Samantha Merlivat

Founder
GoLexic GmbH

Nominated in the Category: Education

MIT WELCHEM DIGITALPROJEKT WILLST DU DICH IN DIESER KATEGORIE BEWERBEN?

GoLexic is an app that helps children with reading difficulties and dyslexia improve their reading and writing skills. These difficulties affect 1 in 5 children and even though they are quite common, too many children still have to go through life without appropriate means to address them. This often has consequences for their academic achievements, career prospects and perhaps most importantly, their self-esteem and emotional well-being.

It’s difficult for parents to help their child overcome difficulties with reading and spelling without specialised training: 95% of parents who have a dyslexic child say they don’t have the tools or knowledge to help their child adequately at home.

That’s why our mission with GoLexic is to offer an innovative, scalable, and affordable way for every family to get immediate access to an effective program.

The GoLexic app is based on a proven offline dyslexia remediation method, that we enhanced with innovative features made possible by digital technology. The app uses speech technology to measure how well children read and how they progress. It supports a multi-sensory approach and personalised learning, which are key in teaching children with learning differences.

The technology and UX driving GoLexic enable children to progress faster towards their goals, by training independently or together with their parents if they choose so. This is a completely new way for families to overcome these difficulties together.

How does digitization shape your/her career?

Before starting GoLexic, I worked at a leading digital research firm in London, where I developed a geeky fascination for digital technology’s ability to transform how we interact with the world. My role was to research digital innovation and emerging technology, and advise media companies on their digital transformation journey. I helped them understand how new technologies were changing people’s behaviour, and how it would affect their own business models and the way they serve customers.

I started wondering how digitization could transform operations at my mother’s language institute, which helps children with dyslexia. I heard many parents share their journey about finding a solution for their child, fighting to get help, waiting for months to get an assessment. I thought ‘there has to be a better way’. It became clear that a digital solution could solve a lot of these problems. Little did I know I would end up leaving my day-job to build that solution – and a startup.

I founded GoLexic 18 months ago to devote all my attention to this project. Because for me, digitization enables access. Until now, intervention for dyslexia and reading difficulties was done either in-person or using paper-based tools. We created an intelligent app that listens to children and uses that input to build up their skills. This is the kind of change digital technology enables. It makes it possible to deliver specialised educational training into the home of families so parents can help their children every day.

What makes you/her a digital female leader?

I spent several years advising firms on how to use digital channels to better serve their customers. While that work was rewarding, I became increasingly driven by the idea of using technology and everything I had learned to help a cause that is very close to my heart: helping children with dyslexia.

My vision from the beginning was to empower parents and children through technology. But it was important to make sure we’re using digital tools because they help and create significant improvements - not just because they exist.

Now, almost everything we do at GoLexic is digital, from our product to the way we work. The one part that sticks out for me, is how easy it has become to communicate with our community. Without thinking digital first, I would not have been able to engage with hundreds of parents, to find volunteers to test our app and support us in its development. I love using the power of digital to bring people together.

It was also incredibly important to me that we build an app that is mindful of diversity and avoids stereotypes. You can see that effort everywhere, from our design choices to the voices we use in the app. We strive to lift up our young users and help every one of them realise how much potential they have.

What does leadership mean to you/her?

For me, leading a team, I always want to balance two goals: create a product and vision that have an impact and inspire others, and help my team-members find fulfilment through work, by empowering them to explore their skills and ambitions.