Keep the Trust: challenging assumptions

The specification for KTT came from Innovation Labs. The summary states:

Keep the Trust is an online resource for non-mental health professionals who are working with young people with mental health problems.It provides information on:
● how to deal with mental health related issues in a variety of youth settings;
● how to work proactively with young people to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
As a result of using it professionals will have greater skill, knowledge and confidence in supporting young people with emerging or existing mental health issues, who will in turn have a better support experience and need less specialist interventions.

OK. The assumptions underlying the above summary can quite quickly be validated with evidence that happens to concur with (my) professional experience. I have posted some of that evidence, adapted from the spec, if you want to know more.

But where lean thinking comes in is here: formal evidence tends to give us a validation of need – that is need determined by policy, government aspiration, comparisons and so on. Lean approaches are more interested in what people want and the evidence for that want is in their observed or reported behaviours.

The more problematic assumptions came in our proposal, which in turn determined the project plan:

Keep the Trust will provide non-mental health professionals with a comprehensive signposting tool to direct them to existing online resources pertaining to young people’s mental health. When developing Keep the Trust, we intend to begin by capitalising on the material currently available free of charge, including resources developed by Cernis, Mental Health Foundation, Centre for Excellence in InterDisciplinary Mental Health, National Deaf Children’s Society and Dipex.

The huge assumptions here were:

  • Professionals want these existing online resources


  • Currently they can’t find them on their own.

In fact we have absolutely no evidence that people want any of the existing resources. If as we suspect they don’t particularly want them, there will be no take-up and no sustainability.

We decided to ask first.

But asking the right questions of the right people can take a bit of time, so we also delved into our experiences of working with non mental health professionals, including young people themselves. We had bits and pieces of workshop materials, feedback from consultations, results of training needs analyses and our own experience. We tried really hard to be empathic and sit in the shoes of the people we will be targeting.

What’s happening now is we are contacting as many people as we can through social networks, to find out what they want and invite them to join in. When we have spread the net as wide as we can we will be focussing in on some face to face groups. To support the process we have produced a skeleton framework populated with draft content – but this is designed to flex and change as we listen to our customers and understand them better.

Everyone thought that BlackBerry is the de-facto gold-standard for smartphones until the iPhone came around and consumer behavior shifted.

Bernhard Schindlholzer in Customer Experience

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