Design My Day's CEO on machine learning, the future of healthcare and harnessing the power of 'the funk'


Jacob Madden is the Founder of Design My Day, and the latest to appear in our Featured Innovators blog series. His app fell under CALIBRATED HEALTH, a trend that was included in our FUTURE OF BETTERMENT Global Trend Briefing. Here he discusses the challenges, uncertainties and rewards of using data to provide a positive effect on our health. 

Jacob Madden, founder of Design My Day

What was the initial inspiration behind Design My Day?

The initial inspiration for Design My Day came just before Startup Weekend Bali 2015. As I was pondering ideas to pitch, I started to question what things I did every day (habits) and what was missing.

I am no stranger to what our team has lovingly come to call a “funk,” that part of the human condition where something unexpected happens to throw us off balance where we just cannot seem to understand why we’re not feeling ourselves. I realized that the ‘something’ missing was a way to get ideas from others on how to escape my own stuck thinking and take small actions towards breaking out of unnecessarily prolonged dark moods.

I pitched the idea and it turned out that many other people had the same feelings. Our small group came together to explore the idea further and ended up winning the Startup Weekend.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced while both developing the idea and establishing yourselves within the market?

The biggest challenge has been to maintain momentum. We are a small group spread throughout the globe, and are self-funded. As we all have other responsibilities and as things pop up in life, it gets tough to keep moving forward. Like all startups, we also run into lulls where we are unsure if the idea really has the traction we believe in and it takes a lot of fortitude to keep pressing forward and believing.

The Design My Day team, who featured as part of our CALIBRATED HEALTH consumer trend

What is your top tip to other professionals who seek to better understand, and stay ahead of, consumers’ changing expectations?

I highly recommend world travel for clarifying what is really important to consumers both at home and across the world.

You’re featured in our FUTURE OF BETTERMENT briefing covering our CALIBRATED HEALTH trend - looking at how expectations created online are converging with those created by new health tech to drive demand for health and wellness products, services and experiences that are personalized around the individual. Where do you see this strand of consumer behavior and expectation heading?

We see an interesting situation where a tremendous amount of data and feedback about our health and well-being is becoming readily trackable and available at low cost. I see the machine learning capabilities really starting to shine and becoming game changers in the wellness area for both diagnosing and treating people.

Hopefully, we will start to transition from after the fact treatment towards more robust prevention recommendations. At the same time, we will see a move away from macro-level treatments towards more customized treatment plans based entirely on our own health backgrounds.

What was your favorite recent innovation and why?

My favorite recent innovation is the Heal app where users can request affordable doctor house calls. With the broken healthcare system in the United States, an app that better connects healthcare professionals with patients at reasonable prices is super exciting. Many times we as patients just need simple questions answered that help to clear up uncertainty and fear in our lives. I think this app and those like it can make a huge difference in the lives of people.



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