Young Singaporean entrepreneur receives $15k Shell LiveWIRE global award for innovation in business
Jul 19, 2016
Esther Wang, the inventor of an interactive hospital toy which is used to reduce anxiety in children undergoing hospital treatments for serious medical conditions, has received a top global prize for innovation of US $15,000 from Shell LiveWIRE.
Esther Wang of Joytingle has created 'Rabbit Ray', a friendly rabbit toy, which is used to calm and educate young patients undergoing medical treatments including: phlebotomy (blood draw); vaccinations; plug setting; and, intravenous drip.
The toy contains replica medical instruments, including a syringe, an intravenous catheter (with a safe plastic 'needle'), connecting tube and vacutainer. By playing with Rabbit Ray, children become more familiar and comfortable about medical procedures which reduces their anxieties. Rabbit Ray is interactive, so during their play session, children can draw blood (coloured water) from Rabbit Ray. They can also give him a vaccination (more coloured water) and set up an intravenous plug, together with the intravenous bag. Rabbit Ray comes with a book on phlebotomy and vaccinations that parents or healthcare professionals can read to the child, to boost their healthcare literacy.
The visual nature of the toy enables it to transcend language barriers, literacy levels and race. Since the business started in 2012, the product has been used with over 10,400 children in several hospitals throughout Singapore.
Commenting on the psychology behind her product, Esther Wang said, "Fear of the unknown drives kids' pain to unrealistic levels, but when they know what to expect in the hospital, they can cope better.”
Esther came up with her business idea in 2010 while she was sculpting balloons for children at a hospital as a volunteer, and noticed that they relaxed while they played.
Joytingle's innovative approach impressed the international panel of judges, including executives from Shell, National Geographic and Emirates Foundation, who noted that the innovation has real potential to enable growth in turnover, job creation and profitability moving forward. They were also particularly impressed by the way the product appeals to both children and healthcare professionals.
On presenting Esther with her Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators Global Winner award, Emmanuel Anyim, Global Lead of Shell LiveWIRE, said, "This innovation has huge potential for application across all geographies. Producing this rabbit can create employment as well as benefitting the health industry.”
Commenting on her success, Esther Wang said, "I am grateful to Shell LiveWIRE for supporting Joytingle's work. With Shell's support, Rabbit Ray can reach more young people in the world, and we can develop more healthcare curriculum according to children's needs.”
Since last year, the KK Women's and Children's Hospital, National University Hospital and Children's Cancer Foundation have used Rabbit Ray with more than 10,400 children. The toy is also being used by institutions in Australia, Taiwan and the Philippines.
Esther notes that there has been unexpected demand from the market for cancer-related services, as young patients have to face multiple sessions of chemotherapy and blood-drawing. Esther said, "We're not doing kids justice if we don't let them learn. When they understand that these procedures help to strengthen their bodies, it gives them the strength to go through the treatments.”
The presentation took place at a special event in the Shell Singapore Metropolis Tower in front of an invited audience of 40 guests, including representatives of the media, Shell LiveWIRE alumni, advisers, family and friends of Esther Wang. In addition to Shell LiveWIRE's Global Lead, the event was also attended by Rita Sully, Shell Senior Performance Advisor, and Traci Alford, Shell GM, External Relations, Asia Pacific.
You can visit the Top Ten Innovators site and see all 27 businesses pitch here.