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[Update 1/22: Persona & Prototype] CoWorking/CoLiving spaces for 50+ digital nomads all over the world

Create shared spaces & services to support 50+ digital nomads that combine global travel with remote work, study or entrepreneurship goals.

Photo of Linda Dorman
18 26

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it support the dreams and obligations of those 50 and older?

Those of us 50 and older increasingly find ourselves marginalized in the work force even though we need to continue to earn an income. By age 50, most of us no longer have children at home and are able to travel extensively, downsize our living space and explore new ways to learn and share our experience. Yet existing CoWorking/CoLiving spaces are designed to serve younger participants who have very different needs and preferences.

Talk to any digital nomad under age 40 and they'll convince you of the value of having a secure, well-equipped space to work, live and collaborate wherever they travel.

In addition to reliable Internet/WiFi access, printing, shipping and related business services, CoWorking/CoLiving spaces provide a wide array of services and activities to support people who work remotely or study online as well as entrepreneurs in the process of building their own business. These include coaching/mentoring, skills development, financial management/planning, ethics/sustainability, networking opportunities and support. Group activities range from yoga, cooking classes, tours, bike rental, sports, expert lectures and much more. 

But the existing spaces around the world are designed for a younger audience, making it less appealing for the 50+ community who need some of the same services - but often require quite different services as well. 

It is also important for the 50+ community to feel they fit in. Imagine a 30-year old walking into a retirement community, filled with people twice their age - well, that's how out-of-place a 50+ person feels when they visit existing co-working/co-living spaces. 

As more 50+ people embark on this lifestyle, whether they travel part-time or all the time, they will value CoWorking/CoLiving spaces that better meet their needs.

This opens up a whole new category for financial services to provide travel savings accounts, international debit/credit cards, funds transfers, payments, insurance, small business loans and a host of other products to a highly-targeted, motivated audience with existing assets.

What makes this concept exciting is that additional services can continue to be added over time, increasing the value for all who participate, and the concept can be modified to work in many different countries.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

• Deploy a design-thinking approach to identify specific needs and preferences for the 50+ customer. • Partner with a well-known organization that can drive initial funding to secure a test location (or multiple sites), develop staff/services and promote to the 50+ community. • Gather feedback from early adopters and refine the concept before roll-out to more markets.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

OpenIDEO's expertise modeling existing CoWorking spaces would be vital to creating a basic structure for modification. The community's global presence can provide valuable insight on how this might work in different countries and what additional services may be beneficial in a local market. Elements of other ideas in this challenge can also be incorporated to deliver a more comprehensive offering: • 50+ Maker Spaces • Employment & Intern Matching • Incubator Club • Home Here & There

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a 50+ digital nomad traveling the world working, studying & living in different countries. From 2003-2012, I served as VP, Global Strategy for a multi-national information services firm leading global expansion/digital innovation investment. Prior, I spent 7 years in B2B healthcare information.

Please check all that apply:

  • I'm not currently involved in a credit union, but am curious to learn more!

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone?

By 2020, over 40% of the US workforce will be contingent workers - that's nearly 60 million people! CoWorking spaces are designed to meet the needs of a younger audience but there’s a growing segment who would use such spaces if adapted for their needs/preferences. Think of it as a “delivery system” for all kinds of products & services tailored for the age 50+ audience in a trusted environment.

How might your idea be transferable to a large number of people?

CoWorking spaces perform best when designed for the local market, but there are common attributes that can be deployed across multiple markets, much like hotels & retailers follow a single brand strategy and allow for local customization, both in the US and abroad. Once the core framework is configured, each space can be adapted to fit local communities, based on research and user feedback. Credit union and MasterCard customers might also be offered discounts or free day passes to try it.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

Business performance metrics would be used to measure the impact: • Awareness & Response: initial inquiries, website visits, email newsletter opt-ins, concept testing (focus group research), social media metrics, PR/media coverage • Usage: Membership volume, #/frequency of visits, referrals, renewals, customer satisfaction surveys, competitor analysis • Financial: Revenue, profitability, partner participation/contribution

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

Assuming development would be resourced, the next step is to form a core team to: • Assess existing CoWorking spaces (or unused Credit Union office space) • Determine what products and services need to be adapted for the DN50+ audience and cultivate relationships with business partners who can provide these offerings • Develop a plan, budget, timeline and resource requirements to build out test market sites • Establish a mechanism to communicate and report on project progress against plan
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Attachments (2)

OpenIDEO Challenge - DN50+ Prototype.pdf

This document provides key findings from our initial market research, examples of existing co-working spaces in the US and abroad, and feedback from potential customers on what they would like to have in a co-working space.

OpenIDEO Challenge - DN50+ Persona.pdf

This document describes Susan, our example of the DN50+ customer.

18 comments

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Spam
Photo of patty kappmeyer
Team

I think of your idea as an updated/modernized hostel model for the 50 crowd.

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Linda!

I look forward to seeing how this idea develops in the refinement phase.

Spam
Photo of Linda Dorman
Team

Hi Kate,
I'm just getting around to really looking at all the ideas so apologies for not reaching out sooner but I wanted to run this past you since you've been involved in connecting dots between ideas. I think there may be an opportunity to link (or combine) my Co-Working Spaces & Services idea with Kim Upright's "Maker Spaces" and Lillian Warner's "Incubator" ideas to create a turnkey program (Collaborate > Fund > Make). I've reached out to both idea authors to see if they're interested in working together as we move forward with the refinement phase and wanted to get your thoughts on this. Thanks!

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Linda!

I hope you had a good start to the year.

There is definitely a link between the Maker Space and Incubator. I would definitely encourage collaboration, sharing ideas and feedback.

At this stage in the challenge with two weeks left, I would read through the Refinement Phase Toolkit and really focus on the user journey and think what step in the journey do I need to prototype and get feedback on.

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

There is a really good example of a user journey and a prototype of a section of the user journey in the Women's Pool Idea in İstanbul that might give you a few ideas - https://challenges.openideo.com/blog/experience-prototyping-preparations-for-womens-pool-idea

Also, there is an idea from a previous challenge on End-of-Life experiences that might give you a few ideas for the user journey:
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/end-of-life/top-ideas/respite-care-share
There is a very tenuous link to your idea.

I could see your idea working for people like this couple in Thailand mentioned in the research phases - Living in Asia at age 50+ is likely to achieve their dream easier? 

Spam
Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Welcome to the Refinement phase Linda! We've added new Refinement questions to your original submission that we'd love for you to answer. Please check out the Refinement Phase Toolkit for instructions on how to answer the new questions and other recommendations we encourage all idea teams to consider in the upcoming weeks.

Refinement Phase Toolkit: http://ideo.pn/2du9sf7

Lastly, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update: Experience Maps 12/21" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Linda!

This maybe a silly question but what does the 50+ digital nomad want from a co-working/co-living space that differs from the millenials/30 year-olds? Could it include services like advice on optimizing investments/pension disbursements, local health prevention options etc.?

Spam
Photo of Linda Dorman
Team

Hi Kate!
The ideal co-working space offers pay-as-you-go plans for daily/weekly/monthly usage or subscription packages that allow you to use space across multiple locations (cities). Co-working spaces are generally for travelers who need lots of business and personal services they tend to have at home, but not on the road. Also, to quickly plug-in to a community of people with shared interests. Pricing for co-living space is the same, and the price varies if it's a private room or shared. Think of this like a combined hostel + Regus shared office + community center type of environment where members can choose to live if they want/need to but also open to people who just need a work space and don't want to be alone.

Spam
Photo of Linda Dorman
Team

Hi Kate!
The test phase would include defining the set of services the 50+ audience wants but here are examples of how the services might be different for 50+ vs. Millenials, based on my own observations of what's available now. One of the companies I think is on the right track is WeWork/WeLive (www.wework.com) (www.welive.com).
50+ vs. Millenials
Uber/Shuttle service vs. Scooter/Bike rental
Low-fat/cholesterol food vs. Paleo/gluten-free food
Gentle yoga/stretching vs. Cross-fit/p90x training
Quiet rooms/low noise vs. Shouting/loud conversation
Asset optimization vs. Investment planning
Digital skills education vs. Management skills education
Private rooms vs. Dormitory/couchsurfing

Spam
Photo of Wingee Sin
Team

Hi Linda! I like your idea a lot, and also believe that it is a white space that would be beneficial in filling! Most folks when they retire they travel, but imagine if there is a program of work that can automatically match up career opportunities in the Elderhood? The co-working and co-living space can facilitate both the work opportunities and community for the work. I love that this can help people work longer if they choose to. (Which is the most effective way to save for retirement!)

My idea is around creating a personal pension for 50+, and given the nomadic nature of work, as you correctly pointed out, we need asset optimization products. I think it would work well in conjuction with your idea! Would love to collaborate!
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-longevity/refinement/leverage-the-trust-people-have-in-credit-unions-to-create-personal-pensions

Spam
Photo of Jessica Vechakul
Team

Hi Linda,
You've highlighted an important gap in the market. Do you think folks who are 50+ would appreciate co-working spaces even if they were not digital nomads? Perhaps that would expand the appeal of your concept. There may be entrepreneurs who need an affordable place to work and network and access resources in their local area. Hope to hear more about your idea! Best, Jess

Spam
Photo of Linda Dorman
Team

Hi Jessica,
Good observation! When I was living in Chicago, there were lots of co-working places such as my local library, community center, start-up hubs and Starbucks, of course, though none of these offered co-living space. However, the resources in my town may not exist elsewhere, so there may be an interest from people who live in other cities to have these dedicated spaces. It would be interesting to test this concept in different demographic markets.

Spam
Photo of Delisa Dyess
Team

Hi Linda,
I'm interested in your idea. Also...your experiences as a digital nomad. Are you still doing strategy and healthcare information as a nomad?

Spam
Photo of Linda Dorman
Team

Hi Delisa,
Thanks for reaching out. I think there are definitely common areas where our ideas can intersect. There are several different nomad styles - I choose to rent Airbnb apartments and live for 1 month in different cities in Europe and Asia so I can experience a variety of cultures while benefiting from monthly rental discounts. I am doing strategy projects as a nomad, in fact my value proposition to my clients is that I can travel and develop first-hand, highly-customized information on new market growth opportunities, competitor analysis, consumer behavior and trendspotting in countries outside the US at a very reasonable cost. Is this something you do, or are looking to do?

Spam
Photo of Delisa Dyess
Team

Hi Linda,
personally, yes I want to go back to being an independent, freelance worker. I have done it in the past and am looking to build that up to where it is financially similar or better than the current full time corporate employment. So very curious to learn from others that are currently making it happen. Would love to learn how you have approached it, through this forum or via LinkedIn or personal email.
Though this challenge targets an age range, I find it more of a mind-set/lifestyle and think it appeals to many who see more blurred lines.

As for the actual challenge, I think maybe I need to reframe. I also use Airbnb and others, I think what I'm really wanting to do is set up a new financial model. How do I keep my home and still do this? How can we make it more affordable? Like you mentioned, monthly rentals reduce rates but how else can we do it? I'm thinking about some sort of membership fee. I keep my house, and probably rent it out, and because I pay X $ into this membership I get to travel and live in other places both domestic and international for up to X days depending on membership level. Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Spam
Photo of Linda Dorman
Team

Hi Delisa,
Let's connect on LinkedIn and you can see my recent post on the process I used to become a digital nomad. Happy to discuss via email or Skype your thoughts....
Would a home exchange or house-sitting platform whereby people can keep their house and rent it out, or exchange with others when they travel, be an option?
In addition, there are a few membership clubs designed for nomads like Roam.
I'm also working with a start-up that will offer a membership club whereby members pay a flat fee and get a certain number of nights at any one of many hotels in different cities. They launch in January so I'm not sure how much I can say about them but it's an interesting concept.

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Linda, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

Spam
Photo of Linda Dorman
Team

Hi Kate,
I just added this image to make it more visually appealing - thanks again for your advice!