ADDI HOU
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TAAK - Totally Awesome Activity Kit

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TAAK

Life is more than screens and apps. Build a well-balanced analog life for your kids.

 

Advisors: Gary Chou (Orbital), Christina Xu

Roles: research, interviews, synthesis, prototype ideation/concept, video, entrepreneur

Categories: entrepreneurial design, Kickstarter, research/strategy, product design, video, prototyping

Kickstarter: http://kck.st/2I1OLSb


 
 

PROBLEM

The generation knows as iGen, born between 1995 and 2012, are growing up with smartphones, have an Instagram account before they start high school, and do not remember a time before the internet.  Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not hyperbolic to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their smart devices.

CHALLENGE

How might we create a practical and easy solution to provide balance and fulfillment to young kids' (ages 3-10) lives so that they are not dependent on smart devices to pass time? How might we also help parents who, with their busy schedules may not even realize the extent to which tech addiction can affect their kids?

 

 

SOLUTION

TAAK stands for 'Totally Awesome Activity Kit'. It's a fun, interactive and collaborative way for kids and parents to plan out their day with AWESOME ANALOG ACTIVITIES! The key is to provide balance to kids' habits and activities so that their minds can develop properly.

AUDIENCE

Kids age 3-12 and parents of these children who may not realize how much technology has taken over their day-to-day existence.

 

 
 

ORIGINS

A few years ago, when I was busy at home working and needed to keep the kids occupied, I set up a dry erase board and asked them to write activities they could do so that they could feel like they accomplished something more than watch TV or look at a phone for hours on end.  This was TAAK 1.0.  To my delight, they did each activity and enthusiastically moved on to the next.  We have been doing this for years.  Balance has been key in their mental and physical well-being.

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COMMUNITY OFFERING

This Kickstarter campaign is infamously known in our graduate program as the $1000 Kickstarter project.  We were to think of a community and ideate an offering for them that could be beneficial.  I decided to focus on kids and tech addiction, which is a very real problem.  My research confirmed this assumption.  I wanted to extract the info I needed via a survey for the parents in my community that was more playful than the typical methods.  I decided to use a 'Mad-Lib' format that was meant to be serious.  All in all, I received over 30 responses which really gave me tremendous insight on my direction.

 

IDEATION

I didn't immediately know what to do for this project.  I originally thought of ideas like writing a children's book, a cautionary take, that young kids could read and realize that the real world was more fun and exciting than the digital one. But I soon realized that it was a tall task to suddenly become a children's book author.  Also, my findings showed me that kids are using tech at young ages like 3-5, when they can't really understand deep meanings in books.  

I then decided to write a simple booklet for parents based on all of my survey answers, but subsequent interviews showed me that this would not effectively change anything for the better.  I decided to go back to the drawing board. 

 

ANALOG ACTIVITIES

I had the benefit of a very real proven four year process of testing out analog activities with my own kids to know that most of them are very effective. Yes, even digital activities are part of this as it is all about BALANCE!

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IDEATION

Instead of the rudimentary (but effective) dry erase board, I wanted to refine the idea so that it could be an easy to use product for any family.  I realized that the activities themselves had to be front and center in order for the product to be effective.  Besides the ones we have used for years, I wanted to come up with many more as well as crowd-source ideas.  I did this via my Kickstarter community as well reaching out to parents directly.  Slowly TAAK started taking shape.  

USER TESTING

Conducting numerous user testing sessions with both kids and parents helped me hone my idea and make last minute tweaks prior to launch date

 
 

 
 
 

BLOGGING + WRITING

Writing about the process throughout each turning point was both helpful and therapeutic. You can see some of my writings here: https://medium.com/@ahou1

 
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