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Healthy Village (Updated with User Map)

Healthy Village is an app that works in combination with wearable bio-feedback technology to establish healthier habits.

Photo of Emily Lozano

Written by

Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it inspire the end user to lead a healthier life?

The target audience includes heads of families and individuals who need a simple, individualized and responsive way to change their habits around eating. They may know what to do (eat nutritious foods) but stray from their goals because of a lack of support or are at risk of "eating their feelings."

Potential Users:

Rosa is a single, working mom raising two kids. She works a restaurant shift job and relies on neighbors to watch her children while they are not in school. She struggles to eat well and feed her children nutritious meals. She sometimes brings home food from the restaurant to feed the family. Her eldest child, Manolo, is in high school where he has access to vending machines and sometimes eats fast food for lunch. Her younger child, Maribel, is 2 years old and is often given soft drinks instead of milk or juice. She has developed a sweet tooth and throws tantrums over food daily.

Ana is a married, working professional with 3 children under 5 years. Her mother, Cecilia, helps to care for the children while Ana is at work. Cecilia is indulgent with the children, letting them eat sweets and snacks before dinner to keep them quiet, and lets them watch many hours of TV. Cecilia is overweight and borderline diabetic. Ana and her husband Carlos are relatively healthy but have family histories of heart disease.

Tony is 20 and moving out on his own for the first time. He is moving far from home and while he ate well while living with his family, his own choices tend towards burgers, pizza and soft drinks over healthier options, especially when he is stressed. He wants to eat better but bad habits have set in.

Healthy Village Features:

    Wearable Biofeedback Piece (wrist band or necklace) to track heartbeat, steps, sleep, and emotional state (entered by user).

    Goal Tracking. App records wearable’s information and allows user to expand on feedback, set goals, and track progress.

    Push Notifications. App can gather information wirelessly from multiple wearables to keep track of other family members.

    App can send push notifications to remind users to take medication, record meals, or get in steps for the day. App can also be triggered by biofeedback to remind users to be mindful of emotions or breathing (Spire is a good e example of this.)

    Wearables can send push notifications to main user in case of extreme biofeedback data such as change heart rate indicating heart trouble.

    Manual Inputs. Main user has access to all data and can update information as needed. For example - Child forgets to log in lunchtime meal. Mom can log it in. Main user can log food for all family members at once to record a shared dinner or snack.

    Bar Code Reader and Food ID. App and wearables recognize bar codes for easy food logging and recognize a library of non-coded food such as fruits and vegetables. Voice entry also available.

    OPTIONAL: Recipes. App can include a link to a Pinterest page of healthy simple recipes or snack ideas.

    Quick Successes. Low threshold for success on various stages of program

    • Stage 1 - Awareness. User simply takes notes on eating habits, exercise and emotional states. Includes honest recording of binging, drinking, depression, stress, etc. User is encouraged with each entry with positive feedback, reward points and compassion for harsher feelings and extreme eating behaviors.
    • Stage 2 - Food Swapping. Activated whenever user is ready. By this stage the app should be familiar with the users patterns and is able to make tailored recommendations. For example, someone who eats chips or popcorn often might be advised to replace these with grapes. A user with extended depression might be counseled to seek additional help with specific numbers to call. A user with unusual sleep patterns may be given tips on sleep and encourage to set an alarm as a signal to begin a sleep routine. Users with small children can be given advice on getting picky eaters to eat healthier.
    • Stage 3 - Exercise. In addition to the advice given in stage 2, Stage 3 will add exercise suggestions like 3 minutes of stretching and dancing, walking a few extra blocks a day. Suggestions will vary based on user’s age, weight, ailments and other limitations. Suggestions can be ramped up to be more demanding at user’s request or as the app sees that the user is getting healthier, stronger.

    Emotional Support. App can be programmed and then learn to send prompts to users to handle the emotional component of eating. Users with anger issues may be prompted during the day to take deep breaths or sit quietly with a coping thought. Users with depression may get a prompt before sleep to combat binge eating. Prompts may be coping ideas, or pre-recorded video stories or Siri-like “conversations” with “villagers.” Villagers can be Abuelita who tells stories and reminds user that there are people around who can help (family, friends or professionals.) Village Doctor can give nutritional or psychological advice that some users may find helpful in learning more about specific conditions or nutrition. Village Fool can be a lighthearted character who tells funny stories, silly jokes or can play games with the user for a limited time, while encouraging the user to take care of themselves with real people and activities (to combat screen addiction.)

    Users can also log into a message board to connect with other users for advice and support. A live chat feature can also be included. 

    Reporting. App can give progress reports to users (and main user) on patterns it notices. For example, user may tend to binge more on days of high stress or after days of extended sadness. App can make recommendations for replacing food with “better binge food” while making a longer term plan for dealing with the underlying emotional issues - without judgment.

    Low-Income Integration. App may be linked to WIC cards or other low-income programs and offer monetary incentives for choosing fresh produce instead of processed foods. 

    Pinterest and other Social Media. App can also be linked to Pinterest board with recipes, ideas and encouragement. A visual cue on a sticky site like Pinterest can be very powerful and motivating.


    • Consider Disney tie-in for children utilizing “Inside/Out” characters
    • Advertise on TV using Latino stars
    • Negotiate product placement in Telenovelas - have a character use the app in a story line.

Healthy Village will be designed to help the user understand that good health is a habit that needs practical and emotional encouragement. These can sometimes be hard to find in communities, especially when community often goes hand in hand with celebratory foods such as sweets. The app cannot replace true emotional support but can at least model what support looks like so that users can seek it out in real life. Users should leave each interaction feeling accepted - any entry is a good entry - and supported - small wins are celebrated.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

To come.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea?

I would need help sorting through the available technology to adapt to this app. And I would need help developing the app for testing.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

Does your idea currently have an Indiegogo campaign drafted?

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Tracy Elsen

Hi Emily,

As you focus this idea down onto the emotional support piece, it could be useful to allow users of the app to connect with each other to provide real human emotional support and to share practical solutions to the challenges that they face. App-generated reminders that there are people to turn to might be useful, but sharing stories and providing real-time messages to other app users going through similar challenges might be a more powerful connection than a character in an app.

Good luck!

Photo of Emily Lozano

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll definitely consider adding a community involvement feature.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi Emily! This Idea is a great build on the observations you shared in your Research post. I really enjoyed that post. Great visuals for the Idea here!

Building on how the App can address "emotional eating", might adding "preparation" as a first step add to one's insights? How about recording a plan which can then be weighted against subsequent actions? Depending on what one is using the App for, weight loss vs. an overall approach to wellness, which includes a focus on healthy eating, one can either record specific planned meals with cal counts (if wanted), or a general outline for the day. An exercise plan can also be included. Plan and then record notes on what actually happened. Reflect.

I like Tracy's comment on creating opportunities to connect and build community support.

I wonder if an App like this can be incorporated into a character's story line on a Telenovela as a way to market it?

Excited to watch your Idea develop! Good luck!

Photo of Emily Lozano

Thanks for your comments and suggestions!

Photo of Ahmed Rub

Ive been using my wearable technology "apple watch" to track how many calories I burned and how many miles I walked for months, and every time it tells me that I achieved my goal I feel good, not only that there are many different type of achievements "I actually did not set and track" but yet every time the watch tells me that I achieved something and showed me a trophy I really feel good and motivated, thats why I think the emotion support feature has good potential, I wonder if this feature beside giving inspiration it also can can rewords people that are improving, or getting things done, for example if the app has many different rewords that the user can get !

Photo of Emily Lozano

This is a great idea. I'll see about working in rewards of some kind of small achievements.

Photo of Sebastián González

Hi Emily, Healthy village it´s a nice idea.
The wearable technology itps a great plus on your idea, because ot goes with the actual and future trend of "internet of things"
Did you have the knowledge or support to make it? Surely here we can fin the support!
Hope healthy village make it trought the next round !

Photo of Emily Lozano

Hi Sebastian,
Thanks for your encouragement! I don't have the tech knowledge necessary to make Healthy Village - I just had the idea Hopefully I'll be able to put together a team. If anyone who has relevant skills wants to join please speak up! I'm so new to this.


Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Emily, would you be able to look at my idea and comment upon it as we have some commonalities.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Emily, thank you for all the hard work - we’re excited to see how you’ll develop your idea in the Refinement Phase! We thought this idea was ambitious, innovative, and culturally relevant. We also loved the community focus of this idea - where entire families can be involved in setting lifestyle goals.

In the Refinement Phase, it’ll be helpful to narrow your focus on some of the features that you've outlined. This idea has a lot of dimensions - including media partnerships, social media, gamification, wearables, food scanners, geo-sourcing, and goal tracking. If you were to create a lean version of this product, which features/ services would you choose to focus on? Perhaps the emotional support aspect of your idea might be a good place to start. It’s also fantastic to see that you’ve already developed personas of your potential users. We’d love for you to place these personas into context by creating user journeys help us understand how this idea can play out in real life. Perhaps you might consider creating an Experience Map to describe some of the proposed activities you've outlined. A template of the Experience Map can be downloaded here:

Also, we think your idea could work well in tandem with this idea: WiseGranny - Given collaboration is the name of the game here at OpenIDEO, we hope you might reach out and collaborate to grow each other's concepts!

Photo of Joanna Spoth

Great to see you in the challenge Emily, and your idea starts out at such a strong place! We're wondering if it might be helpful to narrow the focus of the idea a bit. Perhaps do some end user research with who you envisioning using the app in order to discover which elements are most appealing and useful to them. At first glance, I think what sets this app apart is the emotional support element and incorporating playful or heartfelt advice to keep motivation up. Excited to see your idea evolve!

Photo of Emily Lozano

Thanks Joanna!
I agree with you - I think the emotional support is critical and different than what's out there now. I'll try to do some research and trim down the bells and whistles.

Photo of Joanna Spoth

Amazing! Really excited to see what you find. When it comes time for an update, sometimes its helpful to mark changes to your idea really clearly with "UPDATE" in the full description so community members can easily see the changes you've incorporated.

Photo of Kate Rushton

Incredibly well thought out with stunning graphics! I love the concept and the target audience. You could use the people who use the app to advertise to recruit other users, for example Rosa can improve her diet and lifestyle despite her challenges, so so can you!

Photo of Emily Lozano

Thanks Kate!

Photo of OpenIDEO

Congrats on this being today's Featured Contribution!

Photo of Art

Emily, this is an outstanding idea...well thought out and logical in progression. Keep at this, you are on to something great!


Photo of Emily Lozano

Thanks Art!