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An idea for post grads (21+) to spend time with 50 + adults while sharing common interests, a love for books and film. Time spent together has the potential to create community and friendships. Growing friendships can lead to opportunities for bi-directional mentoring in an organic way.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

Sharing common interests with folk of any age creates community and with that opportunities for sharing of one's time, energy, skills, and knowledge about many different things.
7/31/14  Updated with experience map.

                              INTER_G Book Film Club

I threw out a few titles for this idea, to the women with whom I share a passion for books and film.  They did some editing.  This is what we collectively came up with.    "A Night At The Movies Book Club"

After brainstorming with Lisa this weekend we changed the name to
" Inter_G Book Film Club" to highlight the intergenerational aspect of this club.  I would love to get feedback from the community on the new name.

We have been sharing these evenings for three years.  The beauty of this IDEA for this challenge is that our group is multigenerational, we are already doing it, it is evolving and it is easy to start up.  When we started we had three 27 year olds and the oldest in the group was 57.  We were a group of friends of friends who love books and film.  Amongst us is one mother daughter pair.  The daughter who was 27 at the time brought her mom into the group.  The 27 year old was/is the dance teacher of the group's founder - now a 50+.  The group could just as easily have included 24 year olds and 70 year olds.  One member moved out of state but when she visits she joins us!  We have two new members this year.   

As time has passed what started as a book + it's film,  "reading, and watching in each other's homes club,  has morphed into some other great things as well. 
1-  Attend a reading by an author, followed by reading one of her books + discussion  - Toni Morrison - "Home" 
2- Read a novel followed by watching a documentary of the author's life. Jose Saramago - "Blindness" -  and the film "Jose y Pilar." 
3 - Read a contemporary novel in anticipation of a film that is coming to the big screen - "The Life of Pi." 
4 - Going to the cinema because talk was the film was going to be great (it was) -  followed by choosing a book + film to read and watch. 
"The United States of Amnesia" -  documentary on the life of Gore Vidal.   Now reading "Myra Breckinridge." 
 5 - Shakespeare -  Coming this fall!  King Lear - to read followed by attendance at the theatre. 

Favorite book so far -  too many great ones to say.  
Favorite film = "The Elegance of the Hedgehog"  Just amazing! 

There is potential here to include older seniors in a meaningful and practical way.  As a group provisions can be made to help older seniors attend meetings or outings.  For seniors who have problems with their vision they can still participate in the group listening at home to audiobooks.   One can also use a portable projector making the in home experience much like the "big screen" at the cinema.
For seniors that are at home more often than not, this can be a great opportunity to socialize, attend cultural events, and to share ideas with others with similar interests but with perhaps different points of view.  

Loads of potential here.  I have tapped into the "youth" in the group several times for advice on online technology and social media.  I have asked questions about youth culture as it pertained to ideas I have had for various projects including on OpenIDEO. 
One 61 year old member is starting a new film editing business.  She has been in consultation with the youth in the group as she chooses a name that resonates with their generation.  Apparently referencing home movies did not.   

Skill swapping is also a possibility.  Jes brought this into the conversation.  I suggested it to the group and discovered that it has already started.  One member has been teaching the other to needlepoint.  We plan to explore this idea going forward.


What are their needs?  What incentives can be used to entice them to join?  What motivates them?  What benefits will they get from participating?

This group is looking for networks, professional and personal.  They might be job searching, considering different career paths, apartment hunting, looking to make new friends.  A book club can provide them with a built in network from which many other connections can be made.  Interacting with older folk can offer possible connections in their personal and professional lives.  Older folk are established members of their communities.  They can offer suggestions and build bridges for youth as they start new lives on their own.

Millennials are also motivated by community service as we learned during the research phase of this challenge.  They are socially conscious.  Up mentoring is a natural by product of an intergenerational book club.  Spending time together, sharing knowledge and potentially skills.  If this is an interest it can be built into this community in an organic way.

Building an additional service component into the club can also be a motivator.  
Periodic donations of books to Better World Books – An organization that collects and sells books online to donate books and to fund literacy initiatives worldwide.

Literacy Project –  Join a local literacy program as a group.  Share the responsibilities of helping others learn to read.

Quotes from youth in our current club:
"I think what makes our group so special is how comfortable the experience of our book group is - we get together (usually at the end of the weekend), spend a few minutes catching each other up on our lives, have a few snacks and then relax and watch a movie. I love that there isn't that pressure in our group and I think that it opens us up to have deeper connections."   

"I think our group is special because of the relationships formed here. We've been a great support to each other and have been committed to the group for how many years now? 3.5 years?  It's a great way to bond over a common interest.  We all have a lot in common (I'm pretty sure 50% of the group at any given meeting is comparing their UNIQLO leggings). The beauty of our group is that even if we didn't have personal things in common the books and the outings we go on is a forced commonality that still creates a bond and a relationship."  

Post grads that relocate for work/education are a special group.  Without a local community they are looking to build connections across all age groups.  There are 3 youth in our book club that relocated from Kansas to New York after college.  
"As someone who moved to NYC and didn't have family nearby, it was really great to have an ongoing meeting and therefore connection with a group of women from different generations. I think young NY transplants would feel the same." 

Older adults are motivated connection,  by the opportunity to share common interests and to enjoy stimulating conversation.  They may be looking for companionship and new friends. 
Seniors of any age also might relocate for retirement as pointed out by Jes in our conversation via the comments.  This group in particular is searching for new friends, new connections.
Skill swapping, particularly access to information on technology, can be a byproduct of intergenerational friendships.   If highlighted this can be a motivator for older adults to join an intergenerational book club.   The opportunity to go out to cultural events can also be a motivation to older seniors, as the youth in the group can assist them.

This week in conversation with 80 + year old seniors, at their “Let’s Talk” weekly lunch, they said this about the IDEA. 

“I like to know what the younger people think.”

“We were discussing amongst ourselves how we are losing friends and therefore losing connections.  It is important to make new connections.  I like the idea.”

“Intergenerational groups have many benefits.  It is always a benefit because you learn from each other.  There is an exchange.  Yes they know more about technology but there are many things they can learn from us as well.”

One participant was vocal about her disappointment in a local program that services seniors.  “They focused on bringing high school students into the organization.  I did not like that.  They are too young.  They are too close to childhood – impulsive.  It is all about themselves and their friends.”  
When asked how she feels about a group of young adults/post grads – “Yes I would enjoy spending time with young adults, very much so.  They are open to others and their ideas.  It is not only about their own group.”

How will different age groups access these book clubs?


They will find these groups via a variety of means, social media being important here, but other means of connection will also be important.
See scaling up below.

will access a variety of information sources, including social media and Meet Ups.

Older Seniors
This week I met with a group of older seniors, 80 - 92, and it was clear that they would only find these groups via existing vetted resources, or word of mouth.   This group will be the least likely to seek out the activity but will benefit greatly from it. 
How would you find a group like this?
"I would find it here, at the JCC." (Jewish Community Center)
"Alumni Groups"
"The Rabbi"
"Dorot"  (Senior Program in NYC)
"The Sunday Senior Program at John Jay College."
"My friend will invite me."  "My granddaughter will tell me about it."

What are the different scenarios that users may experience?

Meetings at one’s home to watch a film based on books that the group reads.

Meetings at the cinema to watch films based on books that the group reads.

Meetings in a backyard – watching on a screen with a projector at night, or on the roof of an apartment building.

Meetings hosted by a local bookstore.  Members read the book and see the film in an event room at the store.  Discussion and socializing after the film.

Meetings at a local community center.  The community center hosts the group, advertising in their programming.

Meetings in a church/synagogue – Groups started within the community, publicized on their community newsletter.   Members can build several groups and meet on site or in their homes.

Skill swapping can develop naturally over time, as pointed out by Leigh and Jes.  This can be in the area of tech, as well as craft, cooking, home repairs, learning a new language - anything.


In Real Time -
Speaker Phone
Chat/ Computer 
Video/ Google Hangout

Not In Real Time -
A Web Hub - an online community book club.  Jes suggests this and it is an intriguing idea.   As with OpenIDEO one does not have to be online at the same time to participate in a community.  
Email Group
Letter Writing – the real thing – ok, not technology,  and not in real time, but this can be awesome!

The idea of a toolkit as a resource for groups to start their own Inter_G Club has been suggested by Charles.  Interesting thought!

Use Facebook.
Produce and post a video that outlines the idea and what the possibilities are.  Produce and post a downloadable booklet to accompany the video.   (Mirroring the bk/flm club idea!)

Thinking about how the Facebook community will be able to submit their own tips, as they build their clubs, and include it in the booklet.  (Thoughts?)   Tips can be periodically highlighted on the page as well.  (Great ideas from Meena.)

Building a toolkit, video/booklet, is potentially a fantastic mentoring opportunity!


Inter_G Book Film Club will be a +1 movement.
Everyone is asked to invite a friend, youth or senior to join the group.  It would be great if youth can invite a +50 and vice versa but we are open to all possibilities.


Brainstorming with my group,  we came up with several ideas.


Invite group members to post images of everything!
Create a hashtag.     

Image Ideas: 
Group meetings
Group outings
Books read
Films seen
Spread the idea amongst their networks via comments attached to the images.

Share the idea on Facebook.
Share with friends and alumnae groups.
Post ideas about how to start a group.
Post movie reviews.
Post video links to interviews with authors, actors, directors.
Post links to local venues that are hosting a club.

4H – Partner with 4H attracting alumni that are post grads.  This group is committed to community service making them an ideal organization to partner with.

Organize local Meet Ups using the internet to attract folk who want to connect in this way.  Meet in public spaces, make an announcement, capture others who happen to be passing by to spread the word.

These organizations are active in many communities worldwide.  Alumni utilize them to network, socially and professionally.  Meetings, forums, events are often intergenerational.  Publicize this IDEA on a Class Facebook page, in the online alum “Newsletter” and in the Quarterly Journal.  Put it in a post on “Class Notes.”  Suggest it as an idea for groups abroad, as a way to network with current students studying abroad.
Spread the word at Reunions!

Local community centers often have programming for both youth and seniors, making this is an ideal place to bring participants from each group together for this IDEA.

Faith based organizations also have programming for both groups, another natural site to build such groups.

Attracting sponsors can become a mentoring activity as youth and +50 members work together on this project utlilizing online resources, social and business skills.  (Charles)

Partner with large chain bookstores to host clubs and to screen films in their event spaces.  After the screening there can be a discussion, wine, and socializing.  Bring in authors to do readings have books that have been or will be made into film.  
These events can bring in new customers and it is a good place to capture book lovers of all ages.  (Lisa)

Partner with local bookstores to host clubs. 

Partner with online book communities, such as Good Reads, spreading the word about this IDEA.  Community members can announce in their comments their interest in joining or starting a local club. (thoughts on this???)

Charles suggests that groups can write online reviews for books and films.  This collaboration can be a mentoring activity.  Posting these reviews online will also spread the idea for the Inter_G Bk/Flm Club.
Posting reviews on Amazon as part of their Amazon Affiliates program is a potential source of revenue, which can be used to offset expenses incurred by the club.  The revenue can also be used to make a charitable contribution to literacy programs - for example:  Better World Books.  This can also be a mentoring opportunity as members of the group work on this project together.

Community libraries are a great place to start a club.  Seniors often use the library.  This is an opportunity for youth to invite seniors to a local club.

Approach existing programs and ask them to spread this idea.  
This week I met Marcia, an 87 year old from NYC.  She attends a senior program every Sunday at John Jay College in New York.  The programming includes lectures and also film screenings.  This is an opportunity to expand on this.   Activate the college students, recent alum, or other local post grads to start a club and incorporate the already existing film screenings into it.   

The challenge sponsors, for example, can post this idea in their employee message boards.   Encourage new young hires to start groups with seniors at a local community center, a local lunch program,  at an assisted living community.  Millennials want to work for companies that have service programs creating impact.

BUILD ON EXISTING NETWORKS - as suggested by Jes
Craft Groups – knitting clubs
Local Theatre Groups
Civic Neighborhood Associations
Sports Clubs - Cycling, Running, Football

Organizations that Fundraise for Specific Causes – some of these might have existing book groups.  Hadassah is one example.  Expand the idea.

These groups already meet up.  They have common interests.  Bring another dimension to these groups and ask them to +1 to build an INTER_G Book Film Club.
The initial idea was to target Post Grads and Older Adults.
The idea lends itself to these two groups particularly well in terms of needs and benefits.  It can also be expanded to other targets.

Aaryaman  points out that the +1 model is particularly good for college students as they are happy to try new things "if they have a friend to go with them."  
Incentives, Motivators and Benefits
Free food  
Access to career networks
An opportunity to become a leader/facilitator which can be highlighted on a resume
Connection to the local community

College students want to partake in leadership activities as well as network with potential future professional contacts.  Aaryaman suggests organizing a network event/ book club informational meeting with alumni around a particular industry.  One student can motivate other students to join becoming a leader for this event.  In this way one can join a club with a network of potential professional connections.  As a youth leader of a club this can be a highlight on one's resume.  Connections can be built in a club which brings together students and alumni with similar interests.  Using the +1 model the club can expand to bring in other folk of different backgrounds who are friends of the core group.

Jes points out that in countries other than the US, university students often live at home, or in small apartments close to campus.  They are often isolated socially.  A book club such as this can serve to offer connection to campus life as well as the local community.

Study Abroad - For students who go abroad to study a book club can offer connection to the local community in a way that they may not otherwise have.  It can build language skills and bring opportunities for friendships with folks of different ages.  This is an opportunity for alumni living abroad to connect to current students as well. 

Although not intended to be a women only idea clubs can be women only by design of the participants.

Leigh suggests that a club like this can suit women of all ages.  Connecting via social networks, social media, and professional networks can potentially launch this IDEA far and wide!

Building this idea out was truly a group effort.  Thank you all!

Special thanks to Lisa and everyone in our NYC Inter_G Book Film Club! 


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

Included in content above.

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

Included in content above.

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

One assumption here is that a 22 year old will be inclined to join as was a 27 year old. I would need to ask the 22 year olds whether this is the case.

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

What great ideas do you have to spread this idea? What organizations do you think might spread the word or create "spaces" for clubs to meet? Great branding/logo/signage would help build the idea.

Evaluation results

14 evaluations so far

1. How well does this idea inspire and engage young people to support older adults through mentorship?

Really well – this idea clearly activates young people to support older adults - 53.8%

It’s getting there but could use a bit more work to flesh out exactly how - 46.2%

This idea doesn’t really address how to inspire and engage young people as mentors to older adults - 0%

2. How clearly does this idea outline a path to scale so that it can spread from one local community to around the world?

Crystal clear – I understand all the milestones that this idea would need to hit in order to spread beyond one local geography - 57.1%

It’s pretty clear that this idea has the potential to scale but the steps needed to grow aren’t detailed enough - 28.6%

Not very clear – I’m not sure this idea is designed to scale given how it’s explained here - 14.3%

3. How well does this idea define who its target users are and the ways that it can meet their needs and life stages?

Very well – I understand exactly who this idea is meant to engage and how it will support them - 71.4%

Ok – I’m not sure I could tell you exactly who the target user is but I might be able to guess - 28.6%

It’s hard to tell who this idea is actually meant to engage and support - 0%

4. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

It rocked my world - 50%

I liked it but preferred others - 28.6%

It didn’t get me overly excited - 21.4%

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Team (7)

Bettina's profile
Aaryaman's profile
Aaryaman Singhal

Role added on team:

"Enthusiastic, generous, and has helped build the idea!"

Jes's profile
Jes Simson

Role added on team:

"Great insights and enthusiasm!"

Leigh's profile
Leigh Cullen

Role added on team:

"Great researcher, talented designer, amazing collaborator. Uses research to build the project. We have worked together before. It was fantastic."

Lisa's profile
Lisa Spiegel

Role added on team:

"Lisa is the the founder of this book club!"

Toddi's profile
Charles's profile
Charles Dence

Role added on team:

"Great insights and builds."


Join the conversation:

Photo of Leigh Cullen

Hi Bettina,
Congrats on many of your ideas making this shortlist! Excited for you.

What I love about this idea is that 1) it's completely organic, 2) it builds off of a preexisting network of friends -- where levels of trust are established and skills have been swapped, 3) the club theme has mass appeal (who doesn't love either movies/theater & books!)

It sounds like you've had some conversations about this challenge with your book club. A chat with them about types of skills they'd like to swap could get pretty interesting.

Let me wrap the brain around this & see if I can brainstorm some additional outreach methods!
All best,

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Yes! Leigh welcome! Excited to collaborate with you again! This is going to be fun. All ideas welcome!!!
I love the idea of purposefully swapping skills. Will propose it to the group and get some feedback.

Welcome to the team!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

and thank you for the congrats!

Photo of Leigh Cullen

Hi Bettina,

One thought on how to get the word out there about your group is to create a formal Meetup for it:

How to create a Meetup:

1) Startup a Meetup

2) Post the agenda and discussion points on the Meetup

3) Then, you could ask your group members to officially join the Meetup

4) You could ask your group members to each find someone to +1 (add to the group). Youth could +1 youth. Older adults could +1 other older adults. OR, you can experiment to see how successful youth +1'ing an older adult is (and vice versa).

5) Your group may be willing to share info about your Meetup via their social media networks

6) And then hopefully the group spreads into other cities and other "A Night at the Movies Book Club" pops up in Chicago, DC, etc.

Just a thought. :)

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Thanks for the suggestions and outline. I am going to check the link.

Photo of Leigh Cullen

Hi Bettina,

This thought crossed my mind this weekend. At its core, your idea has the potential to be wide-reaching as a women-supporting-women professional growth network. If you open the group up to women of all ages, and encourage both online dialogue (perhaps via a Meetup, or a Linked In group, or other social networks) and in person dialogue, I can see how all kinds of links and networks can spin off this that propel young and older adult women forward.

Perhaps framing it this way could open up even further opportunity areas for you as you prepare to launch it.

All best!

Photo of Leigh Cullen

Potential areas for exploration -- to get that word out there!
-- in-person Meetup type gatherings
-- in a publicly accessible area where others can join in impromptu -- a neighborhood pool, farmers' market...
-- online dialogue and agenda via Meetup type of group
-- Linked In professional groups
-- Facebook groups

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi Leigh! Thanks for all your great ideas!
I was thinking a Meet Up in a park would be great.
Kind of like an announcement!

Using Facebook and Social Media is part of the plan. See the updates above. I brainstormed with Lisa this weekend, as well as with other of our NYC group, via email and phone.

Can you explain how to do online dialogue via a Meet Up? Is there a way to communicate with others in the groups online?

Although I primarily see this as targeting Post Grads I have had some great ideas regarding college kids from Jes and Aaryman and now from you regarding opening it up widely. Will review and revise the post to be more inclusive - at least as a preliminary idea.

Keep the ideas coming!

Photo of Leigh Cullen

Hi Bettina,
Super developments! Your idea is taking many great shapes.

Re your question above, here's an example... You could post goals and updates in the paragraph intro to your Meetup like this:

And active discussions occur on the group's message board:

A user can have these posts go straight to his/her email as individual emails. I'm pretty sure digest format is also an option. Community organizers (yourself) can reach out and welcome new members and can send out updates via email.

Here's another example:

All best!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Thanks for the links Leigh. I did not know that Meet Ups had this type of online component. Discussion boards and announcements are a great suggestion to scale the idea by getting the word out. I will include this in the project post!

Photo of Leigh Cullen

Well done Bettina! I love this whole concept because it can spread organically and has so many levels at which it can take root and grow. And it appeals to a spectrum of age ranges. Best of luck! :)

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