Team LJ's story
When Lenecia Walters overheard her mother and brother quarreling about brushing his teeth, an idea popped into her head. “I thought, why isn’t there a toothbrush that can send you updates about your teeth and let you know when they need cleaning?” That was the seed for the project that would take her and her team members, Jennifer Nguyen and Sufia Arshad, to the final round of Intuit’s first Social Innovation Challenge, in which they were prompted to think of ways to support underrepresented minority entrepreneurs and business owners. The challenge piqued their interest in entrepreneurship, and they ultimately took home the second place prize.
Using everything they learned during the Design for Delight introductory course — including customer empathy, rapid experimentation and creative thinking — they got to work. Together, they researched the broader issue of inaccessible dental care. Jennifer interviewed a few family members who spoke about how they didn’t prioritize dental care until they moved to Canada. They also interviewed Dr. Cyrus, a Black dentist; though he considered himself lucky in his professional career due to his connections, he provided insight on the obstacles Black dentists and professionals often face.
After bouncing some ideas off each other, they decided to take the plunge and become pioneers in a young industry: teledentistry. The idea was that both underrepresented minority dentists and clients who lived in remote areas would benefit from having the option to connect virtually. “Basically, we’re moving dentistry to a platform where people can do it in different destinations, not necessarily just in a dentist’s office,” Jennifer said. With an app and a smart toothbrush with a built-in camera, they could do just that.