How might we help people start and sustain intermittent fasting to improve their health?
The MVP app was designed to help people who were unfamiliar with IF get started and sustain a new eating and fasting routine to improve their metabolism, discipline and lose weight. The longer term goal was to transition to a healthy plant-rich diet. My co-founder and I saw a need in the market for a service that would help people improve their diets, health and environmental impact. We used the Lean Value Canvas to map out the problem and possible solutions. This idea came together after we both discovered IF and saw the interesting benefits it brought alongside weight loss and increased energy.
The first step to understanding how best to digitally support people in developing IF entailed coaching people one on one through their first 3 months, the most difficult period in building a new habit. I ended up convincing and coaching 28 people, with 23 people completing the first month and 19 finishing all 3 months. This gave me great insight into the barriers and goals they face in making the behaviour change.
This one on one research provided a practical framework for applying the most recent promising IF clinical research. I worked with Dr. Martin Juneau, a cardiologist and Director of Prevention at the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) to create a programme that could be applied to a digital intervention. Dr. Juneau came on board as a health advisor and gave us the support of the Montreal Heart Institute to advocate the evidence based approach of our programme.
To understand the pain points and opportunities for intervention and support, I used a customer journey map from data collected through the months of one on one coaching and interviews.
Following competitor analysis we decided a key differentiator for us would be to build in a carbon footprint score. We believed that by helping people IF then shift to a plant-rich diet, we could reduce their carbon footprint, gamifying the behaviour change journey and engage them for a longer customer life-span.
To do this, we did research into climate change, preventable diseases such as obesity and diabetes, behaviour psychology, and systems innovations to help design nudges that would help build and sustain behaviour change. We developed a personal sustainability score using the data model from World Resource Institute GlobAgri Model.
When my co-founder, Peter Bachmann and I kicked off this project together we agreed that I would quit my job and work full-time and Pete would continue working in the sustainable finance and investment field that would benefit us at a later date when raising funds but work 3 days a week on Suste. Unfortunately, his family and work commitments changed leaving him only available to support the project financially. This left me to work on the project on my own. I manage to overcome this by recruiting people from my network with expertise in branding, marketing, product development, business development, health and sustainability to contribute to our cause.
This meant I had to learn the basics of these areas so I could drive the project forwards. I created our logo, branding principals, built up a social media following, designed and built our website. Build data models of carbon footprints and designed healthy intermittent fasting programs. I learnt a lot about what it takes to get an idea to market and each day forced me to learn new skills and apply them quickly to get our idea into the market. This taught me to see product from many different perspective, which I believe makes me a better designer.