OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more
Show my name on the attendees list for events I am attending:
Chief Technology and Information Officer
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
"Avid generalist who typically works at the intersection of technology and social good."
I work as the chief technology and information officer at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). In that role, I try to align the technology we use to do our work with our aims as an organization. I also do a limited amount of grant making -- investing in projects that primarily focus on using consumer technology (lately apps and wearables) to enable people to live healthier and and get better health care. I've spent a dozen years at RWJF in a variety of management and programing roles and have had exposure to a broad range of health and health care issues.
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.
I really like this idea. It's simple and it seems like a real win-win for both youth and seniors. I had a few thoughts to add:
- Teaching is a skill, so you might want to build in some support/supervision for the youth teachers so they go into the process reasonably well prepared and with someone to talk with as they get going and have experiences that will challenge them to adapt.
- I'd encourage you to think about what is core to the idea and what is flexible and then approach it as a series of prototypes (I like the way you described the class structure options in this fashion).
- There are are legal arrangements that need to be made with respect to use of public school classrooms or other facilities. At Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we've supported some work on model "joint use agreements," that you can find here: http://changelabsolutions.org/publications/model-JUAs-national.