Shifting an Industry: Sproutel
Transforming an industry doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen with just one product. Since launching Jerry the Bear in 2009, Aaron Horowitz and Hannah Chung have turned their passion for healthcare into Sproutel, a thriving company that taps the power of storytelling and play to reinvent pediatric healthcare.
In 2018, Sproutel announced its newest product in partnership with Aflac Inc. Just as Jerry helps comfort children with type 1 diabetes, My Special Aflac Duck(TM) is an interactive companion for children undergoing cancer treatment. A compatible, web-based app enables children to mirror their care routines, including medical regiments, feeding, and bathing through augmented reality. The smart companion emulates young patients’ moods; it endures the same, painful therapies; and it dances, quacks, and nuzzles to help comfort children when they need it most. My Special Aflac Duck(TM) received the Best of Innovation Award and Best Unexpected Product at the International Consumer Electronics Show 2018.
With Sproutel, Aaron and Hannah are not only changing individual lives — they are transforming the healthcare system, showing patients and advocacy groups, like Beyond Type 1, that they are not alone. They are working with major companies, like Aflac, teaching them how to use design-thinking to create new products and processes that have the power to impact lives, business, and entire industries. DFA is continuing to empower more Hannahs and Aarons of the world, and if past results are any indication, the future is sure to surprise us all!