I love hearing about entrepreneurs and how people have taken a simple concept or a “gap” in their market to achieve fabulous things. Please leave me a comment if you have a link to a start up or fabulous individual making positive waves in their community through their clever thinking and proactive attitude! Happy reading!
Today I am focusing on Norwegian Karen Dolva and her company, “No Isolation“. This one is exciting to me for a very simple reason: Karen is doing what I am doing – trying to connect people! Karen attacked this topic with business savvy, elegance and simple authenticity. Even more exciting, No Isolation was directly influenced by the same story that I was in forming this blog.
Karen founded No Isolation in 2015.
“Our mission is to reduce involuntary loneliness and social isolation by developing communication tools that help those affected.” (source)
The concept of “involuntary loneliness” gets me. Not only because of my own experiences in life, but also so many others. We all feel lonely some of the time, even though we are going to and from work, interacting with friends, colleagues, family and strangers. Feeling disconnected is not abnormal, but it is also not a complete and total emotion that you are “stuck” with and have to live with forever.
Adults feel hopeless, isolated and overwhelmed by these emotions, so how on earth do children manage? On top of that, burden that child with a long term illness. Or an elderly person who makes it “difficult” to engage with because they can’t seem to make the iPad work. Suddenly we become overwhelmed and unintentionally walk away or shift our attention elsewhere. We are uncomfortable. It’s “too big”. We shut down.
Not Karen. Karen’s company has developed a robot that can engage with the world on your behalf, when you cannot. You can see a lovely video about it here. We sometimes get worried about the impact that technology, and particularly robots, is having on the world and will continue to have as it evolves and develops. No Isolation is specifically targeting a small population of the community because Karen is doing in depth research, in depth interaction with her target group, in depth testing and in depth development and management of her product. Listen to this TedxVienna speech to hear how she found her mission, narrowed in on her target audience and developed her product.
No Isolation also aids the elderly, through the product Komp. Karen is giving autonomy to groups who are physically or emotionally isolated, in a time when our online footprint is expanding constantly and literally knows no boundaries. I love the simplicity, the inclusiveness, the warmth that she has inserted into this concept. I love that Karen is shifting the focus of new technology creation in a virtual world to those who still wish to contribute to society but are somehow limited.
Traditionally, people study at university to enter into an industry that has operated for a primary social purpose, or pushes people in a series of seemingly predetermined directions for the “best chance of success”. There are always outliers, and there are always those who are willing to take rests (not to mention financially able!).
But just because you are studying IT, or marketing, engineering, anything! Does not mean that you have to conform to those notions of what your career will look like and how it will play out. You are, of course, so very welcome to follow that path should you choose to, and indeed we need you to if you are excited to do so!
However, if you are searching for “more”, for “something bigger”, for “something different”, and you see a “gap in the market”, then fill that gap. There are thousands upon thousands of resources that you can tap into so you can get started thinking about who you need to connect with, where you need to guide your path, when and how to make “pivots” and “shifts”, “leaps” and “risks”… It’s all out there, piles of it for free and mountains at a low impost.
Karen inspires me. She links community and fights loneliness in a way that is simple and effective, has capacity to grow and drills into the ability for IT to impact social change No Isolation challenges the current and projected place IT holds in our society and I flipping love it.
Thank you to the following sites: