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!
Fine tuning (photo by David Kolmel, US Navy).
- Iteration is the name of the game. If your idea made it to the Top 20 shortlist - congratulations! But don't stop there. The Refinement phase is all about continuously making the idea even better, by building off the feedback that you've received from other OpenIDEO community members, the Mayo Clinic, friends and elders you've talked to, and other sources of inspiration. It's good to let the rest of the community know each time you update your idea, too, so they know when and how to further provide feedback. One effective way to do this is to add something like "Last updated on [date]" to your idea's title (see this example from the Workplace Wellness challenge)!
- Talk to seniors! I've mentioned this in my previous blog posts; I'm repeating it here because it's essential. OpenIDEO is all about human-centered design, which means that the real-life needs and behaviors of the end users (in this case: elders) need to be a critical driving force behind the ideation process. So, if you haven't yet spoken to a real-life senior about your idea, be sure to do so! Here are some (non-mutually-exclusive) ways you can engage elders:
(A) Simply describe your idea to them. Walk them through how it would work. Then, ask them what they like about the idea, and what they'd like to see changed about the idea. Ask them whether they would use the product/service/resource/program you're proposing, and what would make them more likely to use it.
(B) Create a sketch, simple 3D model, or basic working pilot of your idea and present that to an elderly person. This could literally be a picture you draw on a piece of paper, something you make out of glue and cotton balls and cardboard boxes, or a real-life simulation of what the product/service/resource/program might look like (for example, if your idea is about gathering elders together to share stories, actually gather together a small group of elders to share stories!). Observe and carefully document how the elders interact with the sketch, 3D model, or pilot. Get their feedback on what they like and don't like.
(C) If something similar to your idea already exists in real life, get information about how that existing product works and what its users think about it. For example, if you're proposing a skill-exchange program between elders and youngsters, you can chat with people who have participated in existing skill-exchange programs (like The Amazings or Skillshare). Ask them about their experiences in the program, what they like about it, what they would like to see changed, and what they think about your idea.
- Learn from the feedback given to other ideas too. While each idea is unique, there are often shared challenges and questions across ideas, such as how to make a platform more accessible to computer-illiterate seniors or how to make a product more scalable with limited resources. Taking a look at the kinds of feedback provided to other ideas than your own — and how others have responded to feedback — will help you develop your own idea more extensively.
- Help with ideas that aren't "yours." OpenIDEO is all about collaboration. That's why, for example, the Virtual Teams feature exists — to acknowledge all the helpful contributions made by community members who weren't the ones who originally uploaded the idea. Even if your idea didn't end up in the Healthy Ageing Challenge Top 20 shortlist (which doesn't at all mean your idea wasn't brilliant and relevant!), you can still contribute valuable insights and questions, working with other ideas' original authors to push those ideas forward!