Moving towards Person-Centred Innovation for

Ageing Better
Draft  by  D avid  Wilcox  and  D rew  Mackie:  February  13  2015  

Summary
The  exploration  into  how  to  use  technology  for  Ageing  Better  started  in  the  autumn  of  2014  with  the  idea  that  
it  should  be  possible  to  map  organisations  and  resources  in  the  field  to  enable  more  sharing  of  experience,  
reduce  constant  re-­‐invention,  and  promote  cooperation.  The  Big  Lottery  Fund  hadn‘t  done  that  centrally  in  
2014  for  their  five-­‐year  £82  million  Ageing  Better  programme  -­‐  could  we  demonstrate  an  alternative  bottom-­‐
up  approach,  building  on  past  work  in  the  field?  
This  report  summarises  the  journey  that  is  documented  more  fully  on  our  site  -­‐  and  comes  to  the  conclusion  
that  we  should  switch  our  focus  from  technology  in  Ageing  Better,  at  a  policy  and  programme  level,  to  
technology  for  Living  Well  as  individuals,  together  with  what  is  needed  to  support  that  in  local  communities  
and  centrally.  The  challenge  is  that  every  individual  has  different  interests  and  preferences  –  so  one  size  of  
support  doesn’t  fit  all.  
Over  the  four  months  from  September  2014  we  moved  beyond  the  basic  idea  of  mapping  of  resources  and  
organisations  to:  

● establish  a  web  site  and  blogs  for  the  exploration,  and  on  that  ...  
● gather  resources  
● generate  some  talking-­‐point  provocations  and  challenges  
● set  up  an  ideas  platform  to  gather  suggestions  on  how  to  address  the  challenges    
● show  how  ideas  can  be  translated  into  action  through  workshop  games  and  simulations  
The  rationale  was  that  we  needed  to  know  what  we  were  looking  for  in  mapping,  before  starting  a  big  trawl.  
It‘s  been  a  voluntary  effort  so  far,  and  we  needed  to  focus.  We  decided  that  if  we  could  generate  ideas  on  tech  
for  Ageing  Better,  and  cluster  those,  we  could  then  look  at  which  organisations  might  share  experience  and  
perhaps  work  together.  
We  were  able  to  test  some  of  our  emerging  ideas  against  a  wide-­‐ranging  discussion  at  a  symposium  on  
technology  and  innovation,  organised  by  the  South  East  Forum  on  Ageing.  Our  blog  post  linking  our  
exploration  to  the  SEEFA  discussion  was  re-­‐published  by  Age  Action  Alliance.  
What  emerged  from  that  -­‐  and  our  other  explorations  -­‐  was  that  the  idea  of  promoting  cooperation  among  
organisations  in  the  field,  to  achieve  greater  benefits  and  innovation,  was  somewhat  naive.  As  other  
commentators  confirmed,  co-­‐operation  is  difficult  because  organisations  are  competing  with  each  other  for  
funding;  innovation  is  difficult  because  few  organisations  actually  use  social  technology.  The  major  challenge  is  
culture.  We  could  map  ideas,  organisations,  and  resources  -­‐  but  the  likelihood  of  making  any  difference  is  low.  
At  this  stage  -­‐  in  February  2015  -­‐  we  are  considering  a  change  of  focus  towards  the  individual.  It  seems  likely  
that  the  greatest  progress  will  be  made  by  exploring  how  older  people  -­‐  and  those  who  help  -­‐  can  choose  and  
use  technology  for  personal  well-­‐being.    
Tony  Watts,  chair  of  the  South  West  Forum  for  Ageing,  has  set  out  how  to  make  progress  by  linking  digital  
health  and  digital  inclusion.  Roz  Davies  provides  a  model  of  citizen-­‐centred  care  and  digital  health  provision.  
The  Grey  Cells  initiative  from  the  Department  for  Communities  and  Local  Government  provides  a  framework  
for  digital  engagement  that  could  help  connect  the  individual  and  programmatic  models.  
So  at  this  stage  we  are  considering  reframing  the  exploration  towards  Living  Well  with  Technology  -­‐  what  can  
be  done  to  enable  and  support  the  individual.  Although  our  focus  is  on  older  people,  the  lessons  will  be  more  
widely  applicable.  
Mapping,  connecting,  convening  is  needed  at  the  programme  level,  but  we  don’t  have  the  resources  to  do  
that,  or  any  leverage  to  achieve  much  change.  We  do,  however,  suggest  some  modest  ways  forward.  

1  

Aim of the exploration - and how it started
Ageing  Better  Innovation  is  an  open,  collaborative  exploration  into  how  innovations,  enabled  by  digital  
technology,  can  help  support  personal  well-­‐being,  and  services  for  ageing  better.    
It  builds  on  an  earlier  exploration  carried  out  in  2012-­‐13  for  the  Nominet  Trust.  That  exploration  was  designed  
to  produce  a  paper,  with  back  up  resources,  and  inform  a  funding  challenge  programme  to  support  a  number  
of  substantial  projects.  The  focus  of  the  programme  became  life  transitions,  rather  than  later  life.  
We  wanted  to  build  on  that  work  to  see  whether  we  could  generate  some  ideas  and  actions  that  might  not  
require  special  funding,  build  a  network  to  enable  some  collaborations,  and  kits  to  help  people  adopt  and  
engage  with  technology  for  ageing  better.  We  wanted  to  do  it  in  a  way  that  is  conversational  in  style  and  
accessible  to  anyone  interested,  rather  than  a  more  formal  research  project.  We‘ve  worked  on  the  basis  that  if  
people  can‘t  talk  about  issues  in  relatively  straightforward  terms,  then  they  won‘t  be  able  to  take  action.  
The  current  exploration  is  being  undertaken  with  the  Digital  Inclusion  Group  of  the  Age  Action  Alliance,  and  is  
led  by  David  Wilcox  and  Drew  Mackie.  It  is  part  of  our  development  of  a  Living  Lab,  described  here.    
So  far  the  programme  has  been  unfunded,  so  at  this  stage  it  is  more  of  a  demonstration  of  what‘s  possible  
than  a  full  exploration  of  all  aspects  of  a  highly  complex  field.  
The  spark  for  a  new  exploration  was  the  belief  that  the  Big  Lottery  Fund‘s  £82  million  Ageing  Better  
programme,  launched  in  September  2014,  could  make  a  far  greater  contribution  to  tackling  social  innovation  if  
it  embraced  the  potential  for  digital  innovation  and  wider  knowledge  sharing.    

The exploration process
We  then  began  a  process  similar  to  the  early  stages  of  that  undertaken  for  the  Nominet  Trust.  From  
September  2014  to  February  2015  we:  

● Developed  some  talking-­‐point  provocations    
● Reviewed  research  -­‐  resources  here  
● Generated  some  challenges  from  discussion  about  the  provocations    
● Created  a  platform  to  gather  ideas  to  address  the  challenges  
● Added  to  the  provocations  and  ideas,  particularly  from  a  seminar  organised  by  the  South  East  Forum  
for  Ageing  (SEEFA)  in  January  

● Created  a  first  map  from  the  ideas  
● Explored  frameworks  that  would  help  connect  the  ideas  to  tech  for  personal  well-­‐being,  and  tech  for  
services  

● Further  developed  some  of  our  LivingLab  games  that  could  provide  the  basis  for  design  kits  for  
individuals,  enablers  and  organisations.  

 

2  

The provocations and challenges
The  provocations  and  challenges  are  detailed  here.  After  a  first  round  of  discussion,  we  summarised  the  
provocations  as:  
1.

There  isn‘t  an  opt-­‐out  from  technology  -­‐  but  you  can  choose  how  much  you  participate.  (Technology  
has  changed  the  world  dramatically,  and  it  will  continue  to  change.  What‘s  important  is  enabling  
people  to  choose  how  they  engage).    

2.

Government  is  concerned  that  many  older  people  are  not  online  -­‐  but  there  are  limits  to  what  
government  can  do.  (People  will  engage  with  what‘s  interesting  and  useful  to  them,  and  use  devices  
that  most  suit  their  needs).    

3.

Everyone  needs  Internet  access  ¦  but  beyond  that,  no  one  size  fits  all.  (Cost  is  a  barrier,  and  then  
personalisation  is  important).    

4.

Computer  courses  and  basic  skills  training  don‘t  meet  the  needs  of  many  older  people.  (Tablets  are  
much  easier  to  use  than  computers  for  most  purposes,  and  smart  phones  and  smart  TVs  may  also  
meet  many  people‘s  needs).    

5.

Simpler  interfaces  are  needed  for  computers  and  mobile  devices  -­‐  not  just  more  functions.  (Older  
people  should  be  involved  in  design).    

6.

Relatively  few  organisations  in  the  ageing  field  are  actively  engaged  in  the  online  world  or  using  
collaborative  tools.  (Using  social  technology  should  help  enable  greater  cooperation).    

7.

Digital  social  innovations  in  services  are  not  scaling.  (There‘s  too  much  focus  on  the  tech,  and  not  
enough  on  what  it  does,  together  with  a  lot  of  re-­‐invention).    

8.

There  is  a  raft  of  research,  but  little  knowledge-­‐sharing  of  that  and  day-­‐to-­‐day  practice.  (A  lot  of  
research  is  hidden  and  not  transferred  to  practice.  A  culture  of  competitive  tendering  reduces  
people‘s  inclination  to  cooperate  and  use  what‘s  already  available).    

9.

The  energy  for  change  lies  with  apps,  connectors  and  storytellers.  (To  which  we  can  add,  evolution  of  
trusted  technologies  such  as  TVs.  Bring  the  storytellers  together).    

10. The  digital  divide  is  no  longer  a  useful  metaphor.  Reality  is  more  complex.    
These  propositions  were  validated  and  expanded  by  curating  and  blogging  discussion  at  the  SEEFA  symposium  
on  ˜Transforming  not  excluding  “  the  impact  of  information  technology  and  innovation  on  later  life‘.  The  blog  
post  was  then  republished  on  the  Age  Action  Alliance  site  -­‐  which  gave  us  further  confidence  in  the  content.  
From  the  provocations  we  distilled  these  c hallenges:  
1.

Promote  greater  understanding  of  ways  that  technology  is  changing  the  world  that  we  all  live  in  

2.

Influence  current  digital  inclusion  programmes  towards  an  approach  that  recognises  the  importance  
of  familiar  technology,  mobile  devices,  and  personalised  routes  towards  adoption.  

3.

Encourage  and  support  organisations  in  the  ageing  field  in  the  use  of  social  technology    

4.

Facilitate  conversations  and  stories  that  make  it  easier  to  develop  inclusive  discussion  of  digital  
inclusion  and  innovation  

5.

Make  better  use  of  existing  assets  -­‐  research,  practical  experience  and  innovative  projects  that  could  
be  scaled.  

6.

Promote  ways  to  introduce  innovation  into  the  Big  Lottery  Fund‘s  Ageing  Better  programme,  and  
other  programmes.  

Insights  from  the  symposium  provided  a  finer-­‐grain  understanding  of  the  challengers.  There  was  discussion  
about  constant  re-­‐inventing  of  the  wheel,  lack  of  collaboration,  and  a  culture  that  does  not  favour  innovation.  
These  insights  are  summarised  here.  

3  

Ideas platform
We  created  an  ideas  platform,  provided  some  starter  ideas,  and  invited  additional  ideas,  comments  and  votes  
from  the  Digital  Inclusion  Group  and  others.  The  ideas  forum  is  here:  http://goo.gl/TD5xxf  and  also  embedded  
in  the  exploration  site.  
 

 

Mapping
When  we  started  the  exploration  one  of  the  key  aims  was  that  we  should  map  organisations  and  assets  in  the  
field  in  order  to  plan  how  to  promote  sharing  of  experience,  cooperation  and  collaboration.  We  introduced  the  
development  of  challenges  and  ideas  to  the  process  in  order  to  get  some  focus  for  mapping  -­‐  on  the  basis  that  
you  don‘t  know  what  assets  and  collaborations  you  may  be  looking  for  unless  you  know  the  problem  or  
opportunity.  More  here  about  mapping.    

4  

Mapping ideas
After  generating  ideas,  we  used  the  kumu.io  network  mapping  software  to  demonstrate  how  ideas  can  be  
related.    
 

 

Mapping people, organisations and assets
The  next  logical  stage  would  be  to  consider  who  could  move  the  ideas  forward,  and  what  resources  there  
might  be.  In  order  to  do  that  -­‐  subject  to  further  funding  -­‐  we  could:  

● Extend  the  ideas-­‐gathering  process  to  engage  more  people  as  ideas  sponsors  or  supporters  
● Review  who  among  the  sponsors  and  supporters,  and  elsewhere,  might  have  enthusiasm  and  assets  to  
move  things  forward  

● Map  people,  organisations  and  assets  against  ideas  and  then  do  some  action  mapping to  develop  
pathways  for  further  development    

Below  is  an  example  of  a  map  that  we  developed  at  a  workshop  with  Southwark  borough  council,  to  explore  
how  a  council  could  develop  a  digital  participation  strategy  that  made  best  use  of  local  resources,  in  times  of  
austerity.    
Each  node  on  the  map  can  have  additional  information  about  resources  

5  

 

London  Borough  of  Southwark  –  map  from  workshop    
 

 
 
 

Reality check
However,  before  going  down  the  route  of  mapping  organisations  and  resources  for  Ageing  Better,  we  needed  
to  consider  just  what  is  involved  in  bringing  ideas  to  fruition.  We  need  a  framework  for  relating  the  big  picture  
of  programmes  for  ageing  better,  and  digital  inclusion,  to  the  reality  of  people  adopting  technology.  There  are  
substantial  barriers  to  organisations  engaging.  Here  are  the  ones  blogged  from  the  SEEFA  symposium,  and  
then  republished  by  Age  Action  Alliance:  
Culture  

● Organisations  operate  in  a  highly  competitive  funding  environment,  so  they  are  reluctant  to  share  
ideas  that  might  be  used  by  someone  else  in  a  bid  

● Funders  and  sponsors  want  organisations  to  demonstrate  how  their  resources  produced  results.  
Collaboration  could  dilute  that.  

● Organisations  want  to  promote  their  work  and  profile.  
● There  is  comfort  in  staying  within  your  professional  silo  
● Managers  want  to  control  and  deliver  “  not  encourage  innovation  and  exploration  that  might  not  meet  
targets  

● Government  wants  scale  and  it  is  easier  to  do  that  through  one-­‐size  rather  than  personalisation  
● Senior  people  in  London-­‐based  organisations  are  more  easily  able  to  go  to  events  and  network  with  
policy  people  and  funders  than  people  outside  London.  There‘s  not  much  incentive  for  the  London  
circle  to  share.  

● Networking  is  what  you  do  to  increase  your  knowledge  and  influence  -­‐  not  to  help  connect  others  with  
ideas  and  opportunities  

Technology  

● While  social  technology  does  not,  on  its  own,  enable  cooperation  and  sharing,  it  makes  it  far  more  
possible,  and  among  those  who  use  it  engenders  a  culture  for  that.  

6  

● Most  organisations,  and  their  staff,  in  this  field  are  trapped  in  old  tech  systems  designed  for  a  different  
age.  Even  if  they  want  to  use  social  tech  they  may  not  be  able  to.  

● Learning  has  to  be  done  in  people‘s  own  time,  often  with  their  own  devices  
● Where  social  media  is  used,  it  is  mainly  for  broadcast  and  marketing,  rather  than  sharing  useful  
resources  

● Unless  people  are  using  social  technology,  they  don‘t  know  what‘s  possible  
The  other  challenge  for  any  programmes  promoting  the  use  of  digital  technology  for  ageing  better  is  that  all  
adoption  of  technology  is  personal,  as  explored  in  this  series  of  blog  posts.  Unless  people  have  the  connection,  
skills,  interest,  confidence  and  support  -­‐  in  various  measures  -­‐  they  will  not  be  able  to  engage  with  complex  
offerings.  There  are  excellent  courses,  online  centres  and  tutors  through  these  two  programmes  in  particular  -­‐  
Digital  Unite  and  Tinder  Foundation    -­‐  but  they  may  not  meet  the  needs  of  older  people  because,  for  example,  
there  may  be  an  emphasis  on  using  computers  for  work-­‐related  activities,  when  the  individual‘s  starting  point  
may  be  Skype  on  a  tablet  or  TV.  Similar  issues  may  arise  with  other  local  programmes.  It  is  difficult  for  them  to  
provide  individual  pathways  for  older  people.  
Tony  Watts,  chair  of  the  South  West  Forum  on  Ageing,  addressed  the  issue  in  an  article  on  the  Age  Action  
Alliance  site:  
For  instance,  huge  amounts  of  money  were  spent  in  our  country  on  encouraging  people  to  go  into  libraries  
and  learn  how  to  use  Microsoft  Word,  on  clunky  personal  computers  that  would  put  off  any  first  time  user.  
Many  have  been  put  off  because  they  have  been  made  to  feel  that  they  are  too  old,  too  stupid  to  be  part  of  
the  digital  world.  
I  speak  to  so  many  older  people  who  tell  me  they  have  given  it  a  go,  but  they  found  it  complicated,  even  
bewildering.  They‘ve  now  forgotten  what  they  were  taught,  and  the  computer  their  son  or  daughter  bought  
them  lies  unused.  Or  that  -­‐  yes,  they  do  have  a  computer,  but  they  only  go  on  once  a  day  to  see  if  they  have  
any  emails,  and  that‘s  as  far  as  they  feel  able  to  go.   
There  have  to  be  clear  benefits.  Tony  goes  on  to  argue  that  digital  health  and  care  programmes  and  apps  can  
provide  a  good  route  to  digital  inclusion  -­‐  something  we  return  to  later.  

New frameworks
The  Tinder  Foundation  has  a  powerful  infographic  here  summarising  the  Digital  Divide:  who  is  online  and  who  
is  not;  what  people  are  doing;  what  actions  are  needed.  
 

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The  exploration  into  tech  and  ageing  better  suggests  that  we  need  other  additional  frameworks  to  
complement  this  landscape  view.  

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Grey Cells
The  Grey  Cells  initiative,  being  developed  by  William  Barker  and  his  team  in  the  Department  for  Communities  
Local  Government,  drops  down  to  a  finer  focus  on  areas  for  service  transformation,  and  what  works  in  
different  programme  areas.  

 
Image  original  here  
As  I  wrote  here:    
On  the  left  side  of  the  diagram  is  stuff  that  government  has  to  get  right,  including  access,  affordability,  
usability,  and  standards  “  and  on  the  right  are  the  activities  government  wishes  to  support  and  hopes  other  
people  will  get  right.  These  include  health  and  well-­‐being,  community  participation,  quality  of  life,  
supporting  learning,  and  economic  and  working  choices.  
Each  of  the  Grey  Cells  has  links  to  back  up  documents,  and  William  explains  on  the  Public  Service  
Transformation  Network  blog  how  they  developed  the  framework.  
The  Grey  Cells  initiative  started  with  a  focus  on  older  people  and  technology,  but  now  offers  an  overall  
framework  for  digital  engagement.  The  framework  is  backed  up  by  a  really  impressive  database  of  local  case  
studies  and  good  practice,  a  resource  pack,  as  well  as  results  from  a  number  of  events.  More  links  in  this  post.  

A person-centred approach
Grey  Cells  provide  a  framework  for  policy,  programmes  and  projects  -­‐  but  what  does  the  world  look  like  for  an  
individual  in  the  middle  of  the  right  hand  cells?  They  will  be  attempting  to  cope  with,  and  possibly  adopt,  
technologies  in  some  or  all  of  the  cells.  We  need  another  layer  to  the  framework,  and  health  and  wellbeing  
provides  a  good  route  for  exploring  what  that  might  look  like.  
In  his  article  Tony  Watts  outlines  a  vision  of  joined-­‐up,  connected,  citizen-­‐centred  care  that  provide  one  strong  
rationale  for  adopting  digital  technology:  
My  vision,  and  that  shared  by  a  rapidly  growing  number  of  people,  is  to  equip  every  older  person‘s  home  
that  requires  it  with  a  piece  of  equipment  -­‐  a  tablet  or  smart  TV  -­‐  that  enables  them  to  connect  with  their  
doctor  or  health  visitor  through  Skype.  

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Moreover,  this  equipment  is  fed  by  sensors  that  enable  their  vital  signs  …  blood  sugar  or  oxygen  level,  
heart  rate,  temperature…  constantly  monitored,  with  any  alerts  being  sent  to  a  network  of  carers  …  
family  and  neighbours  possibly  as  well  as  their  hospital  or  doctor.  
Their  whole  living  environment  could  also  be  monitored  -­‐  the  room  temperature,  whether  or  not  they  had  
remembered  to  turn  off  the  oven,  whether  they  have  gone  out  of  the  home,  or  got  out  of  bed,  opened  the  
fridge  that  morning  to  get  food…  
As  their  needs  change,  or  technology  advances,  new  apps  can  be  loaded.  It  evolves  with  THEIR  needs.   
That  person-­‐centred  care  requires  a  surrounding  ecosystem  of  engagement  and  support  -­‐  as  does,  for  
example,  the  use  of  technology  to  combat  social  isolation.  To  make  best  use  of  technology,  people  will  need  to  
adopt  the  mix  of  technologies  that  suits  them,  as  I  suggested  here:    
Instead  of  planning  how  we  get  more  people  into/onto  the  Internet  (digital  inclusion),  accept  many  won‘t  go  
there,  and  think  in  more  detail  about  the  networks  of  information  and  relationships  we  each  inhabit,  served  
by  lots  of  different  media.  Then  work  through  how  to  improve  that  experience  in  different  cases  (social  
inclusion).  
From  that  social  ecology  perspective,  the  challenge  is  how  to  help  people  build  the  blend  of  newspapers,  
magazines,  phone  calls,  visits,  relationships  and  maybe  online  activities  that  is  right  for  them.  
Roz  Davies  has  developed  a  model  that  relates  the  individual  to  the  surrounding  programmes  and  support  
services,  writing  here:  
The  diagram  below  presents  a  vision  of  patient-­‐centred  care  with  the  house  of  care  in  the  centre  surrounded  
and  supported  by  a  ring  of  digital  health  tools  and  connected  to  citizens/patients  and  communities  by  a  ring  
of  citizenship  approaches.
 

 

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On  these  models,  we  need  ways  to  help  people  develop  their  personal  ecology  of  content,  tools  and  
relationships,  and  then  also  ways  to  develop  the  wider  social  ecologies  of  services,  connections  and  support.  
The  idea  of  social  ecosystems  is  explored  here.  

Conclusions from the exploration so far - and where next
We  think  that  we  can  conclude:  

● There‘s  lots  of  opportunities  for  innovation  and  use  of  tech  for  ageing  better  -­‐  but  it  is  difficult  to  move  
forward  on  a  broad  front  because  of  cultural  and  other  barriers  in  organisations  in  the  ageing  and  
inclusion  industries.  There‘s  great  work  being  done  -­‐  but  also  much  re-­‐inventing  of  the  wheel.  
Competition  for  funding  inhibits  cooperation.  Lack  of  familiarity  with  technologies  limits  development  
taking  account  of  the  consumer  adoption  of  mobile  tech.  As  this  blog  post  summarised,  the  energy  is  
around  people  apps  and  connectors  -­‐  not  organisations.  

● We  need  a  shift  of  metaphor  and  framework  from  digital  divide.  Instead  of  thinking  how  to  get  people  
to  learn  about  computers,  we  need  to  focus  on  how  to  help  people  adopt  just  enough  tech  for  their  
needs,  and  how  to  support  that.  The  models  needed  are  personal  and  social  ecologies.  

● We  now  need  to  experiment  at  several  different  levels:  the  individual,  the  surrounding  social  network  
and  support  system,  and  in  programmes.  

Overall,  the  issue  is  Living  Well  with  Technology  -­‐  rather  than  Bridging  the  Digital  Divide.  
Here  are  several  ideas  for  moving  forward:  

● Use  the  workshop  games  and  simulations  that  we  have  been  developing  for  our  Living  Lab  to  help  
people  play  through  the  options  at  different  levels,  and  then  turn  the  games  into  kits.  

● Test  the  ideas  at  a  neighbourhood  level  
● Explore  the  scope  for  work  with  partnerships  in  the  Ageing  Better  programme,  or  with  towns  and  cities  
aiming  to  create  Age  Friendly  places.  

Kits, games and ecologies
This  exploration  is  part  of  our  Living  Lab,  where  we  have  been  developing  workshop  games  to  model  choosing  
and  using  technology  in  the  different  levels  or  ecologies  that  we  have  identified.  For  example  we  addressed:  

● How  older  people  can  use  digital  technology  for  personal  well-­‐being:  we  ran  a  workshop  with  Age  UK  

London  around  some  fictitious  characters  to  show  how  a  kit  could  help  them  explore  and  adopt  digital  
technology.  

● How  community  enablers  may  use  digital  technology:  in  2012  we  used  the  fictitious  town  of  Slapham  
(later  renamed  Slipham)  as  the  setting  for  this  exploration  into  how  community  enablers  can  blend  
digital  technology  with  face-­‐to-­‐face  activity.  We  have  since  updated  this  game  in  work  with  Croydon  
Voluntary  Action.  

● Tackling  social  isolation  in  a  locality:  in  this  workshop  a  semi-­‐fictitious  partnership  plans  how  to  use  

digital  technology  to  promote  wellbeing  and  tackle  social  isolation  without  special  funding:  austerity  
innovation.  Full  report.  

The  games  generally  use  a  system  of  cards  that  include  personas  to  start  discussion  around  people‘s  needs  and  
interests  

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The  games  can  be  developed  into  kits,  by  linking  activities  and  tools  to  how-­‐tos.  We  have  experimented  with  
an  online  system  that,  if  developed,  would  enable  people  to  create  their  own  package  of  appropriate  tools  and  
guidance.  

Locality Labs
There  may  be  opportunities  in  testing  ideas  locally:  

● We  are  currently  working  with  Croydon  Voluntary  Action  on  local  mapping  of  resources,  and  enabling  

community  connectors  with  social  technology.  This  could  show  the  potential  for  developing  supportive  
networks  for  wellbeing.  

● Previous  work  on  Age  Friendly  localities  could  provide  a  way  into  working  with  one  or  more  other  
localities.  

● The  South  East  Forum  on  Ageing  have  invited  us  to  discuss  possible  support  for  their  work,  following  
the  recent  seminar  reported  here,  and  we  are  also  in  discussion  with  Positive  Ageing  in  London.    

Ageing Better partnerships
The  original  spark  for  the  exploration  was  Big  Lottery  Fund‘s  £82  million  programme,  and  the  apparent  lack  of  
digital  innovation  or  provision  for  sharing  of  knowledge.  

Summary  of  blog  posts  

One  or  more  of  the  partnerships  that  receive  confirmation  of  funding  in  April  might  be  a  testbed  for  our  ideas,  
if  they  are  interested.  On  the  other  hand,  there  are  some  15  partnerships  that  failed  in  their  bids,  but  may  still  
be  trying  to  innovate  without  special  funding.    
The  game  referred  to  above  was  designed  to  simulate  this  situation,  and  was  run  successfully  at  a  seminar  
with  Globalnet21  and  LGIU.  

Overall design and development challenge
The  key  issue  seems  to  us  to  be  how  to  help  people  use  technology  for  Living  Well  in  different  contexts,  for  
example:  



With  no  immediate  local  support  
Through  friends  and  family  
Where  there  may  be  local  projects  –  whether  community  development  or  tech-­‐related  
In  a  location  where  there  is  a  major  programme  like  Age  Friendly  places  or  Ageing  Better  

We  can  prototype  what’s  needed  using  the  games  described  above  by:  


Developing  a  number  of  personas  to  fill  out  what  Living  Well  with  technology  may  mean  to  different  
people  –  as  we  did  in  the  workshop  with  Age  UK  London  
Then  exploring  what  support  might  be  provided  in  different  contexts  –  for  example,  as  we  did  with  
the  fictitious  town  of  Slipham    
Further  exploring  what  digital  capabilities  are  needed  by  people  who  may  help,  in  different  roles:  for  
example,  friend  or  family  member,  professional  health  or  care  support,  trainer,  community  enabler.  

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Next steps
As  a  first  step  we  are  circulating  this  report  to  people  who  have  been  involved  in  the  exploration,  and  to  
members  of  the  Age  Action  Alliance  Digital  Inclusion  Group.  Then,  subject  to  feedback,  we  will  follow  up  action  
at  the  levels  identified  above.  
David  Wilcox  david@socialreporter.com  
Drew  Mackie  drew@drewmackie.co.uk  
 
 
 
 
 

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