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Bringing Fall Prevention Ideas to Life: A Design Sprint with Challenge Sponsors

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At the end of the Ideas phase of OpenIDEO’s Challenges, two big things emerge to make sense of: 1) the sheer volume of creative ideas that come in and 2) the feedback gathered from Challenge Sponsors, the Advisory Panel, and others. This synthesis guides The OpenIDEO team and Challenge Sponsors toward a shortlist of ideas that will move to the Refinement phase.

This moment in a Challenge is especially exciting because it’s when things get tangible and when insights become ideas. In the Fall Prevention Challenge, the OpenIDEO team put on a workshop with our Challenge sponsors – AARP Services Inc. (ASI), the for-profit subsidiary of AARP, and UnitedHealthcare (UHC) – a feedback session with our Advisory Panel, and a four-day design sprint in Nashville, Tennessee, that helped us gather insights. Farzad Azimpour, MD, Director of Health, Biodesigner & Cardiologist at IDEO, and a member of the Advisory Panel said, 

"It was validating to see both the volume of ideas entered into the Fall Prevention Challenge, and the quality of contextualized feedback from other members of the advisory panel. I’m optimistic as the shortlisted ideas enter into prototyping and refinement phases."

An integral piece of our Challenges are experts providing guidance along the way, and for this Challenge, we even had some of our experts bring a few ideas to life. And now we want to highlight how that went down. ASI and UHC selected nine ideas from the Challenge to prototype and test with caregivers during a design sprint in Nashville, facilitated by stoke.d. Ideas for prototyping were selected based on their fit with the Evaluation Criteria – found in the Challenge Brief.

The design sprint was four days of ASI and UHC teams reviewing the idea, prototyping, testing the concepts with users, and refining and iterating upon the prototypes to test them again. The prototypes were medium-resolution apps, storyboarding/low-resolution experimental prototypes, prototype card sorts and low-resolution wearables.


All ideas were tested with caregivers on desirability, need-base and how they perceived the solution integrating into their loved ones’ (and their own) lives. Interviews with caregivers started with empathy – asking questions to understand their needs around a particular solution. This process, of creating prototypes and gathering feedback, uncovered some fascinating insights:

  • The ability to regain mobility in places that were previously too difficult has the potential to restore dignity and independence in care recipients.
  • Ideas fell into a “fall-risk spectrum” where some had the potential of creating more impact at a particular risk level.
  • Caregivers were generally interested in solutions that adjust the surfaces in their environment.
  • Ideas that resonated most with caregivers were those that treated their loved ones with dignity and were unobtrusive in their daily lives.
  • Low barriers for learning, perceived as “low-tech,” appear to be easily integratable into users lives.
  • Caregivers want products that engage other family members.
  • As polypharmacy is a concern for falls, some caregivers are interested in solutions that can provide informational tools about becoming more aware about medication side effects that could lead to a fall.
  • Caregivers were concerned about the medical system “lag” in documenting their up-to-date medication lists with pharmacists and would be interested in a solution that kept their records current.


The insights gathered during these four days – combined with the feedback from the Advisory Panel, ASI, and UHC – were instrumental in creating our set of 40 innovative and promising Refinement phase ideas. More importantly, the thoughts we’ve synthesized continue to play a role in the evolution of the ideas and direction of our Challenge. 

Next up? We, ASI, and UHC are continually keeping up with the incredible progress of the ideas in the Challenge! Last week, we had another workshop with the Challenge Sponsors and gathered our second round of feedback from the Advisory Panel. The insights collected during this time will help shape our Top Ideas and Most Viable and Most Promising Awards (check out the Challenge Brief for a refresher on those).

Whether you have an idea in Challenge or are learning about this for the first time, jump into the Final Feedback phase and drop a comment on an idea that catches your eye.

See you in the Challenge!

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