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The Sandwich Game (Updated 8/23!)

Let’s make it FUN and fulfilling to be in The Sandwich Generation! The Sandwich Game is a mobile app where sandwich parents share and earn prizes for all of the creative ways they’re making caring for their kids and parents engaging, healthy and FUN!

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Written by DeletedUser

According to the Pew Research Center just over 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition to about 1 in 7 providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.

The need to understand aging dynamics and how to develop healthy multi-generational family relationships increases dramatically as more parents live well into their 80s and 90s and families are dispersed across the country.

The point is everyone is going to be involved somehow, some way, in elder care. Coupled with raising your own children, the idea of taking on the many tasks involved in elder care can feel daunting and grow to become depressing if not managed within a healthy mindset and structure.

That’s where The Sandwich Game comes to life! I speak from experience (raising my 2 and 4 year old little boys while caring for my 74 year old live-in father whose suffered multiple strokes and recently was diagnosed with prostate cancer) when I say “I need some lightness, some levity, some laughs” on a daily basis…we all do!

I love my father. I love my kids. I love myself. I want us all to be happy. Trying to juggle their needs while maintaining my own life balance is definitely a challenge. So how do we find that ideal balance between all of these competing needs?

My inspiration for The Sandwich Game came through my own introspection into how to elevate this daily challenge. What activities, events and plans could I map out every day (my Day-Plan) to keep us all engaged and happy?

The Sandwich Game is a mobile application and gameplay experience where Sandwichers share how they engage and elevate each day with their kids and parents; a place to compete (ie who shares the best day of activities) while feeling rewarded and learning from other players the great ways they’re engaging with their kids and parents within their own city!

Every day players are encouraged to share what their Sandwich looks like, ie what their day plan of activities looks like. We will offer a visually stimulating input and viewing experience where players are literally (and digitally) building a sandwich to create the best, most exciting and delicious sandwich of the day!

Bread– The comforting, loving thing you did today?

Meat– The physical, body, growthful thing you did today?

Veggies– The healthy, helpful food thing you did today?

Cheese– The silly, fun thing you did today?

Spread– The brainy, learning thing you did today?


Jane has a bunch of great activities planned for the kids the next day that she thinks her father will equally enjoy given his limited mobility and personal range of interest. She opens up the Sandwich Game mobile app and starts building her virtual sandwich!

The user interface lets her select the day she is scheduling and then prompts her to add digital 'layers' or ingredients to her sandwich (ie graphical representation of items that makeup a yummy sandwich). Each layer also includes a place for adding a description for what the ingredient represents in terms of a daily activity.

Lynn can check out other players sandwiches and store ingredients in her own 'Food Pantry' for later usage. Lynn's pantry also includes ingredients from her own past sandwiches.

When creating a sandwich Lynn can therefore either a) add items from her own Food Pantry b) scan/search the community Food Pantry for ingredients or c) create a new sandwich by selecting/describing ingredients, such as below:   

For the 'Bread' she selects a Bagel to represent morning since when the kids wake up (at the crack of dawn) they'll put on their rain-boots to go and wake Pops up in his back studio.  Always a winning moment...

For the 'Meat' she picks Bacon because after she goes on a long walk with Pops he'll have earned something delicious like bacon, but maybe just a little because it's not that good for him :)

For the Veggies she adds Onions to represent the doctor appointment Pops has scheduled.  He's getting a new medicine which will probably make him want to cry (haha Onions) given the million pills he takes already.  Lynn's 4-year old comes to Doctor visits which is making him comfortable with aging and Doctor office visits.

For the Cheese....Cream Cheese obviously which to her will be the paint project she's going to do with the kids in the afternoon.  Her kids will put paint on their hands and make handprints on a long sheet of paper outside, while her father and her sip wine and enjoy a cheese plate and good conversation.  Fun for all! 

For the Spread she adds a drizzle of sweet tomato sauce as she's printed out a bunch of articles for her father to read in the evening about his latest topic of Nutmeg can be used to improve prostate health. Oh pops :)  

Note: while the above suggests a sandwich you'd actually want to eat, we should expect all sorts of yummy and yucky sandwich creations and visuals! 

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

The social platform and mobile gaming design of The Sandwich Game means at its very core structurally it’s built to be a self perpetuating / technically limitless share-able community experience with the gaming and social levers to encourage more activity and engagement from the players. The idea of gamifying this experience is about creating a rewarding feeling for the Sandwichers (the cheer we all need from time to time) while letting those that like competing engage in a spirited race for who did best, or most, when it comes to mapping out and experiencing a great day with their parents and kids. Rewards encourage more play. Healthy competition encourages more play. The Sandwich Game will be a daily 'go-to' app for Sandwichers which is exactly when mobile app word of mouth occurs ("you HAVE to check out this app"). Users can review each others Sandwiches to come up with new ideas, a significant value when coming up with a fresh set of activities that fulfills both the young and old can be quite a challenge. In addition, Sandwiches can be viewed at a city level so you can learn from others about the best places, activities and events in YOUR city. Both of these features creates stickiness (ie a need to come back and check regularly) and helps with viral spread, as users desire to find new and local ideas to add to their daily plan for activities. In addition, we envision incorporating an 'Events' components to the experience where Sandwichers can see daily available activities/events (offered by local partners or added by Sandwichers themselves!) in their local area and then add them into their Sandwich that day OR store in their pantry/cupboard if the event is coming up later in the week. As a Sandwicher myself, I spend significant time each day scouring the internet for creative ideas that would interest both my kids and father. Having a single place to find events custom made for their entertainment would be a VERY valuable service that would definitely add to the word-of-mouth spread. As our online community grows, so to does our ability to extend the value of the online experience into offline channels that entrench users well beyond their mobile screen. Our database of Sandwiches can re-purposed into multiple formats such as downloadable books or calendars (both as memory lane/momentos for individuals OR as as a 'best of' set of cards for educational/consumer use). In addition, we'll have the opportunity to organize and promote local meetups (including possibly groupon type offerings from local businesses) to encourage more physical connections and friendships formed between local Sandwichers. So where do we find these Sandwichers? According to Kathleen Bogolea, MS (the Director for the Family Caregiver Support Program) there are roughly 20 million Americans who are part of the Sandwich Generation with communities, organizations blogs and research forming at a rapid pace to address their unique needs, concerns and interests. We'll reach out to these Sandwichers by partnering with these supporting communities and organizations communicating the unique value proposition (utility combined with healthy fun) of The Sandwich Game and collaborate with them on how we can engage their members in a meaningful way. In addition, our partnership channels described below will serve as an amazing launching pad and outreach program for The Sandwich Game, in particular in our ability to create digitally compelling and value-added campaigns and programs with the partners in a way that resonates with this particular market demographic.

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

The theme of this challenge “How Might We All Maintain Wellbeing and Thrive as We Age” being sponsored by Mayo-Clinic is a telling sign that major health care providers and other large business and government partners are interested in ways to show their support for for educating, encouraging and enabling healthy aging. For each of these potential partners, we believe their is significant value in the aggregation and sharing of data related to these Sandwichers and the elderly they support. By offering an accumulation of daily activities, demographics and overall health of this population our Knowledge Bank can be used to: 1) Analyze demographics, activities and trends for healthy aging within this population 2) Provide data access to inform governmental/nonprofit research programmes 3) Distribute for educational purposes healthy daily activity plans (online/blogs, email/newsletters, books/mags etc) In terms of Corporate Sponsors, in addition to the knowledge access described above this community provides a place to engage and reward with members for their positive healthy aging contributions, creating a meaningful dialogue with this target demographic, the brass ring of sponsorship value. Specifically, Sponsors Opportunities include: 1) Promoting the most popular sandwiches within both The Sandwich Game community AND their own related properties 2) Hosting challenges within the communities (most creative, biggest, yummiest Sandwich) offering prizes 3) Providing educational/healthy tidbits to users after they submit a Sandwich as a non-monetary way to let the Sandwicher feel rewarded In terms of Local Businesses there are sticky opportunities to get involved from both a rewards perspective while promoting their own product/service offering, such as: 1) Offering rewards/prizes for the most popular sandwiches to the Sandwichers that let them feel pampered or appreciated (a manicure, a book etc)) 2) Offering discounts/coupons when their business product or service is included in the Sandwich Day-Plan 3) Promote their product/service as a 'Sponsored' ingredient, ie a specialist doctor that wants more business can be the 'Sponsored' sauce of the day!

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

Leveraging my background in bringing ‘Social Games for Good’ to life (see in addition to my personal experience creating Sandwiches (ie day-plans) for my 74-year old father and 2 kids, I would lead the requirements gathering, design and development of a iOS Mobile Application prototype, targeting one city for initial beta testing, feedback and refinement and then rolling out to other cities from there. The initial requirements/design phase would include a period of target audience Q&A and testing to ensure the user experience meets their needs in addition to assuring the value proposition is clearly defined and incorporated. I can safely estimate this prototype design and deployment phase can be completed at a budget of $30,000 and within 6-8 weeks.

Evaluation results

11 evaluations so far

1. How well does this idea enable people to maintain wellbeing and thrive as they age?

Really well. There's clear value in this idea for people of all ages - 27.3%

This idea is getting there but the connection to healthy ageing isn't quite clear - 63.6%

Not so well – there were other ideas that provide more real value for people as they age - 9.1%

2. Does this idea outline a clear mechanism or strategy that would enable it to scale and spread around the world?

Yep – it's really clear how this idea would get diffused and adopted by people from all over - 27.3%

Seems like the mechanism for diffusion still needs some fleshing out - 72.7%

No, it doesn't really look like it takes scale and spread into account. - 0%

3. How attractive is this idea for partners from health care, business, government, nonprofit or other sectors to get involved?

This idea is ready for partnership! It's easy to see how and why different sectors would want to get involved - 9.1%

There's some opportunity for partners here but it would need more refinement to really attract other organisations or people - 63.6%

It's not clear to me how or why partners would be motivated to get involved - 27.3%

4. How easy would it be to pilot an early version of this idea for continued iteration and learning?

Really easy – ways that we might test this idea in a pilot are already springing to mind - 18.2%

A pilot would be doable – but we'd need to spend quite a bit of time to figure out how to do it - 72.7%

An early pilot doesn't seem too easy at this point - 9.1%

5. Overall, how do you feel about this concept?

It rocked my world - 9.1%

I liked it but preferred others - 45.5%

It didn't get me so excited - 45.5%


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I think the healthcare world could use virtual project management. has 60 days free for those who sign up.

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