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FIND MY FRIEND: Challenging young people to help elder's find their old friends.

FIND MY FRIEND is an online game-like platform, conceived to truly motivate young people to support older adults through a challenging user experienced: help elders find their good old friends & connect back with them. * It is structured in 'missions', that elders regularly post and young ones chose to 'lead' or 'join', fighting to accomplish them in a sort of 'analog-digital' experience. * It rewards the young one's efforts & successes with a 'stars-based' rating system. * It encourages collaboration among users –of all ages and places. * It builds a scenario where young ones & elders can have fun, share knowhow & memories, get closer & finally enrich their lives.

Photo of Ignasi Giró Reig
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How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

Let's invite young people to use all their knowledge helping elder's find their good old friends & connect with them.

Basically, FIND MY FRIEND creates a compelling story that motivates young & elder people to get closer & do valuable things, together. It is built upon two main insights: 

1) Young people love challenges & are digital-natives. 
2) Elders miss their good old friends & are NOT so digital

Mixing both insights, the –dreamed– end we aim to accomplish is to truly motivate the young ones to help elders find –& connect with!– their good old friends and, whilst doing so, build deep, valuable relationships among them, enriching all their lives and seizing hundreds of worth-telling stories.


1 · This is not a competition, but a challenge.
2 · You don’t win: you earn respect.
3 · With more stars & hearts comes more responsibility.
4 · We are just a group of friends struggling to find other friends’ friends.


We need to create a platform where ‘missions’ can be posted by elders, and then browsed and ‘assumed’ by young ones.

The storytelling & gaming concept is crucial to motivate the young ones. Hence, we propose a rewards-based methodology wrapped in an empathic & adventurous writing:
* Each mission will have a leader: the 1st young one that assumes it.
* A star-system will reward the leaders’ findings and successes.
* A hearts-system will let users say 'thanks' or give 'likes' to whom they want or admire or simply feel empathetic with. 
* Collaboration among users will be strongly encouraged.
* It might be age-independent: as time passes by, elders could asume ‘search roles’ and young ones ‘mission posting’ ones. 
* Yes, it’s a bit like openIDEO, just ‘tuned’ for our purposes.


1. Set the canvas: An elder (with the help of the support team) posts a mission.

2. Mission is accepted & published: the Find my friend platform shows the mission, which is initially in ‘FREE’ mode (ready for anyone to assume it and become it’s leader)

3. Young ones browse & assume the missions: the community of young ones visiting the platform browse the missions, and decide which one they assume. They do it either as leaders (1st one to take it) or as mission team members (they join another leader).

4. The quest starts: The mission is showed as ‘ONGOING’. It’s leader’s name appears besides it. The quest to find the friend has started.

5. Leaders & their teams start searching! They get deeper in the mission's clues, regularly recieve updates from the elder, and have sequenced contacts with him.

6. The mission is updated: the young one keeps track of his quest, and shares the advances with the community. Social media 'share your mission' buttons help spreading the concept all around.

7. Found your friend!: A multiple-endings struture allows the young ones to, either find the original friend, either contact with other family members or relatives –in case he passed away, or it simply seems not possible to locate one specific person.

8. Real life connection: The elder connects with his friends and, eventually, even meets them in real life.

9. Respect: The yong ones (leader and team members) & elders recieve stars & likes (hearts). Hence, they become respected members of the Find My Friend community. Other members ask them to help on their new missions. They keep on helping. And having fun.

10. Telling the story: Ideally, some of the support teams of Find My Friend would seize the most seductive quests, record short-films about them and share them, giving visibility to the project and re-inforcing it with new audiences, young ones and elders.


· While the QUEST is ACTIVE, elders could share clues and further infos with the young ones in daily / weekly basis, creating a more engaging and funny user experience.
· Young ones would be able to regularly share their advances in social media websites (like the typical 'candy crush' messages we are tired of seeing everywhere).
· Elders could regularly give 'additional stars' or rate the young ones advances, even 'unlocking' new layers of personal information concerning their story.
· Missions should try to be as wide as possible, ensuring multiple paths to happy-endings. For instance: about finding 'similar friends', not only one single old friend: An elder could use it to post a mission about re-connecting with a whole old-school group, or  about getting closer to other community members.


· YOUNG ONES: We imagine them feeling seduced by the 'CHALLENGING' aspect of our proposal + the 'FRIENDSHIP' core concept.  Indeed, the user experience we propose requires a certain mastering of digital tools, having access to all the Internet & being old enough to assume some 'analog' tasks (free access to calling / contacting other people or institutions, eventually traveling to another neighborhood, driving here or there, etc...)

> Over 18 or 20 years old, particularly interested in video games and / or ARGS (Augmented Reality Games), maybe with some previous social commitment experiences, and somehow related to friend-based activities (scouts, school or college associations...)

· ELDERS: We need them to connect with the somehow NOSTALGIC / LONELY FEELING of missing friends, and being a bit disconnected of their community. Also, a great motivation to join the platform could come from the fact that they eventually are not so connected to younger people regularly. 

> Old enough to have a weakened social network (maybe over their 70's) and without younger family members regularly visiting them. However, they should not be THAT old, as we need them to keep good track of their memories, and feel active & optimistic enough to decide taking part in our platform.



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

YOUNG AUDIENCES might be over 18 or 20 years old, particularly interested in video games and / or ARGS (Augmented Reality Games), maybe with some previous social commitment experiences, and somehow related to friend-based activities (scouts, school or college associations, and so on) ELDER AUDIENCES should be old enough to have a quite weakened social network (maybe over their 70's) and without younger family members regularly visiting them. However, they should not be THAT old, as we need them to keep good track of their memories, and feel active & optimistic enough to decide taking part in our platform.

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

Geographical and cultural / language structuring of the 'missions' posted might be required, as it is not likely that an elder from, say, Boston, ends up finding his good old friend in Barcelona... Indeed, a young one from California might not speak spanish in order to help and elder from Mexico find his buddy. Yet, the essence of the game means these things could very well happen, and they would finally enrich the user experience a lot! –How challenging is it for a young one to cope with contacting people from the other side of the globe, or try to speak foreign languages in order to pursue his challenge? So, the same weakness has big strengths and possibilities: as long as we just make it very easy to find missions close to your place, posted by elders that speak your own language, and in places where support teams can ensure the process is completed, we see no big problem in letting the 'missions' and users grow & spread internationally. However, should that happen, an effort would be required to adapt contents and posts to further languages. Platforms like Indiegogo, Kickstarter or the same openIDEO could be a nice reference: users can easily search for campaigns that are geographically or culturally 'close' to them, and still navigate and connect with all the projects available, world-wide. FIND MY FRIEND could be similar.

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

· Randomly contact a group of elders and validate the emotional connection with the feeling of loosing old friends. · Test the main mission's statement with some young people, trying to validate wether it is truly motivating for them or not.

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

All of them :-) In the validation process: · We need to be sure the idea of 'finding old friends I've lost contact with' is relevant enough for the elders. · We need to make sure the challenge we propose to the young ones is truly seductive for them. In the definition of the 'game': · Limitations and constraind need to be defined · Sketching a beta platform where missions can be posted by elders · Setting some timings & basic rules · Exploring gaming-like methodologies, taking them further or limiting them a bit... · .... I guess the concept needs to be simplified to its basics, so that it can be prototyped and tested with one or two first missions.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jian wu

i love this idea! "find my friend" will effectively motivate people to get closer and enjoy their life!

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