Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

Say iPhone Apps, and countless ones from FaceBook, Kindle, Notability to absolutely useless ones like iBeer and Tickle Me! surface almost immediately. But has the idea of saving lives in the form of an iPhone App ever come to mind? No, I am not talking about those cliche Be-Your-Own-Doctor apps that claim to teach you how to diagnose ailments from the common cold to influenza but everything turns to be cancer in the end; I am talking about life and death, and actually saving real people’s lives, yes, even your collegiate brother-in-law who claimed to be broke and borrowed $1000 from you but could be seen partying all night.

So without further ado, I hereby introduce to you…(drumrolls)… PULSEPOINT! What it essentially does is that it informs you when someone is suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in your close vicinity; if you don’t know what cardiac arrest is, google it, or think somewhere along the line of a heart attack. So instead of having the poor soul waiting for an ambulance to come over and administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) 10 min after someone called in an emergency, he or she could receive timely assistance from a good Samaritan like yourself. If you are not CPR-certified, be glad when I say that learning CPR on your own isn’t really that difficult, you should be able to find tons of Youtube videos on it (You might debate with me why the person who called 911 couldn’t help the person, and my counter-argument would be that the caller may not be officially CPR-trained, and you could probably do a better job, certified or not). Crowdsourcing used to be all about companies trying to get new ideas to solve problems like growth stagnation and inefficient algorithms, now look at what this baby can do.

So how can we relate this to Service Thinking as the title of this post implies? Well, this can be explained through the six chevrons of Service Thinking:

(1) CO-CREATION OF VALUE: Instead of the services of 911 being stretched too thinly to cater to both life-threatening situations and childish prank calls, members of the society can now partake in the life-saving crusade against SCA because they never know when they will need the help of others around them. The younger generation can help establish a life-saving network early in their lives and well before they become vulnerable to SCA when they reach old-age decades down the road.

(2) SERVICE SYSTEMS: In the case of PulsePoint, the main service system is the network of people in society who are willing to give a helping hand when needed. This system served itself and is further supported by Emergency 911 as well as healthcare facilities like hospitals and rehabilitation centers and healthcare practitioners like doctors and nurses.

(3) MODULAR BUSINESS ARCHITECTURE: PulsePoint can be seen by Emergency 911 as a discrete yet integrated module and as a way to “outsource” its services to the general public. And when we talk about specialization here, I don’t mean being an expert in CPR. I would affectionately call this specialization in proximity: the nearer a person (be it CPR-certified or self-trained) is to a SCA victim, the higher the chances the SCA victim will live to sing the praises of PulsePoint.

(4) GLO-MO-SO SCALABLE PLATFORMS: If you haven’t already known, glo-mo-so stands for global-mobile-social, and this is pretty easy to understand in the context of iPhone apps.

(5) RUN-TRANSFORM-INNOVATE: If I had been a paramedic, I would have been deeply frustrated by the fact that sometimes, if not most of the time, I rushed down in my ambulance only to realize that the victim has passed away 30 seconds ago. To bring out Service Thinking’s fullest potential, more resources should be re-allocated from RUN (i.e. running daily operations) to TRANSFORM (i.e. improving the current system to become more efficient) and INNOVATE (i.e. replacing the current system with a better one often characterized by discontinuity). By having PulsePoint on its side, Emergency 911 does not have to allocate that much resources to RUN, when a much more astronomical effect can be achieved by investing the same amount in TRANSFORM and some may even say, INNOVATE. More victims can be saved as a result with little waste in resources.

(6) TWO-SIDED METRICS: For starters, Emergency 911 can assess the synergies achieved through PulsePoint by measuring the number of lives saved normalized by the amount of resources spent. Statistical comparison between states and cities with and without the proliferation of PulsePoint can be carried out too. For the users of PulsePoint and society as a whole, we should be seeing a reduction in death rates caused by SCA.

Now that you understand how Service Thinking has been applied here (I hope!), don’t forget to check out this heartwarming video about PulsePoint; apparently, CPR classes were booked out 6 months in advance after this video was showcased at an event.

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Oh and of course, Android users have access to this App as well.

Finally, everyone can be a hero.


IBM Intern; Hult International Business School

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