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MATCH & SWAP: Get Matched. Meet up. Swap Skills. Learn Something New. (Updated 7/29 with Design Ideas)

An online platform that matches a "mentor" and "mentee" who have common interests and values, and a complimentary sets of skills. Your "Match & Swap" profile would work a bit like a dating site - answering a series of questions so that the other person may get to know you, and the platform can appropriately match you with someone you would be interested to meet. In addition to personal profile questions, you would be able to select skills or topics you are interested in learning more about such as: "Italian Cooking", "Vehicle Mechanics", "Gardening 101", "Golf", "American History", "Internet 101", "Digital Camera Basics", "Woodworking" etc... You will be matched with someone who you will likely enjoy and learn from.

Photo of Selina McPherson
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How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

"MATCH & SWAP" is an online service that builds relationships by matching people based on three categories of information: 1) Values and interests 2) Skills/knowledge they are able to share and 3) Skills/knowledge they would like to acquire. (Think: Match.com meets Skillshare)
We live in a world where people are matched on the internet all the time to create meaningful relationships. Most of these "matching" sites pertain to romance (Match.com, OKcupid.com, Tinder, etc), but what if we used the functionality capabilities of personality matching to create meaningful mentoring relationships?

The "Match & Swap" Concept does just that. It also goes one step further, to match people based on skills they would like to acquire, thereby creating mutually beneficial relationships. By also taking personalities and values into account, people may meet to exchange a particular skill, but the likelihood that a meaningful relationship could grow out of this interaction is greater!

USABILITY:
- The Site would be designed SO simply and visually that sign up would not be complicated for users without much online experience. See below for some design guideposts that would be followed to make sure older adult users are able to understand it quickly. Additionally, I think it is important to have a very simple homepage, with an explainer video for new users. I think AirBnB's explainer video is a good inspiration point. It is approachable and easy to understand...maybe the Match and Swap video would also incorporate some "demo" shots to help people understand how to sign up. Also love Mint.com's explainver video - so clear.

For additional design and UX inspiration, see images.

Design guideposts from the National Institute of Aging on designing for older users:

First Design Guidepost:
Make it clear how the information on the website is organized. Users should easily be able to determine what information your site offers and how it is organized. They should be able to figure out a starting point and predict what type of information a link will lead them to. It should also be clear how they can find more information as well as how to return to previously visited pages.

Second Design Guidepost
Keep the website structure simple and straightforward. A broad and shallow site hierarchy reduces complexity and makes it easier for visitors to learn how information is organized.

Third Design Guidepost:
Break information into short sections. Giving people a small amount of content at one time makes it easier for them to grasp and recall information.

Fourth Design Guidepost:
Group related topics visually. Use page layout to show how information is organized.Write a clear, informative heading for each section. Clear headings give people anchors on the page and help them select desired content.

The website would need to be very minimalist, especially in the sign up process, to draw attention to what is being asked of the user (the questions that they need to fill out). With minimalist and "clean" sites being also considered modern, I think that there is an elegant solution to the design that would appeal to both user groups. Please see images for some very rough mockups to give an idea of how simple the site (and sign up process) would be.

MEET UP LOCALES:
- People who have been matched and would like to meet up could do so at a public place (coffee-shop, park, etc) and then could meet at each other's house or anywhere they wish. Users would be asked to provide site location of their meet-up to give future users ideas on where to meet.

OFF-LINE OPPORTUNITY:
Per a variety of comments and builds for this idea (thank you, contributors!) I'd like to add an "offline" component to this idea. "Match & Swap" could organize in-person events in the community that would be a kind of "speed dating" environment. You would have a few minutes with a "mentor" or "mentee" to get to know each other, and then you would move on to the next person. At the end of the session, you could approach someone who has complimentary skills, to arrange another meeting. This would help create a more inclusive experience - accessible by those who may not be online.


 

Who are the target users of your idea and how does your idea speak directly to their needs, life stages and goals?

Here are some defining characteristics of the Match and Swap users: 15-24 Year Old Segment - Curious - Open to new people and Ideas - Interested in helping others - Interested in trying new things - Seeking recognition for positive community impact 50-70 Year Old Segment - Open to new ideas - Seeking Connection - Have sharable skills they are able to communicate - Somewhat internet/online literate

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

AMBASSADORS: I think it would be really interesting if there were "ambassadors" in locations around the country who could introduce potential users to the Match and Swap program, and also provide classes or seminars on signing up...some way to help people get on the system and understand it (this part of ambassador program is primarily for users who are not comfortable with computers). It could also be as simple as a volunteer representative who sits at starbucks from 5-7pm once a week to help users sign up. The "Ambassador" program would target people who already have access to, or are in the service of helping, potential users...such as: - Senior Living/Community Staff (for 65+ users) - Career Services Staff (for 15-24 users) - Local Organizations based on skills who may be looking for younger members (Garden Clubs, Chess Clubs, Volunteer Groups) - Doctors/Psychiatrists (This could be a great way to reach older folks who may be suffering from loneliness/depression) - Strategic partnerships with existing organizations (Big Brothers/Big Sisters and other mentoring organizations) Youth Ambassadors: There would also be a "youth ambassador" element, in which members of the younger group could receive certificate of recognition for being a volunteer ambassador and leader in the Match and Swap Community. They could help with online and offline outreach to introduce potential users to the idea. They could also do the following: - Host Pop Up locations in their community that provides people a place to sign up and gets the word out - Spread the word via local organizations and existing mentoring programs - Help people without much online capabilities to sign up for the site Ambassadors could be found by creating strategic partnerships with a variety of organizations such as: Big Brother, Big Sister program Colleges and Universities Aspen Institute Leadership Programs Leaders for Communities Organization Irvine New Leadership Network (Please let me know if you have others to add to this list!)

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

1) Introduce the idea to millenials (friends) with rough prototype to gain feedback, interest and build on the idea (DONE 7/15) 2) Create General Experience Map (DONE 7/21, see images) 3) Create rough design prototype of the online experience (DONE 7/28, see images and description) 4) Discuss idea with rough prototype with people in the 50-70yo age group, learn initial reactions, thoughts, challenges, etc. (any OpenIdeo participants in this age group, please comment with thoughts on the idea!) (DONE with family and friends 7/30) 5) Host a "Build Brainstorm" with friends on to build on everything that has been created for this idea thus far.

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

I'd love to gather thoughts on the following UPDATED 7/21: - What might be some ways to engage the older generation in using this platform? i.e. those who don't spend much time online? - Do you have any examples of sites that are INSANELY simple to sign up for? Ways where sign up and profile information is gathered in a beautiful and simple way? - I am having a little difficulty nailing down the elder target audience. What are your thoughts on the older Target audience as 50-70? And the lifestyle/character traits listed above? Would you have any to add? Thanks for your building and commenting! All ideas welcome!

44 comments

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Photo of Arushi gupta
Team

thats a really good idea

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Photo of Kaixuan Liu
Team

Congrats! The concept of "Ambassador" is a really rockin' idea!

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Photo of Ben Hazlerig
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I love your idea Selina. I have something similar in mind to this. Would love to talk to you more about it!

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Photo of Ricardo Gomes
Team

CONGRATULATIONS "Match & Swap" (Selina)! Wonderful concept that leverages the notion of shared & beneficial resources of mutual interests in a resourceful & inclusive manner. Really like the concept of Design "Ambassadors" in conjunction with the structure of your Usability Design Guideposts

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Photo of Jes Simson
Team

Woo hoo! Go Selina!

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Photo of Leigh Cullen
Team

Congrats Selina on a winning, rockin' idea!!
All best,
Leigh

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Photo of Steve Downs
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Selina,

I really like this idea and I think the main challenge (as it often is) is hitting critical mass. I agree with all the comments about focusing down on a good age range (or stage of life). I just turned 50 and have a 93 year-old father and I don't think of us as being in the same age category :). One of my mentors once said the definition of old is someone ten years older than yourself.

I said stage of life because I think whether you are 50+ but working full time is different than if you're newly retired and living at home is than if you've newly arrived at a continuing care facility or senior living facility, etc. The last two categories might make good targets -- they are life transitions where you face choices about how to spend your time, your social lives are in transition and you're often in decent health.

I also wonder, as a way to shrink the marketing challenge, if you want to focus on a limited set of skills (e.g. carpentry) as a start. You could then focus the marketing on channels that would speak to people, younger and older, that held those interests.

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Photo of Selina McPherson
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Hi Steve, Thank you for your comment. I really like the idea of focusing on people who are in a transitional point in their life-stage. I think that makes a lot of sense...you are in a new place, new people, new activities...most likely open to new things at that point rather than stuck in the same routine. And as for your second idea of providing a limited set of skills, I think that could be an interesting launch strategy, so as not to make the selection to overwhelming.
I appreciate your time and thoughts!
Selina

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Photo of Donji YD
Team

I agree with Steve. Focusing on a specific category of people and on a limited skill set would shrink the marketing challenge. Why don't you collaborate with me. My ideas focuses on veterans who want to learn how to use high tech machines, working with mentors from Techshop.

I really like your idea because you have a system developed for matching people up. I would like to build upon this idea, and incorporate your system for matching people so people who volunteer to be mentors at Techshop can be matched with veterans who have similar interests.

I think by working together we can take the best parts of both our ideas, your system of matching, and my focused user group.

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Photo of Patrick Donohue
Team

Hi Selina,

Wonderful concept, and it's great to see how the idea is evolving.

If you're having trouble finding older folks, you may consider starting with a single assisted living center and then going from there, perhaps one with associations to a local college or university. You may find that figuring out how Match & Swap can serve one community of elder users could take you pretty far, even if you had to do more of the profile gathering and matchmaking activities manually first.

As an example, my wife's grandmother Maria used to live in an assisted living center in New Haven, CT where she set up an "English Conversation Partners Program" that matched up her fellow residents (often retired teachers or faculty) with international students from Yale who wanted to practice their English. Both sides benefitted significantly, with the residents gaining a sense of purpose and larger connection to the outside world, while the students got to practice their conversational English. Turns out that many international students (being far from home) missed having elder relatives that they could talk to, and many came from cultures that held elders in high esteem. Maria used email to match students and residents, but everything was pretty much done manually.

I've included a couple of links if you'd like to read more about the program below.

Nice work and good luck!

Patrick

http://whitneycenter.com/making-conversation-whitney-center-residents-tutor-yale-international-students-through-the-english-conversation-partners-program/

http://www.whitneycenter.com/downloads/2010_Fall_Centerpiece.pdf

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Awesome insights, suggestions & links, Patrick!

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Photo of Selina McPherson
Team

Hi Patrick,

This looks like such a great program! Thank you so much for sharing. I have heard of a variety of programs that are connecting older adults and younger adults through language learning...it seems like a great path which is clearly mutually beneficial.

And to your suggestion...Yes I am really wanting to get out there and talk so some "older adult" folks! I am feeling a bit hamstrung, as I am currently living abroad in Europe and have not been able to find an appropriate place to test this out...the communities I have had time to research and speak with in the area are primarily for much elderly groups who would not be able to participate in this program (older folks with dimensia and other health issues). Since the beginning of this challenge, I have narrowed my target for the older audience to 50-70, as my feeling is they would most likely be more open to creating online relationships. Do you have any thoughts on the age range?

Through parents and friends I have been gathering feedback, though, and incorporating it along the way :) If you or any other participants reading this post have any other connections in the 50-70yo category...please feel free to let me know! I could always whip up a little survey and get some quick feedback that way for now!

Thanks again Patrick,

Selina

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Photo of Patrick Donohue
Team

Hi Selina.

I'm definitely a big believer in going deep with one representative group or community before going broad, and in my opinion this extends to user research too. For example, when starting out I've often found that I don't even know the right words to use, much less the right questions to ask. So I've always found using surveys to be a bit of a mixed bag, especially when I hadn't had the chance to really dig in with representative users. I also have found that most social network based sites like the one you're proposing followed the adage "to go global, go local first".

Would you be looking to launch something in the U.S. or in Europe where you are?

If Europe, then you might try looking for older users by considering places or organizations where seniors might gather regularly. Churches or other religious organizations could be good starting places, but you may also look for volunteering organizations as well. Classes that focus on older people, for example fitness classes, might be another way to go.

If the U.S., then you might want to consider working with a partner or partners who could help you with connecting to senior communities stateside. Extra points if that partner is a senior themselves! Could be some folks on OpenIDEO that qualify, but I'm not sure if there's an easy way to find people. Hmm, targetable user research tools to tap the OpenIDEO community itself... Meena?

I mentioned in another post (for the youth employment challenge) that older users seem much less likely to trust online communities or share information about themselves online. This is especially hard when you're getting started and people are looking for social proof that the platform is trustworthy and useful. One good way to get around this is to find people that are already manually doing what you're proposing (like Maria did at the Whitney Center), and then try helping them do it better. You'll develop pretty deep insights around what needs to be solved, while getting an initial, trusting user base to start too.

Hope this is helpful, and good luck!

Patrick

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Photo of Patrick Donohue
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By the way, if an online survey is really you're only option (there's only 8 days until the next challenge phase), online crowd-sourcing tools are becoming much more popular. Would cost you a little bit of money, but could be worth $20 or so.

Here's a couple of examples of someone using Amazon's Mechanical Turk.
http://kurtgrandis.com/blog/2011/02/01/surveying-mechanical-turk-to-validate-a-startup-idea/
http://women2.com/2011/06/17/using-survey-monkey-and-amazon-mechanical-turk-to-validate-my-startup-idea/

Or use it for phone interviews:
http://customerdevlabs.com/2012/08/21/using-mturk-to-interview-100-customers-in-4-hours/

Definitely not statistically valid, but could still give you some good insights.

Patrick

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Photo of Selina McPherson
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Hi Patrick,
I really appreciate the insights and links. Thanks!
To answer your question, this idea is focused on a US launch...where I will be moving later this Fall. I agree that in-person, qualitative research is hugely important step in the process! I like the validation ideas you've provided as an immediate solution for some quick feedback.
Thanks!
Selina

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Photo of Amber Capehart
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I really like this idea. My one concern would be safety for either person involved. There are a lot of internet predators that could use this website unethically. The Fraud Watch Network at AARP has brought to light how vulnerable the aging population can be; however, the same can be said of Millenials who can, at times, be naive and overly trusting of new people.

Obviously, meeting in a pubic place the first instance is a good idea, as you mentioned. I also think it's important that you mentioned that users provide site locations of their meet-ups. However, do you think it would be plausible to perform background checks on both parties prior to authorizing accounts?

I know I would feel more comfortable allowing my child (assuming they were of the age) to participate in such a program if I knew the other party had undergone a background check.

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Awesome to have you chiming in with constructive feedback across the challenge, Amber. And here's a friendly tip: update your OpenIDEO profile so folks can dig who they're collaborating with here. Think skills, experience, passions & wit!

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Photo of Selina McPherson
Team

Hi Amber, Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I agree that safety is a really important element here. While background checks are one solution, there could be other solutions built into the system that address safety concerns as well. For example, in addition to the "ambassadors" helping to train potential users on how to sign up etc, there could also be training incorporated about how to spot behavior that is out of the ordinary... i.e. if someone is asking for financial information that is a red flag. Or based on information in their profile, how might you deduce someone's intent/nature. Or simply by Googling someone's name, these days, you can learn a lot about them. Teaching new internet users some safety 101 could also be interesting to incorporate. Are there any other potential design solutions you can think of?

Thanks for your input!

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Might also be good to explore how platforms like Airbnb, etc have handled safety and trust issues? Many platforms are developing smart mechanisms which you might learn form here?

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Photo of Leigh Cullen
Team

Hi Selina, Fabulous idea!

Reading through the comments section of your post & had a few thoughts...

NPR recently polled listeners on best terminology to call older people. The most accepted term (at 43%) is "older adults." And, even that term wasn't embraced with enthusiasm. In sum, according to the study, "The point is we're getting rid of a lot of traditional terms for aging, but we haven't come up with anything to replace them that reflects what life is like now."
You can listen to the story here:
www.npr.org/2014/07/08/329731428/npr-poll-reveals-despised-and-acceptable-terms-for-aging

In terms of targeting ambassadors as community leaders, I researched terms like "community leaders," "community leadership," "community leadership networks," and "sustainable communities." Initial findings:

From a conceptual standpoint, I like how the Pew Center for Civic Journalism defined a framework for types of community leaders – 1) official leaders, 2) civic leaders, 3) connectors, 4) catalysts, 5) experts. Civic journalism (organizations) are a way to get the word out into communities. Many communities have daily, regional newspapers or community specific newspapers. Might be some ideas to consider.
www.pewcenter.org/doingcj/pubs/tcl/framework2.html

Targeting higher profile orgs may give you leads/connections. For ex, The Aspen Institute has a focus area on "Community & Family Prosperity":
www.aspeninstitute.org/what-we-do?issues=1960
With programs like "Skills for America's Future" and "Communities Strategies Group." They also have a variety of leadership programs which are quite interesting:
www.aspeninstitute.org/leadership-programs-top

A wealth of smaller organizations for community leaders exist, like a social networking site set up for community leaders:
"Developed by NeighborWorks America®, that connects current and future leaders for sharing ideas for professional and career development within the community development field." There a variety of these types of organizations.
http://www.leadersforcommunities.org
A subgroup is:
Young Professionals: the Future of Community Development

And another:
http://irvinenewleadershipnetwork.org

Just some thoughts! Hope it sparks some ideas.
Cheers, and keep up the great work,
Leigh

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Loving the NPR piece, Leigh – and the highlights you've made around terminology and framing here.

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Photo of Selina McPherson
Team

Hi Leigh,

Wow what a wealth of information and insights! I really appreciate the adds and inspiration. The organizations you mentioned could be particularly interesting as it relates to strategic partnerships for the ambassador program, and I found the leadership framework particularly awesome. As for the NPR show...I think that pretty much sums up how I have been feeling about what "terminology" to use for this age-group...there is a serious need for appropriate language to describe this later stage in life! This is kind of silly, but the term "Second Wind" pops into my head as a way to describe this phase....something like that. Positive but connotes that there has been a long journey leading up to that point! Jes had some interesting ideas in a comment from the beginning of the challenge with some terminology ideas such as "vintage" "experienced", etc. Feel free to check it out. If you have any additional terminology ideas to add to the pot...please feel free :)

Thanks again for your time and all of the great resources!

Selina

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Photo of Jes Simson
Team

Way to go Selina!

I think this idea has the potential to help the "younger thans" gains skills in areas that are dying out - like artisan crafts, DIYs, mending and fixing. Perhaps you could also include online tutorials on site to drum up support.

I'm also digging the role of the ambassadors. Perhaps you need to engage the lynch pins in the communities you are servicing. Many of the phenomenal "older thans" I know are the driving force behind community organisations (like church groups, volunteer groups, charities.) If you get their support, you could spread the word far and wide.

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Photo of Selina McPherson
Team

Hi Jes, Thanks so much for your contribution. I agree that these "ambassadors" need to be people highly active in their community to create the most impact! I wonder what the best way to find them in a scalable way might be... other than doing extensive research in each community to find the community centers, church groups, etc! Any thoughts on identifying ambassadors?

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Photo of Jes Simson
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Hey Selina. Perhaps you could start with one small community and do extensive research to identify key ambassadors. You could then use the buzz created around this one successful pilot group to help other individuals self select themselves as ambassadors for programs in other cities. I imagine the people who self select themselves as potential ambassadors are probably the same people who would make great ambassadors (although you might need to test this assumption out.) Word of mouth would probably work really well for surrounding areas where the program really meets the participants' needs.

Participle's "Circle Movement" partnered with local councils to reach its "older then" participants (see; http://www.participle.net/projects/view/5/101/). Participle started this in one borough in London and are partnering with more councils. I suspect that they have also found participants because the program truly meets human needs and they have received a lot of PR.

You could also target individuals who engage with the "older thans" to identify ambassadors and encourage them to participate. Grandchildren, children, friends, carers, doctors, church groups, community centres or even the people who serve them at the supermarket could be great at identifying potential participants. Sarah Silverman's The Great Schlep (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgHHX9R4Qtk) was incredibly effective at getting grandkids to engage their grandparents to change their voting behaviour.

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Photo of Selina McPherson
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Hey Jes, I just realized that I hadn't written you back in regards to these AWESOME thoughts. Thanks so much for sharing, these examples are really helpful coming into the refinement phase! I can't believe I had never seen the Sarah Silverman Schlep before. It makes me wonder if there is a place for some comedic relief in the marketing of this idea! Also, Participle is a very interesting example of "older thans" connecting via online...thanks for sending!

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Photo of Kevin Clark
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This is a good idea, and it can also be modified to use a crowdsourcing approach to accomplishing specific tasks.

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Photo of Selina McPherson
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Hi Kevin, thank you so much for your comment. Could you elaborate on your crowdsourcing idea? Sounds like an interesting approach! Thanks!

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Way to go, Selina. I knew you were sitting on something awesome after your knock-out insights from the Research phase :^) I like the ambassadors part, especially because I feel that many older adults may need a bit of sheparding to get them going for something like this. Many younger folks have a high level of trust in online matching platforms – but seniors may need more coaxing or alternate avenues to initially engage.

We're super excited at the thought of you starting to try something out towards testing some of the assumptions around this fab concept & letting us know here what you learn. Here's more tips on prototyping (including some great examples at the end of how folks have prototyped during OpenIDEO challenges previously: http://ideo.pn/pr0t0type

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Photo of Meena Kadri
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Photo of Jacqueline Morgan
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Selina ... also a fantastic idea ! I think your idea reflects much of what another contributor Barbie submitted. I believe you are both on the right track regarding tech enabled engagement. In addition, your "Ambassador" idea is brilliant - here is a thought to consider... could we leverage existing aged support organization(s) to act as our pilot Ambassadors ( let's look for a Big Brother/ Big Sister type org for aged?). My sense is this organization could help shepherd us through the engagement model and user experience on the aged side. Reams of data exist for engagement models and UE frameworks for youth, we could us those. The key is to enable BOTH sides in the relationship to engage via communication channels of THEIR choice ... thoughts?

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Photo of Selina McPherson
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Hi Jacqueline, Thanks so much for your thoughts. I think it is a GREAT idea to leverage existing organizations. I will incorporate that into my next round of edits. And it is interesting that you mention "engagement models of THEIR choice"...I wonder what it would look like if the first "meet up" or first interaction was a phone call instead of an online chat or message...could be more user friendly for the senior side. Perhaps this is something people could opt-in for...

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Hi Selina. Great idea!
Have you considered taking something like speed dating to places/spaces where the youth congregate such as university campus café, faith based youth group, YMCA? A Y or a community center might work well because it already engages people of all ages. For active older adults this is possible and for youth it is easy
Engaging those who are not online? Maybe engage those that advocate and care for them – children, grandchildren, social workers in community centers and job assistance programs, staff in faith based organizations - these can be the ambassadors for your idea. If they are aware they can sell it and help folk utilize it.
Looking forward to seeing it develop!

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Photo of Ashley Jablow
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Awesome thinking Bettina! Especially around active, older adults who haven't retired but who would be looking to learn new skills and probably would already be plugged into community organizations like the YMCA.

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Thanks Ashley! I think that this target group, 50+, is extremely broad in terms of where one is in their lifecycle. Most folk in my world that are 50 - 60 years of age do not identify as "seniors" rather as parent, partner, child, friend, professional etc. As there has been a focus in this challenge on language I think that finding the "words" for engagement is key. That being said I know 80+ year olds that are also active and working. So the key is design for people, as we read on the blog?, not for an age - find the correct "words" and they will come!
So in this case - tagging the site with "learn a new skill, skill sharing, buddy up and share what you know," might bring all in, "seniors" might disengage some. What do you think?

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Photo of Selina McPherson
Team

Hi Bettina, thanks so much for your ideas and insight! I completely agree that "seniors" is not really the right term…and the description could use some work! I will work on editing the language in this idea, and would love to brainstorm some others with you… For this idea, it could be more focused on what they are bringing into the table…."experience", "knowledge", "skills", and it is definitely directed towards people who are actively trying to grow and improve their skill set! Maybe it is as easy as using a term such as "elder" which implies that they are older in age, however also makes me think of someone who is wise and skilled…and commands respect! Just an idea! I think it is important that the age of each group is highlighted…as a major part of this challenge is pairing a "mentor" and "mentee" of two specifically different age groups. I wonder if one group was called the "elder thans" and the younger called the "younger thans" that could make it more approachable, informal and imply that one group is not "old" but just "older than" the other! What do you think?

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

I really like your title "Match and Swap" and the way you present it above. I think you are onto something with the "elder than and younger thans" and I agree it is important to emphasize that the matching is between two distinct groups. It is really interesting and challenging to consider how to market to both at the same time. Lots to think about here Selina!
I also wonder how to explain this approach to the two groups - why 15 - 24 and over 50? I wonder if this is something that needs explanation or if one would just join up because they are interested. This pertains to all ideas in this challenge. This just occurred to me now. Do you have any thoughts on this?

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Photo of Pam Haidenger-Bains
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As someone is is 60, and who has cared for her elderly parents, I would agree that the words "elderly", "seniors" and even "elderly than" cut a pretty big swath that leaves you with more than one target demographic group. The Boomers (about 55 to 65 at this point in time) are interested in technology, but may or may not go searching it out. Calling them anything much more than Boomers or Gen 50+ will get their backs up! The truly elderly are often on limited incomes, and lack technology, so getting them connected represents an entirely different problem. This is where we need a good idea for shared facilities that are accessible to seniors, and something pretty low tech to reach them...

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Photo of Paul Reader
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Selina, I think this is a great idea, particularly for those of us ( ,i'm virtually 64) with technological toes in the water. I see the key as the sharing of knowledge in both directions and it doesn't have to be complete knowledge transfer. Too often we tend to think of it in terms of teacher and student but the learning can be mutual. Last month I learnt quite a lot from the younger members of my local Wordpress group, by contrast I recall tutoring my elders in contract bridge when I was 16.

I also take Pam's point of needing a low tech entry point as well. While I can see the 'speed dating' idea as a great way to establish mutual interest and possibly complementary skill sets many of us in our 'third age' (thanks Pam) are slower paced in many ways. This makes many of us better suited to both informal learning and one-on-one interaction - Match and Swap fits into this nicely.

Spam
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Hi everyone!
Pam - Great point about "Boomers" taking care of their elderly parents. There has been much talk about this generation who are now "sandwiched" between caring for growing/grown children and elderly parents - financial and time responsibilities. Both the boomers and the elderly parents are targets for this challenge but are distinct groups. I like "50+" - feels good. Selina what do you think? ............................ Your idea Selina might actually serve this "coupling" well. If a "boomer" and their elder parent both "Match" with different youth, perhaps the "boomer" can accompany their parent to a meet up. They can have their individual sessions at the same time. Built in transport for the elder and quality experiences for both - with their respective mentors. Just a thought for way down the line.

Spam
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So great to see this conversation evolving - especially around language and how we describe our target audience. Selina, have you thought about actually specifying an age range or specific generation for the 'older adults' who join this service? Adding a bit of additional constraint might actually help you focus and then flesh out your idea even further.

Spam
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Hey everyone - I'm loving how the terminology is evolving. I always feel awkward identifying the two groups as either "youth" / "younger" or "older" / "elderly". I'm really loving "younger than" / "older than" but could you go further. Perhaps you could go for the "young at heart", "vintage", "experienced", "seasoned", "the wise ones", "elders", "wrinkles". Perhaps a cheeky, irreverant tone might help engage our young at heart target to engage with the service.

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Congrats on this post being today's Featured Contribution!

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Awesome idea Selina, and it looks like you've gotten some nice builds from Jacqueline and Nick too. Here's another thought: maybe you could take some inspiration from job fairs, career expos or even speed dating – ie: in-person exchanges where people are matched with other people or other opportunities. What might an in-person version of your matchmaking site look like if it took place in a 50+ retirement community, for example?