There are 2.8 million informal caregivers in Australia providing over $1bn of unpaid care every week. Informal caregiving is the unpaid backbone of the health and community services industry, yet there is surprisingly little support available for people who selflessly provide so much love, time and attention to others.
With an ageing population it is crucial that we decrease the complexity, uncertainty and administrative burden that accompanies the provision of informal care in Australia.
The Customer Experience and Innovation team at UnitingCare QLD decided to focus their innovation efforts on a group of unpaid carers they called ‘Kates’. Kates are sandwich carers, providing care for both school-aged children and for an ageing parent. This situation can be tumultuous, painful, and emotional, putting a lot of strain on Kate and her relationships. The team built the Lightkeeper app for Kates. It’s their hope that it will act as a companion and a guide to Kate through her caregiving journey.
UnitingCare QLD used a combination of agile, lean and human-centred design to develop the Lightkeeper app. This process included:
Culturally, Ligthkeeper represents a completely different way of working for UnitingCare QLD, using technology to help shift the organisation towards a truly customer-first innovation culture. The team are now testing Version 0.1 at www.mylightkeeper.org and will use feedback from this process to refine the product.
There has been an overwhelming response from the 30 carers involved in the process to date. Some of their comments have been: “I’ve only just begun this journey. It was nice to know others have gone before me and that there are places we can turn for help.” “I had a look through your Lightkeeper website and, coming from someone this applies to, I think you have done an excellent job! It’s overwhelming to know where or when to start this process but you have made everything crystal clear with links to everything! Knowing how to bring up conversations is also excellent and so helpful. Well done! And thank you!”
For others embarking on an innovation journey, UnitingCareQLD would say: – “Too often when building products we fail to deeply understand what problem we are trying to solve before jumping into designing a solution. Spend time early having broad conversations with customers that focus on their mental models and ways of thinking about the world.”