Melvin’s Origin Story


About six years ago I was diagnosed with cancer, specifically chronic lymphocytic leukemia. My reaction wasn’t necessarily what you’d expect. I didn’t feel the dread of “I have cancer”. I actually wasn’t really alarmed at all. It seemed I shifted into project mode. Cancer was something I would be in treatment for and just had to do my part and strap in for for the ride. One thing that was important to me though is I make something of this experience. I wanted to take my altered state and jump start my synapses.

In the month between the my first and second sets of chemo treatments that’s exactly what happened. I fleshed out a project that I had on the back burner for five years. Being a former headhunter, I have tendency to look at people as the core to a solution. This project was no different. The Community Healthcare Concierge (CHcC) is a position, or actually a process, that take the role of a healthcare navigator to a new level by connecting it to the community as a well-being resource maximizer. Think of the CHcC as a point person for a larger community well-being initiative. Using the technical backbone I developed for the Community 3.0 small business marketing and loyalty platform, the bleedingEDGE; the initiative integrates engagement notifications or prompts emailed or texted to a person to convince them to do something that’s good for them. But these solicitations for engagement would come from businesses and organizations in the community the person/patient was already frequenting. These engagements could be activities specific to building their body, their mind or even their role in the community. They would form the basis of a comprehensive attack to raise the level of positive well-being. This concept of the Community Healthcare Concierge would would be impetus for the development of Melvin. That said, there are important differences though.

Melvin is our conduit to developing agency and self-efficacy. Melvin achieves this through creating opportunities for engagement in the community as well as internally. Engagement creates agency and self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is defined as the extent or strength one believes in their own ability to complete tasks and reach goals. The more a person believes their actions will help their situation, the more likely they are to try. The key is to “get the ball rolling” by nudging activity and engagement – personally, socially and civically. The more a person does, the more they’re likely to do. And the more they do, the more they feel what they’re doing is helping … creating a cascade of positive results and well-being.

As a collective, we remain in our current relationship with abusive power structures because we are collectively kept confused, off-balance, insecure and unsure of ourselves, as a critical element of our collective abuse is mass-scale psychological manipulation. (FKA Twigs on abusive relationships)

Melvin is the antithesis of this institutional abuse that is the overlord of our lives. At present, too many of us let others determine our fate in life. We are obsessed with politicians, experts, norms and institutional expectations. Sovereign self-direction lies buried deep beyond comprehension for so many of us. In the basic form, institutions represent an aggregation of power. The power to think and improve ourselves and our environment runs contrary to deferring to institutions — regardless the context or institution we’re relying on.

It was naive of me back then to think our avenue to health and well-being would go through the healthcare provider, the epitome of an institution. Healthcare “fixes” us after-the-fact. They make little if any effort to make sure we don’t get to the point of needing to be fixed in the first place.

Melvin focuses not just on “fixing things” but rather helping us realize our lives should be built on self-efficacy and utilizing the resources around us, especially in our communities. It gives us optimism that there is hope looking at our future differently. Melvin is so much more than a bot though. Maybe most of all, Melvin not only helps us shore up our weaknesses, it helps build on our strengths to enhance our ability to make an impact in our world.

Working alone as solo act isn’t going to get it done though, no matter how you and your Melvin work. This is the premise of Melvin’s Neighborhood. The Neighborhood is a collection of Residents, businesses and organizations in your community who want to make it better by doing the work themselves, not relying on government or other antiquated institutions. Our source of strength lies in ourselves and in those around us who we help realize their potential. Be part of this collection and contribute to its strength.

Take a look what being a resident of Melvin’s Neighborhood really means and how easy it is join and contribute. Just click here.


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