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Healthy Ageing Challenge: Community Champion Update #4

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Annie Lin is our current volunteer Challenge Community Champion. You'll see her popping up across the Healthy Ageing Challenge with handy tips and words of encouragement – and posting community updates here like a true champion!


As we move from the Inspiration phase to the Ideas phase, I thought I'd share a few friendly tips on developing great ideas for the Healthy Ageing Challenge. The keypoints are: brainstorm, prototype, approach elders, and iterate!

1. Look over some of the Inspirations that have been submitted. 

The Inspiration phase for this challenge really saw some amazing stories and examples of healthy ageing. It's definitely worth glancing at some of them if you haven't already, as a jumping off point for coming up with ideas for new services, products, environments, and resources to help people age well  If you're short on time, have a look at this Healthy Ageing halo exploring the various factors impacting the ageing process, or my earlier blog post summarizing some major themes emerging from the Inspirations.

2. Brainstorm. 

With the Inspirations in mind, it's time to come up with Ideas! OpenIDEO's Tips for Ideas presents great questions (such as “How might we design small nudges or bigger behavior changes to help people kickstart their efforts to live actively?”) to get your creative ideation juices flowing for the Healthy Ageing Challenge. And remember: brainstorming is about collecting all your thoughts — even (or especially) crazy thoughts— while deferring judgment for those thoughts. It's about getting as many ideas down as possible. For tips on better brainstorming, check out this handy guide and this Brainstorm in a Box toolkit put together by the OpenIDEO team.

You can brainstorm on your own, although it's often more effective and more fun to brainstorm with other people so you can build off of each other's ideas. That's why I'd highly recommend participating in an OpenSTORM session, which is a laid-back, fun, and face-to-face brainstorming session. I'll be holding at least one OpenSTORM for the Healthy Ageing Challenge in the upcoming days in the San Francisco area — please let me know if you're interested in participating! I also encourage you to organize your own OpenSTORM session: it's a great way to meet people in your community.

3. Prototype. 

As mentioned in OpenIDEO's tips for better brainstorming, an excellent way to brainstorm is to make your thoughts as visual and concrete as possible. This could mean putting ideas on colorful post-it's, or (better yet) creating quick drawings or simple 3-d models out of your ideas. Draw or make such a quick prototype of your idea even if you've not yet fleshed out the details! The more concrete you can make it, the more likely it will inspire other ideas and the easier it will be for other people to provide relevant feedback for your ideas (see “approach potential users” below). As you get feedback, continue tweaking your prototype or creating new ones to reflect what you've learned. For more information on the value of prototyping, see this story — submitted in an earlier OpenIDEO challenge — about how rapid prototyping helped Amazon become the huge success that it is today.

4. Approach potential users (elders, in this case). 

One of the great things about the Healthy Ageing Challenge is how personal and relatable it is: almost everyone intimately knows and cares about an elderly person. Take advantage of this! Once you've thought out your ideas more, bring them directly to the people who might actually use them — seniors. We've already seen how directly talking to elders can provide great inspirations and insights (see these two examples from the Inspirations phase: Live Life Like My Grandmother and Live Healthy Feel Young), and the Ideas phase is no different. Show your ideas to elders in your life (this is another reason prototyping your ideas is so valuable: so people have something concrete to interact with and can understand your ideas more thoroughly), and get their feedback on what they like, what they don't like, and suggestions for improvement.

5. Iterate (or: rinse and repeat the above). 

The OpenIDEO process for problem-solving is all about continual, collaborative tweaking and improvement of ideas. Incorporate good feedback you receive from the elders you approach, peers you talk to, and other OpenIDEO community members. Almost all of the winning ideas OpenIDEO has seen (such as this concept from the Workplace Wellness Challenge) are the result of multiple modifications based on feedback from others. Definitely take advantage of the great “Virtual Teams” feature on OpenIDEO: it allows you to easily recognize other community members who have contributed insights to the most current versions of your ideas!

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Community Champions , Healthy Ageing Challenge

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Photo of Meena Kadri

Love how you've highlighted aspects of our OpenIDEO process like exploration, collaboration, iteration and inclusivity. Any musicians out here? I feel like we could turn our process into a song! ;^)