What innovative ideas are our judges looking for?

Eight industry leaders and experts in technology, design, healthcare and ageing from across Europe comprise the judging panel of the Smart Ageing Prize.

The judges will decide the 15 semi-finalists and eventually the winners of the €50,000 prize.

Find out below what each of them is looking for in an application – it might just be helpful for your submission!

 

Gonçalo Rebelo de Andrade | Hovione Capital

How do you evaluate the impact of digital technology on the social lives of older people?

Digital technology’s impact on the social lives of older people is very positive as it allows longer active and independent lives, reduces loneliness and provides opportunities for improving standard of care for people at home.

How, do you think, digital technology best addresses their needs?

The needs for senior citizens can be better served by digital technology if solutions are simple and easy to use, provide text to audio and voice to text, to minimize user experience failures with older age. Needs served would be proximity services and basic needs like food, drink, medication and entertainment.

What kind of innovative ideas do you expect from the applications for the Smart Ageing Prize?

I am expecting novel services and products that address underserved needs, namely in mobility, shopping and healthcare. I would be surprised if there are no ideas that expand the suite of available options older citizens have available to cater for their needs and novel business models that would provide sustainable business proposals in the long-term.

Jackie Marshall-Cyrus | Jackie Marshall-Cyrus and Associates

How do you evaluate the impact of digital technology on the social lives of older people?

I believe there is no one criterion or tool by which the impact of digital technology on lives of older adults can be evaluated. The lives of older adults are multi-faceted (as across all population profiles) in terms of cultural values and mores, physical and mental health, lifestyles, beliefs, interests, and personal perspectives on how they wish to experience later life. The most basic parameters I believe might be a determination of self-esteem, social contacts and connections, a sense of purpose in life, as well as the ability to fulfill their wishes and aspirations

How, do you think, digital technology best addresses their needs?

The same way it addresses everyone else’s needs. The human need for loving, sharing, caring, giving, and receiving is innate in all of us. Putting digital technology to use to enable and sustain is imperative. However, I think the focus must move beyond the premise of “their needs”, and embrace the idea that people in all stages of the life course have wishes, aspirations, and dreams. We must acknowledge that people will contract and/or develop disease conditions be they physical, cognitive, or a combination of both. What makes the difference is the ability of the individuals and their significant others to continue to enjoy life they way they choose to.

What kind of innovative ideas do you expect from the applications for the Smart Ageing Prize?

I would hope to see ideas that challenge the status quo in terms of stereotypes around later life, the idea of need being the driver for development, the existing narrative, and conventional service frameworks. I would be thrilled to see ideas coming through that are truly innovative, embracing risk, with the potential for real value to customers as opposed to ‘older people’. I hope to see ideas that demonstrate in-depth analysis and insight into the issues that impact on the lives of people; ideas that will ensure that people are able to do what ill-health or disabilities prevent them from doing. In other words I hope to see ideas for products, services and systems that do not provide more of the same.

Shabs Rajasekharan | Smarter Futures

How do you evaluate the impact of digital technology on the social lives of older people?

I would consider both economic and social impact indicators (quantitative and qualitative) such as sales and retention of the service/product (i.e. free customers, paying customers, churn etc); QoL measures taken before and after use (for example using SF-12 or equivalent in a randomised trial) and any specific measures if there are one or two particular social activities in question (eg. Mobility or speech); and perhaps results of surveys and ‘mined’ feedback (eg. Amazon reviews and other forums such as reddit) just to get a sense of the future of the product. Of course, if the product is only months old and doesn’t have a lot of customers most of this goes out the window and I’d have to turn to black magic.

How, do you think, digital technology best addresses their needs?

The same way it would address mine and assuming its their number one need – it has to be integrated seamlessly on a social level and technical level i.e. when its completely unobtrusive, doesn’t disrupt their lives and they don’t have to spend hours trying to learn how to use it; and on a technical level, it works seamlessly with the other tech they use on a daily basis.

What kind of innovative ideas do you expect from the applications for the Smart Ageing Prize?”

I really want to see a prototype that doesn’t even work yet but has people queuing up for it. Also, I’d like to see new kinds of business models, rather than an “uber for older people”.

Norma Zanetti | Hyperborea Srl

How do you evaluate the impact of digital technology on the social lives of older people?

I do believe that a sound use of digital technology could effectively brings relevant benefits to older people if: 1) their actual needs are investigated in depth; 2) a participatory design involving developers, business players, end-users at different level (primary, secondary, tertiary) is performed in all the different phases of products development from co-design/co- creation to the product engineering stage; and, 3) value for money is duly considered.

How, do you think, digital technology best addresses their needs?

I do believe that some adjectives should be in the technical and business team vocabulary, namely: smartness, efficiency, usefulness, usability, etc. Complex is a word to be duly considered prior to think about the realisation of technical solutions. Most of the time complex is not a synonym of benefit.

What kind of innovative ideas do you expect from the applications for the Smart Ageing Prize?

I do expect the adoption of key enabling technologies to develop solutions for European and global challenges in the domain of active and assisted living and, especially, solutions that are capable of grasping the needs of older people, contributing to enhance their quality of life by, in parallel, relieving carers’ burdens.

Ilse Kryspin-Exner | University of Vienna

How do you evaluate the impact of digital technology on the social lives of older people?

1) To what extent are access, acceptability and usability of the ideas/devices reflected and to what extent is ethical criteria incorporated? 2) Is the selection of possible users considered? 3) How are quality of life and wellbeing operationalized?

How, do you think, digital technology best addresses their needs?

There are several need analyses already executed and published. Are these results considered in the submitted application?

What kind of innovative ideas do you expect from the applications for the Smart Ageing Prize?

“Innovative” for me means elaboration of something visionary and original based on knowledge of existing solutions. So I am curious for the proposals to come and don’t want to narrow my spectrum by special expectations.

 

Roland Pouillie | Flemish Agency for Care & Health

Digital technology – whether it is following a technology push or market pull strategy – needs to be in line with the current trends and demands in the elderly market, these are not only defined by the digital skills and experiences of the elderly person, but also determined by acceptability and necessity. We might say the key to success is to make an offer at the right place at the right time.

 

Henk Bakkerode | Eurocarers

Digital technology is a real challenge, particularly for older and frail people. But it can and will contribute to the quality of their social, mental and physical life. Innovative ideas should reckon with the preconditions which have to be fulfilled before application and should also be aware of the presumptions which are fostered, mostly implicitly, regarding the digital literacy of the user (whether this be an older person or their carers.)

 

Birgit Morlion | European Commission

Digital technologies present a huge opportunity to keep older people connected to our smart society. The digital applications and products should be designed and tested in close collaboration with the elderly in order to fulfil their real, daily needs. The technology should be in support of keeping elderly for longer mobile, active and thus healthier. Digital technology is an enabler and not an end in itself.  It should add quality of life to the extra years of life expectancy. I expect usable, simple, easy to use inventions where I say “Why didn’t I think of that?”

The Smart Ageing Prize will award €50,000 to innovative products and services that use digital technologies to support older people to participate fully in social life. Apply by 30 March to enter the prize.

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