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Jun 3, 2016 5:45 PM ET

Archived: Povi: Endless Stories to Boost Kids’ Emotional Intelligence – A smart toy and app that inspire thoughtful parent-child conversations to enhance skills like empathy, self-esteem and thankfulness

iCrowdNewswire - Jun 3, 2016

Povi: Endless Stories to Boost Kids’ Emotional Intelligence





A smart toy and app that inspire thoughtful parent-child conversations to enhance skills like empathy, self-esteem and thankfulness.



About this project

Povi is a smart, huggable storyteller who shares stories that spark thoughtful parent-child conversations.  Povi helps kids open up to parents and talk about their deeper emotions. The Povi App connects parents and caregivers to a network of child development specialists and their expert content.


The Povi system is designed to provide a systematic, step-by-step approach to building emotional intelligence, one conversation at a time. 

Povi is designed for parent-child interaction; a way for parents and children to come together and figure out solutions to the challenges presented. 

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 Below is an example of a Dad using Povi with his daughter for the first time:

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Povi’s Story Packs Can Be Adapted For Each Child’s Development Needs


Povi Buddy & Povi App Work Hand-in-Hand

Povi App Enables Endless Story Content, Ability to Rate and Customize

1. Content – Povi isn’t a one-size-fits-all toy: it has stories for everyone. The app enables downloads of new content based on age and interest and ratings. It also provides follow-up questions for parents to guide conversations with.

2. Ratings – The app enables users to rate stories and authors, so Povi can track interest in content and make suggestions.  

3. Customization – Create custom content to meet the individual developmental needs of children based on data analytic and machine learning, algorithms co-designed by psychologists and engineers. 

Why do we need Povi to help start parent-child conversations? 

We all want our kids to be happy and successful. 

Emotional intelligence – the ability to manage emotions and social interactions – is one of the most important factors for our children’s happiness and success. 

But nowadays it’s harder than ever to have the conversations that help our kids to learn emotional intelligence: 

  • Kids have homework and extracurricular activities. 
  • Parents have work and other important commitments. 
  • Technology and social media threaten to take up any time left.

Does Povi Work?

Povi connects parents and caregivers to a network of child development specialists. We have received help and advice from 4000 psychologists, teachers, counselors and parents who are strong advocates of social emotional learning for kids from all over the world. Many of them have signed up to contribute stories on the Povi platform. Here’s one psychologist’s opinion:

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 Here is the opinion of a school counselor:

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The Traveling Povi Program, sent Povis to live with families a few weeks at a time. The kids who experience Povi want to keep Povi for themselves! This is what one parent told us:

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 Other feedback we received:

What parents say after using Povi with their kids
What parents say after using Povi with their kids


Online research responded by over 600 parents
Online research responded by over 600 parents

 This article in the US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health presents findings from a meta-analysis of 213 school-based, universal social and emotional learning (SEL) programs involving 270,034 kindergarten through high school students. Compared to controls, SEL participants demonstrated significantly improved social and emotional skills, attitudes, behavior, and academic performance that reflected an 11-percentile-point gain in achievement.


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 Hi, I am Seow Lim, the project leader of Povi. As a busy working mom of two young boys, I have always been juggling a demanding career as a senior technologist in Silicon Valley.

Talking to psychologists, teachers and counselors, I soon realized that my family was not alone. 

Povi: in the beginning

I built a team to create Povi. Povi goes through many iterations of concept, prototype and user testing. This is because the deeper we get into Emotional Intelligence for children, the more we learn about what would make Povi a highly effective developmental tool for them.

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Collaboration with an expert community:

“How’s school?” and “Did you do your homework?” We commonly ask these questions to our children after school. However, after attending EQ and parenting discussions, consulting with specialists, and reading numerous best-selling parenting books, our team realizes that there is a void in the daily conversations between family members. Parents are looking for a tool to help them understand their children’s feelings from a different perspective. 

First comes the Povi Family Connect App: 

  • Parents receive one thoughtful question daily formulated by a developmental psychologist. The app has a journal for users to document their conversations. 
  • The questions help parents build a habit of frequent conversation with their kids. 
  • Users tell us they are learning about new aspects of their kids’ personalities and thoughts which they had not previously explored. 
  • Many beta users are documenting their conversations on the app and we receive requests to add an audio recording function.   

But there’s a new challenge:

  • Parents report that the app questions are not rooted in context –they do not know how tostart the conversation. 
  • To tackle this problem, we look back to our team’s trusted advisory board of psychologists, teachers, and counselors. 

Brainstorming and many user testing with parents and kids lead to our final product!

A. Povi would be for kids 3-8 years. Children’s development changes dramatically each year and a one-shoe-fits-all approach doesn’t work. 3-8 is the formative time for children’s social-emotional development: they leave the emotional security of home and begin interacting with the outside world.

B. Povi playtime would be a parent and child activity. Conversations between parents and kids develop important interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. We decide to limit Povi’s robotic capabilities.

C. Povi’s content would be based on real-life situations as the stimuli to engage kids and give parents the much-needed context for asking deeper questions. Second person anecdotes from real-life help kids reflect on their own thoughts and experiences and make it easier to express emotions.

D. Povi would be a physical object that kids can hold and touch. Research shows that kids learn better with physical objects. Povi is plush, huggable, and feels cozy.

  • From the different Povi versions, users told us the small yellow Povi with the big eye was the favorite
    From the different Povi versions, users told us the small yellow Povi with the big eye was the favorite


    We have built a team based on Povi’s passion and mission 

    We are advised by multi-functional experts


     Media response to Povi

    “Povi should make it a lot easier to discuss things with your child, as it provides a jumping off point.” — Trustedreviews.com.   

  • “A toy that promises to help eradicate toddler tantrums and teach emotional intelligence to youngsters” — Toynews-online

  • “Until Povi, the only resources for encouraging this growth in children were books and online research which makes this item truly innovative.” — Examiner.com      

  • “This educational toy utilizes technology to strengthen children’s communication skills and is a great tool for parents looking to start thoughtful discussions with their family.” —Trendhunter.    

  •  “While most toys are designed to engage children while playing, Povi is aims to have a lasting effect on children by teaching them toexpress their emotions, face challenges and problem solve.” — PSFK.     

  •  “Povi will give you different topics and questions everyday, depending on your child’s age bracket. These you will discuss and ponder about with him over dinner or before bed.” —Smart Parenting Magazine.                      

  • “Povi enables parents to implement social-emotional development at home.” — The Bloom Report.

    Listen to a sample story from Povi 

      Play audio: Part 1: Situation
      Play audio: Part 2: Question
       Play audio: Part 3: Resolution

      * Note that Kickstarter audio embed feature is only active on PC and not mobile. Sorry for the inconvenience

    • Povi stories are organized by:  

    • Age levels: 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8. 
    • Developmental goals like Self esteem, empathy, thankfulness, resilience, perspective taking, emotion recognition etc 
    • Themes around kids real life experience in school, in the playground, in the restaurant, on a trip etc.





    To nurture, teach, and empower San Francisco's underserved children and families to transform their lives.
    To nurture, teach, and empower San Francisco’s underserved children and families to transform their lives.



    We’ve been working hard for over two years to bring Povi to the world. We’ve proven that our concept works, in both hardware and software, and have proven this solution is what parents and kids want. We’re ready to push forward with manufacturing, and we need your help to get there.

    We’re looking to raise $250,000. We’ll use our campaign funding to initiate large scale manufacturing and get our first batch of Povi Buddies and App delivered by November 2016. This is no easy task (see Risks & Challenges below), but we’re confident in our team, product, and technology. We promise to update our backers frequently and we will be fully transparent about our progress.


Risks and challenges

Risks and challenges

We know how important it is for us fulfill our promise to you, our backers, and deliver Povi on time.

We’ve dedicated the past two years to building our prototype, software app, content platform and sourcing our components from manufacturers. We’ve done everything that we can to prepare for manufacturing and we’re ready to go as soon as we hit our funding goal.

That being said, we realize that the biggest risks for Povi – like most hardware projects – are delivering our product on time while staying within our development budget. To that end, we see two primary challenges:


We plan on delivering the first batch of Povi buddies in November, in time for the holiday shopping season. We’ve already established partnerships with manufacturers in China who have decades of experience with consumer electronics and toys and are ready to begin mass production as soon as we give the green light. Our internal team and our manufacturing partners all feel confident that we can deliver Povi in November, but it’s possible that unforeseen issues will arise and cause delays. The most common issues are component shortages, facility issues, lengthy certification process, and failed QA. To mitigate these risks, we have a dedicated resource on our team who meets regularly with our manufacturers to ensure that we stay on schedule. In addition, we plan on flying to China to meet with our manufacturers in person and to ensure that the manufacturing process meets our high standards.


Perhaps the most complex aspect of hardware development is managing costs. Povi looks clean and easy to operate on the exterior, but on the interior there are more than 30 components working efficiently. In order to keep Povi affordable, we must evaluate dozens of options for each component and negotiate per unit prices with dozens of manufacturers across the globe. This is a complex, time consuming, and at times frustrating process.

We’ve already made significant progress on component sourcing, but we cannot finish this process until our campaign has concluded and we know the exact number of units that we will be producing in our first batch. With this in mind, we’ve set a realistic funding goal that will allow us to produce enough units to achieve economies of scale and maintain profitability while delivering Povi at the stated price point.


Povi is designed for kids. Hence we need to ensure that Povi will pass through rigorous safety and quality certifications. This testing could show issues that we need to adjust our design or components and could add time to our delivery schedules.

If any issues should arise, we will be fully transparent and will over communicate to all of our backers. We realize there have been instances where hardware projects have had serious delays – we have no intention on being one of those projects.

Contact Information:

The Povi team

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