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How I did it
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8 innovators targeting the elder-care market

David Inns, CEO of Great Call.

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David Inns, GreatCall CEO

Inns, age 46, was running the consumer division of Bell Mobility in Canada, a wireless company, when he was brought in by San Diego, California-based GreatCall founders Arlene Harris and Marty Cooper to help launch the company in 2006. He wanted to be a part of the new venture because he realized that "the older population was being left behind by technology."

GreatCall's first product was the Jitterbug, a phone that's designed for older customers. That was followed by the Jitterbug touch, a simplified smartphone with a large font. The phones filled a special void for older consumers to help get them connected. Since then, GreatCall has expanded into many different directions, starting a digital health service in 2008. It's been offering new products, like a mobile version of a medical alert device, unveiled in 2011 and an app that provides alerts to family caregivers, as well as the Splash, a waterproof medical alert device.

Inns said annual revenues are "several hundred million a year" and that the company has been experiencing 20 percent growth year-to-year over the past three years. It's gone from zero employees in 2006 to 1,000 today.

Inns' secret to success: A customized experience from top to bottom, including required "sensitivity training" for customer service agents, where they use the products while wearing glasses that simulate glaucoma and gloves that simulate arthritis.

Source: Great Call