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Why AgeingBetter funders and policy makers should embrace digital technology - some resources

Originally published on April 21 2015

Summary: digital technology is increasingly important for Living Well in the Digital Age. Here's suggestions on why funders and policy makers should review existing resources.

There was lively discussion on Twitter last week about why the Centre for Ageing Better's consultation strategy has no mention of technology and digital innovation.

I'm drafting a blog post on the topic, and asked the Centre, and Big Lottery Fund who are providing a £50 million endowment, for some comments. In doing that it seems only fair to offer some ideas on why technology may be important to funders and policy makers, so I've rapidly pulled together some resources from our exploration into Ageing Better and Living Well in the Digital Age. More suggestions welcome.

I suggest that researchers, funders and policy makers in the ageing field would benefit from reviewing these issues and resources:

  • To avoid re-inventing the wheel in commisioning research or funding activities
  • To identify opportunities for collaboration
  • To shape their policy recommendations

The internet and digital technology affects all or us - for good or ill - and it is important to understand why.

See Baroness Lane-Fox for a positive view of the Internet, Andrew Keen and other sceptics for the downsides. Review our exploration into Ageing Better Innovation, and the resources we have gathered. The SEEFA symposium shows how people in the ageing field view technology.

Government departments are embedding digital technology in service transformations that will affect older people

The Department for Communities and Local Government has used older people and ageing as the first area to explore in digital service transformation and engagement. Cabinet Office is promoting innovation. Local services will become digital.

Older people and those who provide support are adopting technology

Organisations providing direct services in the ageing field find technology a hot topic. Older people will expect those serving their needs to be engaged as well.

Service innovation, the drive for cost savings, and consumer interest will make digital innovation increasingly important.

Organisations in the ageing field need help

Discussion at the SEEFA symposium in January 2015 confirmed that many organisations in the ageing field are failing to engage with digital technology - partly through lack of skills, and partly because of cultural attitudes

Digital technology will be increasingly important in local initiatives

Local councils and partnerships will this year be faced with the growing challenge of deciding what technology solutions to develop and promote for care, health and wellbeing in their community.

Innovation funders provide resources that other funders could adopt

  • The UK innovation agency NESTA has developed a framework for supporting innovation in ageing, a living map of projects, and an ageing well challenge fund. Here’s the NESTA site and a blog post
  • The Nominet Trust has compiled the Social Tech Guide “to recognise the pioneers who are using digital technology to make a real difference to millions of lives”, including a section on health.
  • The Trust’s Knowledge Centre details research and projects that the Trust has supported, including work on older people, well-being, and life transitions.

If you have further suggestions on why digital technology is important in this field, and/or resources, please send to David Wilcox, tweet @davidwilcox, or comment.

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

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