Meet the innovator: Shaun AzamOctober 10, 2019
Meet the Innovator
Pictured above: Shaun Azam, CEFO at Sweatcoin.
Tell us about your innovation in a sentence
Through our digital app Sweatcoin, we incentivise people to be more active by converting steps into reward points that have real world value.
What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?
Realising that modern technology makes us lazy, and as humans we need instant rewards for effort (which is why most of us struggle to go to the gym for sustained periods). Hence, our app that converts steps into points with real value.
What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?
- Listen to your users! You are building your product for them, so listen and take on board what they want.
- Don’t test ideas, test a hypothesis – ideas are real life applications and sit above a core hypothesis. When you test a hypothesis, you also test a whole host of ideas, saving vast amounts of time.
- I coined an acronym for this – ABA – Always Be Adding. Everything you do should be always be adding value to the business – we’re in a digital age, so use as many tools and apps as you can to create efficiency + cost savings, so you can focus on things that will ADD value to the business. Also, delegate whenever possible.
What’s been your toughest obstacle?
Overcoming the complexity of the healthcare system – we are fortunate in that our product has the ability to improves the lives of everyone in the world. Along with this comes difficulties around ensuring our product accurately caters for these vastly different demographics.
What’s been your innovator journey highlight?
Academics at the University of Warwick investigated the impact of incentives on physical activity – they used Sweatcoin to do this. Their academic study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and found that Sweatcoin helped users walk +20% more each day, even after six months.
That was the moment that we realised that we ARE making the world more active, and that all the struggles were worth it.
Best part of your job now?
Genuinely improving the quality of lives of millions of people, every day. We receive countless messages from our users, informing us that Sweatcoin has motivated them to walk more, and how it has contributed to their improved physical + mental health.
Receiving these messages is truly incomparable.
If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?
I would include a line item in NHS budgets, that is designated to be spent with SME’s – this would foster the uptake of new digital solutions that have the potential to improve healthcare and patient journeys across the NHS.
A typical day for you would include..
Trying to grow and sell our product – we operate on two week ‘sprints’ – this means we aim to release new features of our product every fortnight. As you can imagine, this means countless user focus groups, product tests, and iterations.
The product is one aspect – selling it is the other! I’m a big believer in ‘people buy from people’ – so most of my remaining day is around meetings, understanding open opportunities, and communicating the value prop of Sweatcoin.