of different software programs to accomplish coaching or to expend considerable resources to develop their own software. Our idea will not only address a barrier in our own ability to reach a significant number of families with our FIND video coaching program, it will also allow us to make the customizable platform available to other video coaching programs. As such, we anticipate that it will have an immediate and dramatic effect on the total number of end users (those who use video coaching to support positive parenting).

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

We're confident that the development of the FIND app is a feasible endeavor for two reasons. First, we've already created the conceptual framework for the FIND App. Over the past six years, our team has developed a comprehensive, manualized method for editing footage of caregiver-child interaction to highlight serve and return. This method has been refined though rapid cycle iteration in in a wide range of settings. Second, the app will leverage existing technology, specifically, a cloud content management and file sharing service that includes a number of functions that are key to the video coaching process including: video capture, secure file storage/sharing and video play back. encourages innovators to create custom applications using the technology and provides tools and resourses to support these efforts (e.g. Box Platform and the developers site). Our team is strong from a technical perspective, with deep knowledge of the science of early childhood development and an international reputation for developing effective parenting programs. Our recent partnership with Third Sector New England/MissionWorks provides us with widely recognized expertise in socially innovative nonprofit companies. We have already outlined the basic functions of the app. Our next step is to partner with an app developer who has experience with Box, specifically the video capture and playback functions. We will collaborate with the developer to lay out the flow and features of the app and design the interface.

Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (1500 characters)

The market demand for FIND and other video coaching programs is quite strong. FIND video coaching is being implemented in programs that range from individual agencies to statewide childcare quality improvement systems, and has been implemented within four distinct service systems (home visitation, childcare, child welfare, and pediatric primary care). Our business model is well-developed. In 2017, in response to demand for the program, we formed a non-profit in which to house all implementation activities--The FIND Program, Inc. We have since executed an intellectual property (IP) agreement with the University of Oregon which provides The FIND Program, Inc. with full IP rights to FIND video coaching. Between June and December 2017 we worked with GrowThink, a consulting organization, to develop a business plan, and also. determined that the best way for our nonprofit to grow is to enter into a fiscal sponsorship arrangement. We conducted a national search of fiscal sponsorship organizations and ultimately applied for sponsorship with Third Sector New England (TSNE)/Missionworks. Our application was approved by the TSNE Board in December 2017, and we have since executed a memorandum of understanding for fiscal sponsorship. The fiscal sponsorship arrangement is optimal because it provides us with key services (accounting, contracting, HR, payroll), which allows our team to focus on program development as well as procuring new customers for implementations of the program.

HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (1500 characters)

Co-creation is a guiding principle in FIND coaching. To us, co-creation means bringing together different parties to work toward a mutually beneficial goal. From the inception of FIND we have worked closely with community organizations, practitioners and participants to further develop and improve the program. Each implementation of FIND is overseen by a project planning committee that typically includes representatives from each level of the partner organization including administration, supervisors and direct service staff. This committee oversees the project plan and make any necessary adaptations to the FIND program and materials. We also solicit input from parents and caregivers in a wide range of formats including surveys, focus groups and interviews. This human-centered approach has allowed us to implement FIND successfully in settings as diverse as child welfare, and with immigrant families in Spanish and Chinese. Consistent with the principle of co-creation, we plan to involve key stakeholders in the development of the FIND app including the FIND editors and coaches. Their input will be invaluable in creating a tool that is easy to use and effective. We plan to use Human Centered Design methods in the app development process. For instance, we will conduct interviews and co-creation sessions with FIND editors, coaches and consultants to hear from them what they would find most helpful in a video coaching app. This is an area where we would welcome consultation.

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

The idea to use video coaching to support positive parenting came from years in the child development field as intervention developers, researchers, and social innovators. We were inspired to develop FIND by colleagues in Europe, where video coaching has been a very popular approach for several decades. Specifically, colleagues in Sweden introduced us to the Marte Meo method, that uses brief video clips to promote supportive caregiving. We received training in Marte Meo and then adapted it for implementation in public service programs in the United States. In the process, we encountered challenges to scalability and implementation that ultimately resulted in our motivation develop an integrated video coaching app, in respond to the demand for our FIND program and other video coaching approaches. Our motivation to work in the early childhood space comes from our involvement in research on the science of adversity. Our own work, and the work of others, has convinced us that early childhood is a crucial period for human development that sets the stage for all that will come after, and that nurturing, responsive care is the single biggest factor in promoting resilience in the face of adversity. We also bring a personal commitment to this work in the context of some of our team being adoptive parents of children who experienced early life adversity, others being from communities in which high levels of adversity exist, and all of us devoting our professional lives to improving outcomes for children who are exposed to toxic stress early in life.

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (500 characters)

Our team has extensive experience with developing, implementing and evaluating innovative programs for families and deep expertise the FIND video coaching method. We are well positioned to partner with a technology development firm to translate the conceptual framework of FIND into a versatile and highly useful app that will make FIND (and potentially other video coaching programs) more effective, efficient and feasible to scale.

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)

As noted above our team hopes to partner with an app development firm who has experience with the platform, particularly the video capture and playback functions. We will be looking for a firm who has the technical skills necessary for the project and who shares our vision for the potential that this app has to contribute to the field of early childhood. In addition, we would welcome consultation around HCD and how we could use this methodology to partner with the people we are designing for (FIND coaches and editors) to build an app that makes their work easier and more effective.

If so, what type of mentoring support do you think you need? (1200 characters) [Relevant only for Early Submission Deadline]


Mentorship: How was your idea supported? [Relevant only for our early submission participants] (1500 characters)


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).


Join the conversation:

Photo of Janelle Schroy

This is interesting, Philip! Good work. Parents need this kind of support. Good luck!

Photo of Philip Fisher

Thanks, Janelle! We are really excited about the potential that the FIND App could have for supporting parent-child interactions.