Karen Dolva is CEO and co-founder of No Isolation (www.noisolation.com), an Oslo-based start-up founded in October 2015, with the goal of reducing involuntary social solitude. Its first product, a physical avatar called AV1, was designed to help children and young adults, forced by illness to take extended time away from school, to maintain a presence in the classroom, communicate with friends, and socialise. Before co-founding No Isolation, Karen studied Computer Science and Interaction Design at the University of Oslo, the highest ranked institution for education and research in Norway. During her studies, Karen began her career at StartupLab Oslo, and went on to co-found UX Lab - a user experience consultancy, created to help companies with user testing and the designing of digital user experiences. In founding UX Lab, Karen finished university early, leaving during her final semester of study. Karen identified the need for No Isolation when she met Anne Fi Troye - a mother who lost her teenage daughter to cancer. Through learning about Anne Fi’s continuous efforts to improve the lives of children in hospital, based on her own child’s experience of social solitude while unwell, Karen was inspired to use her personal knowledge of user experience and computer science to develop a tech-based solution. When speaking about the need for a company like No Isolation, Karen explains: “What we’ve seen is that it is impossible for children with long-term illnesses to stay connected with their lives. They are told to focus on their own health, but the healthiest thing for them would be to stay connected with their friends. Going back to school after a long period isn’t easy, and for those who suffer from chronic illness, the loneliness never really stops.”
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