Summary: after carrying out an exploration into digital technology and Ageing Better, we are scoping a design kit and process for groups to use when planning support for individuals, and community programmes. The focus is now Living Well in the Digital Age. Our first step is a workshop exploring how the kit could complement Government policy on digital engagement and service transformation. David Wilcox and Drew Mackie March 2015.
After carrying out an exploration with the Digital Inclusion Group of Age Action Alliance into the idea of Ageing Better with technology, we decided to refocus on Living Well in the Digital Age.
Instead of thinking broadly about how to help older people use technology, and promote digital inclusion, we wanted to shift the emphasis onto how individuals could use whatever technology might be useful to them. That was because:
At the same time we recognised that people’s friends, family and local community are hugely important because:
On the personal front, the recent report “I’m still me identified five key themes that older people say are key to coordinated support: independence, community interactions, decision making, care and support and terminology. Technology should, in part, map to those.
In the community and wider society, the availability of technology depends on the network of device suppliers, service providers and communicators. So although each individual creates their own technology environment, its components are determined elsewhere.
In thinking about practical next steps we needed to look at three levels: the individual; their community; government policy at local and national level.
The most accessible and useful framework for the next stage of our exploration is the Grey Cells model being developed by the Department for Communities and Local Government. This provides a blueprint for digital service development and digital engagement across all local policy areas, with a strong focus on health, wellbeing and quality of life. The aim is effective services, empowered citizens, reduced costs.
In our exploration we found that there is a lot of potential for the use of digital technology, but people don’t know what’s possible, organisations often don’t use consumer technology, levels of cooperation are low, innovation doesn’t reach the front line, funding will be tighter in future.
The policy challenge is that progress depends on development at local level, and the personal adoption of technology - so government can’t make advances in the digital transformation of services without addressing the issues above.
So it makes sense to explore back-to-back what the Grey Cells model will mean for local digital development, and what the use of digital technology at individual and community level can offer and require in a policy context. The issue is - how can we map top-down and bottom-up on to each other. That’s what we’ll be exploring in our workshop.
We’ve been using games and simulations to explore the adoption and use of digital technology since the 1990s, when we worked on how to help people plan local online learning centres even though they may not have used a computer.
More recently we’ve developed and tested some workshop methods to evolve what we call Living Labs - spaces to use online and face-to-face methods, to help create social ecosystems as the connected cloud of people and organisations, networks, content and tools that may be involved in sharing knowledge around a situation or topic, using a range of different media.
As a base for games and simulations we often use the fictitious town of Slipham to provide a context, with a range of characters and organisations and typical challenges.
In our March workshop we won’t have time to run a full simulation. However, we will be able to look at how we could take on the role of a group of organisations in the fictitious borough of Slipham that have bid unsuccessfully for funds to create a Living Well programme for older people.
* Here’s a similar workshop
The Slipham group decide to go ahead anyway - using the latest thinking on frugal innovation, crowdsourcing ideas, co-design, and use of digital technology.
In our workshop we won’t have time to play out a full simulation, but can look at the set of materials showing personas, project ideas, and an asset and network map. (Examples below are illustrative only):
Cards representing different personas. Workshop groups are asked to expand the persona stories.
A range of apps, activities, projects and services that might meet the needs and interests of the different personas. They have to choose which are appropriate.
Each card links to online resources locally, nationally, or internationally. We already have a prototype web-based system.
Details of local organisations and what they can offer
Maps of local assets and organisational relationships. In a full simulation workshop, groups have to consider how these might be used to support people and projects - and what new relationships and collaborations may be needed.
The task, working in small groups, is to:
The scenario described above is to help develop a community-wide approach. We have also worked on simulations for
The March 27 session should help inform development of a Living Lab design kit “for real” to include:
In order to carry out this development we need support for:
David Wilcox firstname.lastname@example.org 07970 621696 @davidwilcox
Drew Mackie email@example.com 07515 386115