A Chat with Christopher Golby, PhD Director & Co-Founder at Employee Mental Health Platform: Lumien

Christopher Golby

By way of background on the topic, the tech company Evolyst was founded in 2012 by myself and Ben Skirth who have a background in creative and digital healthcare solutions development. I gained my PhD in digital healthcare from Warwick University where I remained a research follow until forming Evolyst in 2012. At this time the company launched as a design and development studio, building web, desktop and mobile applications.

Thereafter over several years, the company undertook multi-award-winning development & consultancy projects with numerous NHS trusts and Universities including:

  • Kings College London
  • NHS University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust
  • NHS South London & Maudsley Foundation Trust
  • Coventry University
  • The University of Warwick

In 2016 in collaboration with Coventry University, Evolyst developed a gamified healthy eating application for children which went to trial in the same year. Also in 2016 Evolyst was working with Kings College, NHS Maudsley and the Helen Hamlyn Centre for design on a psychosis intervention technology ‘SlowMo’, this work resulted in a Medilink Award.

Fast forward to 2018 and the SlowMo therapy trails commenced across London, Sussex and Oxford. Their work again attracted awards with Evolyst winning the Coventry Telegraph Business Award which highlighted the company’s service to digital health. In 2018 SlowMo and its positive impact was featured on the BBC1 One Show. In parallel Evolyst developed an occupational health tool Adjust4Work which again won a Medilink supply chain award.

In 2019 Evolyst worked with University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Birmingham on a smoking cessation project Quit4Surgery for people about to undergo a lung cancer operation. This work was due to go to trial in late 2020. In 2019, having recognised the growing mental health challenges facing the workplace and the NHS, Ben and I decided to focus our energy on playing a part in finding the solution, and Lumien was born. The B2B version of Lumien was launched in August 2020.

Lumien | iOH - The Association of Occupational Health and Wellbeing  Professionals

So what is Lumien?

Simply put, Lumien is a unique application that provides big data insights on organisational mental health & wellbeing. It’s a fantastic way of monitoring the well-being pulse of any team and importantly, Lumien translates the data into 3 key areas.

Firstly it identifies wellbeing topic clusters such as sleep or nutrition through anonymised surveys, secondly, it identifies and recommends possible interventions for consideration to improve wellbeing. Thirdly, and in a unique way, Lumien translates the impact of poor mental health and wellbeing into a quantifiable productivity loss for the organisation.

These 3 aspects when viewed together provide any organisation with the ability to identify wellbeing ‘gaps’ and to invest in the most suitable and impactful interventions. The result is a happy team that is more productive. The high consistency of data collection delivers an opportunity for great trend analysis and the data can be viewed by function, team role type etc.

So as a team with a real passion and love of the NHS, combined with our previous work on mental health and wellbeing applications, we see this as a timely opportunity to support all health care professionals and NHS employees with the application.

We recognise that the NHS workforce challenge is immense with 100,000+ vacancies and an exhausted workforce post-Covid-19 the service needs support. We would love to explore the potential to provide every NHS worker with access to the Lumien application. This could signal genuine intent to support the mental health & well-being of the staff at this critical time. It would also provide live real-world data to NHS leaders and the DOH providing insights to inform resource deployment decisions, recruitment, training and productivity improvement measures.

As a world-class employer seeking to deliver a world-class service, the time is right to invest in every member of the NHS family in order to see a service that thrives and is an exemplar of excellence in workplace wellbeing.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

The company adapted in multiple ways, including:

  • Mixed effects but clarified strategy
  • Reduced cash burn and optimised productivity
  • Change of strategy to outsource development work rather than employing own staff – only senior core staff remain
  • Change of strategy to utilise commission-only sales and marketing staff to generate leads and close deals
  • First deal under new scheme won in North of England
  • Pipeline expanded
  • Complete shift to virtual working – needed a more senior workforce as a result.
  • Major breakthrough in US – PoC starts in January 2021 with one of the largest independent benefits and insurance brokers in US who will act as a product distributor across its customer base


What can we hope to see from Lumien in the future?

Lumien is currently in a £650k funding round. Once complete we are looking to strive towards making mental health and wellbeing an actionable part of every board meeting. We’re looking to heavily increase usage of the product here, but also in the US, where we are currently beginning sales.