IRIS Media: Impact through Creating Positive Environment
A child’s environment and surroundings can shape the quality of his developmental outcomes and well-being. For families coping with social issues or health disabilities, the impact of the environment on the child’s development can be even greater. Innovators at IRIS Media recognize these children’s needs and have made them the driving force behind their recent studies and innovations. The company’s goal is to provide training for parents, educators, and school staff that supports the creation of a positive environment and the success of students and families. Founded in 1999, IRIS Media Inc. (DBA IRIS Educational Media), a NIH Commercialization Assistance Program alumnus (2006), is transforming behavioral research into practical skills-based programs that improve the lives of people through change in unhealthy or unproductive behavior patterns. Its mission is “to provide engaging, interactive educational resources that inspire confidence and make a positive difference in people’s lives.” With funding from the US Department of Education and the National Institutes of Health, IRIS Media has been able to realize their concepts and bring them to the market. Nell Caraway, CEO of IRIS Media, along with her colleagues have collaborated with educators and social scientists to blend scientific knowledge with innovative technology and develop model-based interactive trainings that are both fun and valuable for the users.
The company continues to leap in its commercialization progress and efforts. Recently, the company created and evaluated a program called “Two Families Now: Parenting through Separation and Divorce,” to help parents communicate with their children during the transition and begin to rebuild their lives in ways that work for their families. The study results showed that parents learned to be more confident and self-efficacious during the divorcee transition.
This year, the company signed a licensing deal with Riverside Publishing for one of their curriculum and assessment tools. According to Nell, the licensing agreement will “put the product in the hands of 300 on-the-ground sales people.” This, according to Nell, is a “quantum step” for the program’s distribution and sales.
IRIS Media is one of the 23 companies recognized with the Tibbetts Award last month. This award, given by the U.S. Small Business Administration, honors outstanding small businesses and individuals who participate in the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Tibbetts Awards are presented to companies and individuals that are beacons of promise and models of excellence in high technology. Nell tells us, “Participating in Larta’s NIH CAP program provided me with timely information and exposure to commercialization ideas. The CAP program gave me confidence to negotiate licensing agreements with larger companies and international agencies interested in distributing our K-12 social/behavioral trainings and assessments. The network, the education and the possibilities presented by Larta were important ingredients to our current success in the marketplace.”