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Snehal Khatavkar
Design researcher. Design strategist

Pillar path 

DEVELOPED a strategic roadmap for Happy Pillar, WHICH provides AI-based
parent-child interaction therapy
, TO significantly enhance their scalability and reach in delivering mental healthcare services for children BY rigorously validating and refining their business model and exploring innovative strategies for broad deployment

CLIENT: Happypillar                                DURATION: 7 WEEKS


1 in 5 kids has a mental or behavioral health disorder however only 20% of those children have access to care

Families with children aged 2-7 face increased behavioral and mental health challenges due to technological changes and the aftermath of COVID-19. Traditional methods like psychoeducation and 1:1 therapy lack personalization, accountability, and affordability, often excluding many demographics.

You have all this fear and guilt. Should we have done all the COVID [precautions]? Should we have been so cautious, or should we have jumped right in...I felt really guilty. I was desperate to find what was available. You know what I mean? There's like a desperation to it. Evidenced-based therapies tailored for specialized populations are lacking - Happy pillar user 
“The COVID ramifications were just really hard for [our child] and for us” -  Happy pillar user

Introducing Happy Pillar 

Happy Pillar, a tech startup, bridges this gap by offering an AI-powered
parent-child interaction therapy that guides parents to practice 5-minute intentional skills for happier and emotionally intelligent kids 


Happy Pillar struggles to establish itself in the market and reach its intended audience to become a leading provider of mental healthcare for
children and families of all demographics. 

Identify ways to sustain their customer base 
Sustain themselves financially while delivering affordable mental healthcare for families 
Explore ways to expand operations at scale 



How can Happy Pillar become a leading provider of accessible, personalized, and effective mental healthcare for children and families of ALL demographics?  

Our team interviewed the founder to understand their overall vision and
Chief technology officer to understand current technologies they exploring 
Understanding Happy Pillars current operation 
Skill learning and feedback 

Happy Pillar provides access to practice PCIT skills through an app, that listens to the conversation between the parent and the child and gives constructive feedback to improve their therapy sessions.

Users that trust mental therapy 

Happypillars current users are parents of children aged 2-7, often with a personal or professional connection to therapy or mental health practices

Freemium model 

Happypillar runs a freemium (B2C) business model with a single free and a single paid tier. The free tier covers the basic functionality needed for PCIT and the paid tier adds further learning, analysis, and customization.

Solution: Purpose statement 

Based on our insights into Happy Pillar, we co-created their purpose statement with Happy Pillars team 

Families across income levels, cultures, and locales 

Equal access through private and public channels and insurance models

On-demand, evidenced-based and culturally relevant mental health therapy for the whole family

Personalized guidance and instruction powered by AI tech

Trusted partner in the digital mental health care delivery ecosystem

Our purpose is to empower parents and caregivers with the evidenced-based therapy techniques and 
personalized coaching necessary to confidently support happy and healthy families.

Happy pillar will realize their purpose and vision over a period of 5 years by 

Proposed strategy for Happy Pillar 

Build trust to develop a community of users that trusts and recommends Happy Pillar as a useful, effective, and
personalized product 

Phase 1

Build connection with critical stakeholders to form a ecosystem that supports families in their pursuit of helping children overcome mental health and behavioral  health issues  

Phase 2

Delivering the product through public and social channels to extend access to lower income groups 

Phase 3

Over the period of 5 years 

Scaling Access Through Managed Care Organizations and Corporations with Pay-Per-Treatment Services

Expanded offerings 

The team crafted a 5 year implementation plan for happy pillar 

Click to see the full report including research and recommendations to Happy Pillar  


Happy Pillar 


October - December 2023


Desk research, Experiment testing, 

My Role

Design Researcher
Design Strategist 


Mary Morgan 
William Rutter 



Tiago Baccarelli Justino
Michael Botos  

Phase 2: Expand offerings to build connections within the family and beyong the home

Integrating Beyond the Home for Holistic Child Development

Happy Pillar is currently generating revenue through a freemium model. But this model has proportional outcomes. 

Through research and experiments into potential partnerships we crafted a value proposition for Educational institutions and healthcare providers that will enable Happy Pillar to provide personalized insights into a Child's behavioral progress while simultaneously developing a holistic profile for children. 

Phase 1: Immediate business model changes to build trusted customer base 

Interviews with both regular and lapsed users revealed a key issue:
many don't see the value in using the app consistently, leading to more drop-offs and poorer outcomes for children. The extensive features on the free tier also deter users from upgrading to paid plans.

Building trust in the offering by introducing onboarding to encourage consistent engagement with the app along with a refined business model to support parents in their daily practice. 

Cultivating Consistency for Optimal Results
Enhance onboarding procedures to underscore the importance of daily, focused 5-minute sessions dedicated to practicing Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) skills.

Empowering Personal Progress and Engagement
ntroduce a feature that allows parents to take assessments that help them set personal goals, monitor progress and work towards achieving their goals.

Ensuring Fair Compensation for Value Delivered
Introduce a 14 day free trial that allows parents to see the effectiveness of consistent 5 min practice sessions.

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