By Julia Campbell
Co-tenant Ben Switzer describes himself to friends and family as an “entrepreneur [who uses] applied neuroscience and technology to help people out.” However, the work that he does is a bit more complex.
Ben is the founder of two companies: True Focus, a service that increases IQ and EQ using a multi-modal cognitive and affective enhancement approach, and Motiv8 Studios, a neurotechnology gaming company dedicated to takin on mental health with advanced technology and play.
“My vision is for a healthcare system that is more efficient, and care being more enjoyable, aesthetically pleasing, as well as data-driven and smart,” he says. “The reason I got into this was because I’ve been through the system for both physical and mental illness, and experienced how awful that process can be. I know there’s a future of greater personalization, precision, efficiency, and extending health beyond the hospital and into the home.”
Ben suffered from mental illness when he was a child. As a young adult, he became deeply ill from Lyme Disease, resulting in a crippling brain injury. Around the same time, his brother was killed by a drunk driver, causing him to develop the PTSD he still deals with every day. This, as well as his interest in the brain and psychology, started him on his path towards a career in neuroscience and technology.
“I spent an average of four hours a day studying for over eight years before I created True Focus to heal my brain injury. After coaching young people for a few years, I also realized that I couldn’t help enough people doing things the way I was. That’s how Motiv8 was created – a scalable way to help people that’s fun and engaging.”
When asked about his mission, Ben boils it down to one word: disruption.
“We are living in an era of profound cultural and technological progress, and we want to show that technology like AI can be used for more than personalizing advertisements, driving buying behaviours, and addicting children to social media. We want to show that technology is not good or bad, but an extension of our own ethic – and that we can do better.”
Ben has a group of volunteer researchers, coders, artists, and experts from Fanshawe, Western and the London community, who are applying their powers of creation for a better society. They are currently focused on Dementia, fall prevention for the elderly, and student/youth anxiety.
“I hold my volunteers close to my heart – this is a group of incredible young people that inspire me every day to keep going. They bus their way down here after a long day of work, tired and cold, to put in even more work because they believe in the change we all know is possible. They are exemplars of community spirit.”
If Ben had a favourite memory of Innovation Works, it would have to be singing karaoke with Sienna and Serge Brown at the last Christmas party.
“Innovation works is less a space as it is a community,” he says. “I’ve developed the most meaningful friendships and partnerships in my entire life. This is a space where people gather in solidarity and love, compassion and conscious creation – a community in the best sense of the word.”
What’s next for Ben? It seems, the sky’s the limit:
“From here, I see London, and Ontario, as the birthplace of an extraordinary movement – a cultural and technological renaissance driven by a need for change. That starts with mental health. My path will take me into the cultural, the aesthetic, the scientific, and the engineering realms to find opportunities to drive meaningful impact. We are currently working on some amazing projects that will really show the world that things can be done differently, and I’m excited to bring these systems to life together with this community.”
When asked if he had anything else to say to our readers, his response was immediate:
“Stay tuned folks, this is going to be a helluva show.”
Want to work alongside incredible humans like Ben and others? Consider joining us at Innovation Works!
And don't forget to check out upcoming events happening at the space.