The It Kit / Prototype for Innovation Next
Submitted By Maggie Winters Gaudaen
The It Kit prototype was developed by a team at ISL at as part of the Innovation Next initiative with The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and IDEO.
The challenge question we started with was: How might we educate and protect teen girls during this pivotal time in their lives to help prevent unwanted pregnancies?
The prototype we ended up with was a kit, similar to a Birchbox, that helps female freshmen to be prepared for any sexual situations they would want to engage in — containing a male condom and a tutorial for converting it into a dental dam for oral play, a comic about consent that relates to a young audience and helps a serious topic hold their interest, a piece of custom localized art that has local clinic information on the rear, and a deck of bicycle cards with 52 questions and answers on each side, for collegiate entertainment as well as learning.
Arguably the most exciting feature of the It Kit is a prototype for a custom natural language processing algorithm using the Bedsider API to help users find safe clinics near them, 24/7.
Our objective was to empower newly autonomous young women by arming them with the items they’d need to lead happy, healthy, sex positive lives. We interviewed over 20 people before building the kit and throughout the process, from teens to moms and the heads of college sexual health departments, and what we found was that older teens don’t want to be judged or lectured — they want to be given the right tools and information, on their level, to help guide them through decisions they’re already determined to make.
We pitched this prototype as being given to all college freshmen at a price point of around $7 per kit, which our interviewees found very affordable. We’re looking forward to beginning phase two of this project this summer.
We encountered many challenges when designing this prototype. First, we had to do research, which meant that we’d have to talk with teens about their sex lives — a tricky task. We found that being straightforward and emphasizing confidentiality worked well for us in this area. We also built a prototype of the artificial intelligence system, IVY, which would find clinics for users based on their location and service needs — for the prototype, it was a pretty straightforward data pull from the Bedsider API, however we had to train it to answer different types of questions. Users could ask where they could access LGBTQ+ services in a certain zip code, and the AI would have to search by category and location to find this information.
There were also logistical challenges — while the student health services representatives we spoke with were excited about our prototype and its cost, they were still hesitant that they’d be able to get funding to purchase it for every student. We hope to maintain our relationships with them to test the kit at different price points once we have our next prototype completed.
Prototype for Innovation Next
(Self) Maggie Winters
Branding Designer: Maggie Famiglietti
Visual Designer: Laura Pursel