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A (simplified) professional social network to connect seniors and students.

The idea is to create a simplified professional social network where seniors could upload stories, memories, thoughts and photos of their careers. But instead of filling out their profiles by themselves, they could be helped by younger people who would like to connect with them to learn more about their profession. Using the platform together could be a good start for developing digital skills. It could also be a great occasion to interact and to ask for help on other topics.

Photo of Glen Prv-Krv
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How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

A professional social network where young people could help older people filling out their profiles.
A senior could register offline, in a local supermarket, a school or by mail, just by providing a name, a profession and some contact details.
Students could search for a senior by profession and location and then contact him/her to help filling out the profile. 

Sections of the profiles could be a good base for starting a conversation about someone’s career:
- What I liked, what I didn’t
- Good memories, funny stories
- Projects I worked on
- People I met

Other sections could help to start a conversation about technology:
- Email address
- Skype username
- Photos
- Videos

Students could actually receive a little training online on how to show older people how to use technology .

The accessibility of the platform (contrast, text size …) might be key to make it usable both by the student and the senior.
With some time, seniors will learn how to use the platform by themselves but also how to use other digital tools along the way.

To protect seniors’ privacy, the platform could only be open to students with an academic email address. Additionally, the number of people each student could contact can be limited. The more sections a student help to fill, the more people he/she can connect with. Quality over quantity. 

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to test any assumptions you might have about your idea?

We could try the idea in a smal area by distributing flyers explaining the principle of this professional network in local businesses. We could then check how many seniors could be interested in sharing their professional experience with others and how many have actually registered. We could also organize a poll with students to verify how many of them would be interested in meeting with people who can tell them about professions they want to explore. It might also be interesting to talk with students about additional incentives. We could make a little experiment and ask a student to fill out a prototypical profile with a senior. It could be interesting to check how much of the profile they would fill out together and what would be the level of the knowledge transfer in the process. Feedbacks both from the student and the senior could be key to understand: - how did much they receive from the meeting? - what level of mutual understanding did they reach? - what is the probability of establishing a durable relationship following the meeting?

What aspects of your idea could benefit from the input, skills or know-how of our OpenIDEO community?

What could be the optimum registration process for seniors? How can we communicate about this service to students? Could a school or a university be associated with this service? through a career center program?


Join the conversation:

Photo of Selina McPherson

Hi Glenn, I really like this idea. I think that by targeting Universities, and perhaps their career service centers, you could gain some traction that way. You could also enlist students to visit the local senior centers/communities to spread the word about the site. Maybe there is one physical location that has a monthly "sign up" night, where people could find a representative to help them get online.

Photo of Glen Prv-Krv

Thanks Selina!