FOOD FOR THOUGHT: If we only knew what happens to our loved ones, our properties, and our wishes when we are gone, we'll be more worried living without a Will than living at all.
VALUE OFFERING: LegalBliss offers a unique online platform for connecting people to legal services that will give them and their loved ones a happier ending. Through a social interaction model, we transform minds, bring hope, and secure the future. Our Vision is to
"Empower Ordinary People to Have Extraordinary Happy Endings."
Let's face it, everyone dies eventually but not everyone leaves a last will and testament in place. In developed countries like the United States, only about 45% of adults aged 60 and above ever make their wills (LexisNexis). In under-developed and developing countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, etc the case is worse with few to almost no resources on this subject matter as the issue of Will and Testaments are considered personal issues for who ever cares. In fact, 85% of Africans in Africa have no Will while 60% do not understand what it is at all.
Thus, one singular neglected part of life have often led to cold wars among family members, dehumanizing treatment of loved ones especially wives by in-laws, massive lawsuits for ownership, fights and maiming, emotional cum psychological traumas for loved ones and so on. The effects extends outside the immediate deceased home to the community, state, and nation at large.
Fundamentally, key causes for the low drive for wills by individuals includes:
- Some African traditions oppose legal justice for traditional ordinances;
- Lack of understanding of the importance of Will to one's end of life experience, loved ones, properties, etc;
- Cost to access the service;
- People are skeptical to talk about death or them dying;
- Lack of knowledge on how, who, when, and where to get these concern addressed;
- An I-will-do-it-later or I'm-not-dying-anytime-soon attitude.
The Solution: The Online Platform for Wills/Related Docs.
LegalBliss is an online platform connecting people needing a Will to a legal practitioner to help effect this at low to no cost. The platform also provides Do-It Yourself e-Wills, information, resources, and sensitization about the essence of Will and Laws of Inheritance. Millions of people do not know about making a Will, how to-do, or affording the cost for the services. Our service can help make people more at peace to prepare for their demise knowing that they have prepared their end before hand.
Update 11/7/2016:We are working on a TV project, which is a legal program for sensitizing people on day-to-day issues and what the law says. Our first episode deals on Essence of Will and Law of Inheritance (Link to Script here). The project brings together lots of lawyers even though it is just to sensitize the masses. When i came across this OpenIDEO challenge, i immediately knew the masses needed a Call-to-Action platform and not just the awareness alone. So, we used all the lawyers on the TV project as a feedback system. They all agreed that LegalBliss is a timely solution (about 40 respondents).
Suggestions for Improvement [Update 16/7/2016]: From talking with the lawyers and other stakeholders discussed with, the following components will be added to the idea: Virtual Resolution (VR), Segmentation of target users based on demographics (age, financial class, location), and Video-chatting. VR is a complaint-and-resolution platform for cases that do not need legal actions but legal counsel. Segmenting users will enable age bracket targeted information enabling users to upgrade their document when they get older. Video chats allows users connect to experts and others through video.
However, the website is not a stand-alone component. We will adopt a threesome approach to solving the identified problems above. The components of LegalBliss that addresses the unique needs of the target audience we're designing for include:
- The Platform
- The People
- The Message
The Platform: The platform helps approach the need as an interconnected process than the tradition ways that remind people of their dying. It also eliminates traditional costs to make a Will. We will build a resourceful website that will serve as a key point of contact to the target users. The website will have various functionalities including: ability to create an account, update a profile, create an e-Will (or other docs), video-chat with a legal counsel, peer-to-peer video-sharing, discuss/share information with other member in a forum, schedule face-to-face meetings with an attorney, vault (depository) for one's valuable documents like passwords, bank info, etc. The website will be a one-stop place for preparing one's end-of-life document. Typically, the LegalBliss platform is the hands-on gateway to accessing our attorneys or our low cost services. The platform will be compatible for mobile viewing also.
The People: This meets the needs for guidance in the service process for the target audience to get the most results especially the uneducated or those who are not internet/computer proficient. Our services can never be complete without the involvement of experts. We have already enlisted 25 lawyers and will continue to add more of them to create a network of experts (including medical, financial, business, etc) to be able to connect individuals to them for any further assistance similar to what is obtainable in the medical field. Thus, the lawyers will be to individuals what personal doctors are to their clients. We will partner with law firms, human right agencies, legal institutions, etc to make service providers readily available and accessible. [Update 27/7/2016: We spoke with Doctor Benjamin Agbede, a Medical Director. His input are that it is important for users of the platform to consult a medical personnel before making their Wills so as to understand and incorporate their medical wishes].
The Message: This aspects meets the informative and educative needs of target audience, re-orientating traditional beliefs with current realities, unveiling the importance of Wills and how to attain one. With well curated messages on online and offline platforms, we will sensitize and create massive awareness on the part of the target users and masses. People in Africa require a lot of education to agree to the fact that Wills are crucial part of live and death. We will organize periodic seminars and programs to incentivize people towards the platform. Before the campaigns commence, we will engage in a massive questionnaire survey that will seek to answer the following questions:
-Which they prefer: To make a Will or Loss their properties to a stranger?
-What are the most important reason for them to make a Will?
-Can their loved ones be safe and happy when they are death as when they are alive?
-If death comes anytime, will they wish they needed more time to make a Will?
-and lots other questions...
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS SOLUTION?
1. The Individual: The individual target users of this solution will benefit from the emotional, psychological, and physical relaxation that comes to mind, giving them a better end of life experience. The individual could be a single mother, a hard-working family man, an adult (about to pass on), etc.
2. The Family: The immediate and extended family members of the individual above are assured of a better life and care or free from dangers of threat or external intruder since they become legally protected. The family includes children, spouse, wards, staff, relatives, ones parents, etc.
3. The Community: There is a greater communal benefit when citizens have a sense of belonging or social inclusion. Perhaps, crises and crimes in African or elsewhere are perpetrated by people who feel unjustly treated of their rights. Thus, protection of interests curbs youth restiveness, vandalism, corruption, etc.
4. The Government/Experts: All governments seeks the protection of their citizen's lives and properties but this goal has never been achieved. Professionals in the legal, medical, financial, etc fields have made every effort to encourage individuals on the benefits of these services to no avail. This solution will help them drive the objective to a positive plus.
The Approach: Simplified User Experience Map (Updated 13/11/2016)
Our solution is simply to build a scale-able and sustainable business and impact model that can generate traffic with proven conversion results. Our implementation strategy has been segmented into actionable and achievable milestones grouped into two phases.
Phase One: West Africa Market (Nigeria + other West Africa markets).
At this phase, we will test basic concepts, validate assumptions, create a limited feature version of the site/launch it, put in place a network of legal officials to the existing ones, begin word of mouth marketing + use of cheap social media platform like Whatsapp group broadcast, Facebook, etc, monitor response + conversion rates, fix some bugs/update User Interface, add more features/functionalities, and increase publicity efforts. At this stage, we target a population of 10million beneficiaries. The timeline for this phase is projected for 14months. Step by step we will:
- Step 1: Carry out additional Market Surveys/validation (August 2016)
- Step 2: Development of the Website (September, 2016)
- Step 3: Minimum Viable Product + Launch Beta Platform (October, 2016)
- Step 4: Aggregation of Network of Legal Advisors (ongoing)
- Step 5: Creation of Initial Awareness (October, 2016)
- Step 6: Registration/Aggregation of Early Adopters + Round A Funding (Nov., 2016)
- Step 7: Intro of Upgrade Platform + Product Refinement (December, 2016)
- Step 8: Addition of New Features + Product Refinement (December, 2016)
- Step 9: Massive Growth Strategies + Product Refinement + Round B funding (January, 2017 - March 2017)
Phase Two: All Africa Markets + Intro to New Regions
At this stage, we target a population of 100million beneficiaries by simply scaling our solution from the initial markets in Africa to all African market and add new regions outside Africa. The timeline for this phase is projected to for 28months. Some of the actions at this phase include:
- Step 1: Massive Awareness Generation + Learning of new markets (March 2017)
- Step 2: Launch in new market + Addition of More Service Offering (Company Incorporation, Intellectual Properties, etc) (April 2017)
- Step 3: Product Refinement + Scaling to More Countries (May - June 2017)
- Step 4: Product Refinement + Scaling to More Regions + Round C funding (July - December, 2017)
- 2018: Viral growth and expansion. Map out plans to make our services available to more users globally.
Some fundamental assumptions we need to test include:
1. Lawyers can work with healthcare providers, governments, private sector and foundations to improve access to important end of life legal services;
2. Opportunities exist in build an integrated approach for end-of-life services;
3. People going through end of life want to learn from others with similar experiences in the same space;
4. People going through end of life will welcome the solution if they notice it can uplift their hopes and protect their interests;
5. People going through end of life will rather try than never with the right amount of information or sensitization.
6. The model is viable and sustainable (willingness to pay, return, or refer).
FEEDBACK [INFOGRAPHICS UPDATED 27/7/2016]
The above infographics are from a second round of survey from 1-on-1 discussions and with small focused groups.
HOW THIS SOLUTION MEETS THE CHALLENGE NEEDS
- Re-imagine dying: Our solution creates a mindset of dying as an achievement of a life of fulfillment comparable to winning an award or achieving a feat. Rather than think of it as a stage of becoming a liability or pain, it is portrayed as an asset or gain.
- Beyond tradition: There exist places in Nigeria where talking death is a taboo or where tradition empowers a deceased wife to be thrown out of her home by her in-laws. There are many such mundane traditional laws in Africa. LegalBliss harmonizes both sides encouraging people that it is possible to protect the interest of tradition and the Law with a Will altogether. Only then can people envision and welcome the path of death.
- Uplifting and unique: The case for concern most often isn't about dying but about what happens to our personalities, efforts, loved ones, wishes and aspirations. The singular sense of security knowing that your wishes are carried out even at your "ever absence" is uplifting and comforting. Perhaps, the best of comfort at end of life and this is the sense/feelings that LegalBliss brings to users.
- Consider partnerships: We acknowledge that this is a tough challenge that needs all hands on deck. As a social enterprise, we are already building bridges of partnerships with relevant fields including legal, medical, ICT, marketing, etc to see how each one fits into the solution. We hope to enlist a full house of partners to drive this solution.
- Are human-centered: LegalBliss is for real people with real needs to understand the need for end of life preparation.
Details and Other Learning
The following documents provide additional resources for this solution.
Revenue Generation (Updated 6/8/2016)
This documents explores various ways LegalBliss will be financially sustainable. Click here to read the details.
Survey & Feedback (7/8/2016)
We also took to the street to confirm our doubts. This document contains the whole odyssey. Click here to read more details.
What's Up So Far? (7/8/2016)
We also imagined that you might want to know how far we have come and where we are headed. Click here to read more details.
LegalBliss Questionnaire (7/8/2016)
If you want to help us by lending your voice to this solution, click here to access an electronic copy of the questionnaire. Thanks in advance.
A User Story (8/8/2016)
We have gone far to make a scripted story of what a "User Story" might look like. This script is for a 10 minute video. Click here to see the script. This will be produced and uploaded to the website.