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Ideas on how the Centre for Ageing Better can start to engage with digital technology

Published on May 13 2015

Summary: here's a menu of ideas on how the Centre for Ageing Better could introduce digital technology into its plans and consultation process.

As I reported here, Shirley Ayres, Roxanne Persaud and I had a meeting last week with Greg Wilkinson, interim chief executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, and development director Paddy Hanrahan. We discussed our concerns about the lack of any mention of technology in the current consultation paper - backstory here, and view the paper here.

We had a constructive discussion, offering ideas on how to introduce digital innovation on three fronts:

  • the policy themes in the current strategy
  • the current consultation process
  • future development of the centre

On reflection, I would summarise the challenge as: how can the Centre develop a shared understanding of the importance of digital technology in Ageing Better, in order to inform its programmes and begin to plan collaborative action with others in the field.

Shirley, Roxanne and I entered a strong case for doing that without yet more research and reports duplicating past work. Instead, build on existing knowledge and learn with others.

I've followed up the meeting with a menu of ideas that might open the way for further discussion. That's in addition to a strong recommendation to review the great resources developed by Shirley - both the Long Term Care Revolution and earlier ones here.

Roxanne also emphasised the importance of learning from what hasn't worked - and being prepared to experiment and fail. That's really important with digital technology, where you can't understand the potential unless you try it. Do small stuff before going for any big investments.

Here's my menu of ideas. I don't know how they might fit into current plans and staffing - so they are really just conversations starters.

  1. Review together the insights and resources developed during the exploration into Living Well in the Digital Age - and from that consider how technology might play a part in Centre programmes.
  2. Use resources gathered during the exploration - and for example ConnectingCare - as a basis to map knowledge hubs and flows: who is doing what in the field, who is sharing.
  3. From the mapping process consider what existing or new online systems could be used to take things forward in the interim. As discussed here this might, for example, be a combination of presence on the Knowledge Hub, plus Slack and Twitter. We don’t know what tools might be appropriate without 1 and 2.
  4. Integrate any online activity with face-to-face meetings and other methods in a consultation plan.
  5. Solicit and publish real stories from the field on what’s working, as a taster of later systems that might be set up - for example a natural language database like Care’N’Share or something like FabNHSStuff.
  6. Invite further ideas using a simple online system like Uservoice.
  7. Hold some informal open discussion - maybe a Knowledge Cafe as suggested here in relation to the Big Lottery Fund online platform.
  8. Be open to stuff turning up, by supporting a social reporting process. Here’s an earlier example with Big Lottery Fund undertaken by David Wilcox and John Popham.
  9. Showcase and highlight examples of innovation and best practice to demonstrate the importance of the field.
  10. Look at private sector investments being made in the field of health care and wellbeing: both personal apps and services like this one.

What's really needed, as suggested in 3 and discussed here, is some shared space and network where people with an interest in this field can exchange ideas and learn from each other. I'm looking at options.

Meanwhile, see the Update from the Centre for more about their plans, and how to engage.

livingwell/cfabideas.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/12 15:20 by

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