"Why Iteration is not Innovation"

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Symbio came to ENO8 with nothing more than a prototype concept. The company hadn’t yet raised venture capital and didn’t yet have a proof of concept. But, they had an idea: can we build an app to help folks that struggle with addiction?

Through our collaborative Innovation Lab, we worked together to hone their aims and analyze the opportunity in the market. From there, Symbio settled on a more generalized approach: how can we use artificial intelligence to help manage stress and anxiety?

Essentially, can we build a FitBit for your mental health? So we got to work.

Industry: Health & Wellness
Services: Innovation lab, proof of concept, design, UI/UX design, mobile app development and AI integration
Platform: iOS


While the Symbio prototype launched years ago, Covid has made clear how enterprising and necessary a solution like this is. As is true with so many things in 2020, Covid has reshaped entire industries, remade workflows, reconfigured teams and organizations, and accelerated transformation by years (or decades in some cases).

This has certainly been the case with mental healthcare.

Telehealth has seen an explosion in both mindshare and usage; so too have digital mental health apps like Calm and Insight Timer. While these types of apps help with meditation and calming strategies, they lack real-time analysis and diagnostic capabilities. In contrast, Symbio wanted to harness the power of artificial intelligence to analyze what you said and how you said it in order to give you a running score of your relative stress throughout the day.


In order to provide real-time sentiment analysis and stress tracking, we needed access to conversations across mediums – emails, texts, phone calls etc. At first, ENO8 created a prototype that leveraged Twilio so the user could make and receive phone calls on an iOS app. Then, we leveraged IBM Watson’s API to translate calls from audio into text, then fed it through a sentiment analyzer to help identify conversational tone. With that, we could build a realtime indicator of experienced stress.

While the app was incredibly accurate, and worked exactly as designed, it didn’t mimic the natural process that a user goes through when they’re making and receiving phone calls. So we iterated, and focused on email for a more ‘leaned-back’ experience.

We built an email prototype through a Gmail connector. The sentiment analyzer returned a stress score based on all the emails sent through Gmail, but that’s only one sliver of a person’s daily communication. So, while useful as part of a stress score, it was by no means comprehensive.


Realizing email can’t capture an entirety of a person’s conversations in a day, ENO8 pivoted toward a more creative, and imminently elegant, solution — a custom keyboard.

Most of our communication today revolves around texting, WhatsApp, Instagram or Twitter DMs, Slack, etc. So, instead of building plugins or extensions for every app you use on your phone (if those companies would even allow it), ENO8 had the idea of building out a custom keyboard that could track and analyze your sentiment regardless of where you chose to communicate. Everything you sent out from your phone would be analyzed for sentiment such that Symbio could deliver a tailored and robust mental health score throughout your day.


Without a cohesive business and product vision, Symbio wouldn’t be well situated for a capital raise. Without a compelling proof of concept and impressive prototype? They’re even more hard pressed to take the next step as a business. But, through a collaborative and iterative innovation lab and prototype process, ENO8 was able to guide Symbio toward the most impactful version of their vision, while empowering them to turn that vision into a reality. Without ENO8, Symbio simply does not exist in its current form — a business perfectly situated to make big moves in the near future.

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