Here at HealthBeacon, we have been fortunate to recruit top talent from around the world. With the Grand Opening of our new office in Montreal, Canada, this is the perfect opportunity to highlight our new Design Director and Head of our new Canadian office, Kyle Bolton in his own words…
Growing up in London Ontario Canada, I was always drawn to computers and loved staying up late into the night creating designs, videos, animations, posters and websites.
I’ll never forget my first website gig. I was probably 13 or 14; it was for a country cabin & campground. I wasn’t old enough to drive, so my mum drove me out to the meeting, down an old dusty road. She waited in the car while I went in, stumbling over my words to sell them on the idea of a website. After what seemed like an eternity, we shook hands, and they cut me a cheque for $250. I walked out of there beaming and went back down that road victorious. My fate was sealed.
I received a Bachelor of Design degree (BDes) from York University and Sheridan College in Toronto, Canada. My focus was in motion graphics, and after graduation, I had the opportunity to work under Kyle Cooper at Prologue Films in California. After a brief stint in California, I moved on to (literally) greener pastures, Dublin, Ireland.
In 2007, I moved to Dublin to help co-found Ultrasound Dimensions, medical and maternity ultrasound centre. From the outside, it may seem unusual, going from motion graphics to healthcare but, at its core, design is about problem-solving. So, I approached the challenge of starting a medical centre with that lens, a “design thinking” lens. Design thinking is a buzz word now, but back in 2007, no one was talking about it in healthcare. We wanted to design a better patient experience than what was currently out there, and design thinking at our foundation helped us do that.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
I come from a family of 6 children, three boys and three girls. I’m in the middle. We all caught the travelling bug, and now all live in different cities from Calgary, Bergen, Montreal, Tokyo, London UK, Toronto and Dublin! I always have a good excuse to travel.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
I became an Irish citizen in 2016 and now that I’m in Montreal, I’m studying French.
What brought you to HealthBeacon?
A simple twist of fate. In 2007, I was reading the Irish Times and saw an article about this Bostonian, Jim Joyce, starting a patient support company in Ireland, Point of Care. I was doing something similar, setting up a diagnostic imaging centre so thought I’d reach out, have a coffee and learn about what he was doing and see if I could add value to what he was doing and vice versa.
I’d run into Jim around town and occasionally reach out to bounce ideas off him. Sometime in late 2015, I rang him for some advice, and he asked me to come check out this new company he was working on, HealthBeacon. I went out to the Dublin office, hammers banging in the background, dust still in the air, and met with him and Kieran Daly. They showed me the HealthBeacon IoT device, shared their vision for the company, the industry and the impact it could have on patients. I was sold. I loved their vision. They needed some design thinking applied to what they were doing so I went off to mock up some designs. A few weeks later I came back with a software and design strategy, they liked it and with a handshake deal, we agreed to a three-month contract. 12 months later, I’m still here!
If you could switch your job with anyone else within HealthBeacon whose job would you want?
I feel my current role is a perfect fit for me but If I had to choose it would be with Colm Gildea, (Country Manager, Ireland) or one of the support nurses who deploy the HealthBeacons in patient homes.
When you are working behind a computer screen, it’s easy to get disconnected with who we are trying to help, the patients. By being close to the patients, interacting with them daily, hearing their stories and seeing the impact you are having on a patient’s life, it gives your life and work more meaning. It’s what attracted me most to the company; it’s why I’m here.
What do you find the most challenging at HB?
“Kill your darlings” ― Stephen King, On Writing.
As in all creative endeavours and areas of innovation, the hardest part is being ruthless with your ideas and choosing which ones to produce and which one kill off. In a startup, everything is a moving target, and you need to make sure you deploy your resources on the right problems, at the right time to create the greatest impact.
What do you like most about HB?
The people. We have the best team in the digital therapeutic industry.
What have you gained from working at HB?
Better insight into how technology can improve patient outcomes. The second is I’ve developed a great appreciation for what it takes to bring a piece of hardware to market. Working with IoT hardware is a humbling experience.
How do you define success?
Success to me is waking up healthy every day to work on fun projects that make people’s lives better, no matter how big or small the impact.
What is your favourite restaurant in your hometown?
London isn’t known for its food scene, but I have to give a shout-out to my good friend’s restaurant, Burrito Boyz. If you are in search of the best burrito, look no further. That said, Montreal has an incredible food scene, and I’m still trying to pick my favourite spot.