Gretchen Addi is an Associate Partner and currently a business lead at IDEO in the Bay Area. She also provides mentorship and guidance to the Design Research discipline. Gretchen is passionate about the power of empathy and design and the people who make it happen, as well as the author of an internal point of view to better understand the needs of the aging population.
In OpenIDEO's Healthy Ageing Challenge , people from around the world have gathered together to talk about what health, wellbeing and aging looks like where they live and to design solutions that support people to thrive as they age.
As a designer, I see the topic of aging as one our greatest global priorities and challenges, and my colleagues at IDEO agree. Currently IDEO's community of designers is engaging in a conversation on opportunity areas for aging – with the goal of pushing the envelope on our thinking and refining our internal point of view.
One way we're doing that is through Designs On_Aging, the latest issue of IDEO's award-winning design innovation platform. Designs On_ advances global discussion in the creative community by presenting forward-thinking provocations on various subjects. Past Designs On_ topics have included Birth, Food, Global Warming and Packaging. This time around, we're tackling ageing from a variety of angles – thriving in place, adapting new technology, multi-generational approaches and more.
Designs On_ brainstorms and design charettes are happening at IDEO studios around the world; in the Bay Area, we used the OpenIDEO Healthy Ageing Challenge themes as thought-starters for our efforts. A couple of weeks ago we were lucky to host Barbara, a local 91 year-old product designer whose energy and passion for designing for ageing was inspiring to all of us. Here Barbara shares her insights with our designers to help clarify our design focus and purpose.
Some of the early provocations that arose in our brainstorm include an ankle bracelet that prompts careful walking around various objects in the home and an awareness campaign to teach those prone to falling how to do it safely:
IDEOers around the world will be pulling together Designs On_ inspiration and concepts over the coming weeks, with the final publication ready for everyone to view Fall 2013. Stay tuned – and keep up the great work in OpenIDEO's Healthy Ageing Challenge! Your stories, insights and ideas have been great inspiration for our own efforts to design for healthy ageing.