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Generations Day: Older Persons, Younger Selves - Photo Button Fun!

On this day what if the elderly wore a photo button of themselves as young kids? And if kids wore photo buttons of their grandparents ?

Photo of Avi Solomon
18 15

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The "elderly" in many societies are being short-changed even if all their physical needs are being met. They have a lot to share but nobody cares to simply listen to their stories. We need to find ways to break this ice and initiate compassionate interactions in which everyone is the beneficiary.

A "Generations Day" could be celebrated worldwide and everyone would wear a photo button in honor of the elderly. The elderly would wear photo buttons of themselves as young kids. The young would wear photo buttons of their grandparents.

The simple act of the elderly wearing a photo button of themselves as a young child could trigger a smile of understanding and a conversation of mutual benefit.

As a mark of solidarity and empathy with the elderly (and their own future self) the young could make and wear a photo button of their grandparents.

What would happen if Justin Bieber got inspired to wear a photo button of his grandfather to commemorate this day?!

Many thanks to Ardyn Halter for helping refine this concept.

How might your idea scale and spread to reach as many people as possible?


Besides WOM, people could post and share photos of themselves wearing the photo buttons on a dedicated "Generations Day" website.

A virtual registry of elderly people available for photo button "adoption" by younger kids (many of whom may not have living grandparents) is also a possibility.

A list of local "Generations Day" events would be disseminated on the website.

The photo buttons could also have magnets on their backs, enabling them to be stuck onto the fridge to trigger additional conversations with the elderly person throughout the rest of the year.

How might your idea attract and involve partners from health care, business, government, nonprofit or other sectors?


"Generations Day" could be organized by the social welfare office of every municipality or district throughout the world.

Companies like Nikon, Sony, Hallmark, Picture People, Instagram, Etsy or Yahoo! could sponsor the production of the actual photo buttons and publicize the "Generations Day".
 
Making the buttons could be an exciting classroom activity in every school. Every child could "adopt" their own grandparent, an elderly resident from a local retirement home or from a virtual registry of elderly people available for "adoption" on the "Generations Day" website.

How might you design an early experiment or prototype to further develop your idea?


I'm making a photo button as we speak:)

18 comments

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Photo of Christine
Team

Great idea! I notice all too often that people forget to realize that older people who may not have the same capabilities as they used to were at one point young. It would be a great conversation starter to get a view into their younger life by seeing a photo of them.

I wonder if there's a way to archive this, or bring it into a digital realm where people can be inspired by it all throughout the year and not just on generations day?

Photo of Nick
Team

Avi - a local artist just launched a new effort here in Virginia to photograph veterans. It's right in line with your idea!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1181935030/veteran-portrait-project-when-we-were-young?ref=category

Mark Mitchell is photographing vets along with a picture of their younger selves to showcase who they are before and after war.

Photo of Meena
Team

Great share, Nick! For me, the photos of real people aspect of Avi's idea resonates more than the morphing of one's own photo into the future. (I asked a few teenagers about this and they also thought that the morphing option might end up becoming a bit of a joke and overshadow the conversations and connections triggered by the photos of real seniors)

Photo of Avi
Team

Thanks Nick, awesome find! I find the photos of people when they were children to be more expressive of their life potential, providing contrast with the current self seasoned by the experience of living a long life.

Meena, I agree with you that the morphing ideas is distracting. I've updated the concept to keep it focused on the real photos and the dialogue they trigger.

Photo of Avi
Team

Tom Hussey also has a brilliantly executed series on the same theme: http://www.tomhussey.com/#/SERIES%20%20/Reflections/1

Photo of Christian
Team

Avi, this is great. I have two young daughters and it saddens me to see them growing up without their grandparents nearby (I like boosting this connection).

Photo of Avi
Team

Thanks Christian!

Photo of Yan Liang
Team

Great idea Avi! I definitely felt that this was a problem for my grandparents. Any ideas on how this would scale not just in terms of participants, but to the larger part of the year so people keep up their commitment and involvement with the seniors around us?

Photo of Avi
Team

Thanks Yan!

Maybe the photo buttons could also have magnets on the back? They could then be up on the fridge the rest of the year to act as triggers for reconnecting?

Photo of Jaclyn
Team

I love this idea! I frequently spend time on reddit (http://www.reddit.com) while taking work breaks, and some of my favourite posts are when people put up a picture of their parents or grandparents from when they were their age. It's so easy to forget/dismiss that older relatives were once the same age as us. Seeing younger pictures of them is a really impactful way to remind people of this.

I'm working on developing a pendant for seniors that is equipped with the latest tech, and one challenge we are facing is how to make it appealing to seniors to wear. An idea that was suggested to us was to allow seniors to put pictures of themselves in it at a younger age so that they have positive memories/emotions tied to the device. I think using pictures is an incredibly powerful way to get a message across.

Photo of Avi
Team

Thanks Jaclyn, Amulyte looks awesome!

Photo of Luciano
Team

hi, dig that this is super easy to do now. quick clarifying question - what about adding more than a photo (of oneself)? i'm thinking in terms of a "symbol" that represents something important to them somehow (ie, religion, country of origin, favorite math equation)? Or, perhaps a scan code that when someone takes a pic of it, it links to their homepage or favorite sushi restaurant? ;-)

Photo of Avi
Team

Thanks Luciano. A photo provides a universal appeal, with no barriers of abstraction or language. Everyone's free to wear additional photo buttons with any kind of symbol that's important to them though:)

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on this post being today's onsite Featured Idea!

Photo of Meena
Team

Love this, Avi. We recently had a really bad storm where I live in New Zealand – and as disasters do – it got people talking more in the neighbourhood. I spoke to neighbours I'd never talked to before... and one of the great things was hearing more about the history of our neighbourhood from older folks in the community. Got me thinking... we need better excuses to have these conversations than a disaster. And boom! Along comes your fab idea. Great stuff. Looking forward to seeing how things develop...

Photo of Alejandro
Team

This is a great idea, even for the holiday's market, they have days for love, parents, kids, but haven't explored the grandparents market. There could be cards, gifts, all kinds of merchandise could have many sponsors

Photo of Chelsea
Team

Agreed. This is a wicked idea. Super simple, but could have a major impact and create major opportunities. Targeting empathy and understanding is such a natural place to begin with this challenge. I can imagine taking initiative on creating a button would begin in arts-focused communities/ demographics. For some it might be a little overwhelming imaging how you even go about making one. Maybe a super-visual "how-to" on a website? I can totally see this taking off on various forms of social media as well, as people post awesome portraits with their buttons.

Photo of Karoline
Team

I actually just love this idea. Imagine all the conversations it would spark. When you visit someone in their home, one of the best things is to ask about the stories behind he old photos on the walls. This concept brings that connection opportunity outside the home, brilliant