Tag Archives: LivingWell

Updating exploration into Living Well in the Digital Age

Update summary: Over the past month we’ve run a workshop with the Department for Communities and Local Government; developed some ideas on why digital innovation is important on various fronts; engaged with the new Centre for Ageing Better; and authored a paper on networks and network mapping. In addition I’ve taken a few steps to re-organise content, including moving blogging about Living Well across to mediablends.com and setting up a wiki.

Blog posts from mediablends.com

Here’s summaries of recent posts on mediablends.com archived on a new wiki.

Next steps in our Living Well exploration Briefing for workshop held with the Digital Inclusion Group and Department for Communities and Local Government, outlining our ideas for Living Labs March 27 2015

Living Well workshop report Report on the workshop held with the Digital Inclusion Group and Department for Communities and Local Government March 27 2015

Do we need Operating Systems for Living Well in the Digital Age – or a more human worldview? The new Open Policy Making toolkit from Cabinet Office helps me join up the idea of a new operating model for government with an operating system for local labs for Living Well in the Digital Age. Together they could support the emerging Grey Cells model for digital service development and citizen online engagement. However, doubts emerge about the analogy. 04/04/2015

Practical ideas for making sense of technology in Care, Living Well and #AgeingBetter Local councils and partnerships will this year be faced with the growing challenge of deciding what technology solutions to develop and promote for care, health and wellbeing in their community. We’ve put together some ideas on how to approach those issues, from our exploration into Living Well in the Digital Age. The paper is here.

Why #AgeingBetter funders and policy makers should embrace digital technology – some resources Digital technology is increasingly important for Living Well in the Digital Age. Here’s suggestions on why funders and policy makers should review existing resources. 21/04/2015

Twitter helps @BetterAgeing Centre engage with potential for digital innovation in #AgeingBetter The Centre for Ageing Better has responded positively to a Twitter discussion about the lack of reference to digital technology in its strategy. Sending a blog post in draft helped. 22/04/2015

How do we shift from yet more research and reports to innovation in #AgeingBetter? Ideas please If we believe yet more old-style research and reports isn’t the way to promote greater innovation for living well in the digital age, how can we help organisations like the Centre for Ageing Better make the change? Ideas please 23/04/2015.

Networks and network mapping

Drew Mackie has authored a really comprehensive paper on networks and network mapping

Reorganising content

Here’s how I’m re-organising content following earlier blogging on this site, and use of  a Google site.

  • First, blogging is now over at mediablends.com, on a Withknown site. The advantage of that is the site allows you to automatically post the title and a link to Twitter and other social media. Any responding tweets then curate under the post, which makes it easy to track conversations. It also uses webhooks to post to the team space we have on Slack.com.
  • Second, my son Dan set up a Git-powered wiki on mediablends.org.uk where I’m gathering content from earlier sites, archiving the blog posts, and adding longer papers with Drew Mackie.
  • Third, I’ve followed Dan’s advice in using Markdown both on the blog and wiki: that’s basically text files with simple markup like # • [] () that an editor turns into html. It’s quick to write and easy to transfer between sites.

I’ll update occasionally here, but do please take a look at mediablends.com and content on the wiki.

Switching focus from Ageing Better to Living Well with tech: it’s all personal

The Ageing Better exploration into how innovations, enabled by digital technology, can help support personal well-being, has now reached the point where we can drawn some conclusions and plan the next stage.

As you’ll read in the summary below, the exploration, which I’ve been leading with Drew Mackie, was triggered by the Big Lottery Fund’s £82 million  Ageing Better programme, and particularly the initial lack of ways to exchange experience and introduce digital innovation. We’ve been working with the Digital Inclusion Group of Age Action Alliance. (DIG).

As I reported the other day, BIG has now opened its online community for testing, and there is a space for Ageing Better. We should hear more about local plans – and innovative developments – in a couple of months when the partnerships know how far their business plans have been approved, and receive confirmation of funding.

Meanwhile the main conclusion in our report is that we should switch our focus from programmes, to exploring in more detail what digital technology means to the individual – in different situations, with different interests, needs, capabilities and support. The scope for digital healthcare is likely to be particularly important, as Tony Watts has highlighted.

We’ll be playing through what that means in a workshop next month with DIG, and I’ll be posting more here about the approach we’ll be taking, based on the games and simulations reported here.

Summary from our interim report

The exploration into how to use technology for Ageing Better started in the autumn of 2014 with the idea that it should be possible to map organisations and resources in the field to enable more sharing of experience, reduce constant re-invention, and promote cooperation. The Big Lottery Fund hadn‘t done that centrally in 2014 for their five-year £82 million Ageing Better programme – could we demonstrate an alternative bottom-up approach, building on past work in the field?

This report summarises the journey that is documented more fully on our site – and comes to the conclusion that we should switch our focus from technology in Ageing Better, at a policy and programme level, to technology for Living Well as individuals, together with what is needed to support that in local communities and centrally. The challenge is that every individual has different interests and preferences – so one size of support doesn’t fit all.

Over the four months from September 2014 we moved beyond the basic idea of mapping of resources and organisations to:

The rationale was that we needed to know what we were looking for in mapping, before starting a big trawl. It‘s been a voluntary effort so far, and we needed to focus. We decided that if we could generate ideas on tech for Ageing Better, and cluster those, we could then look at which organisations might share experience and perhaps work together.

We were able to test some of our emerging ideas against a wide-ranging discussion at a symposium on technology and innovation, organised by the South East Forum on Ageing. Our blog post linking our exploration to the SEEFA discussion was re-published by Age Action Alliance.

What emerged from that – and our other explorations – was that the idea of promoting cooperation among organisations in the field, to achieve greater benefits and innovation, was somewhat naive. As other commentators confirmed, co-operation is difficult because organisations are competing with each other for funding; innovation is difficult because few organisations actually use social technology. The major challenge is culture. We could map ideas, organisations, and resources – but the likelihood of making any difference is low.

At this stage – in February 2015 – we are considering a change of focus towards the individual. It seems likely that the greatest progress will be made by exploring how older people – and those who help – can choose and use technology for personal well-being.

Tony Watts, chair of the South West Forum for Ageing, has set out how to make progress by linking digital health and digital inclusion. Roz Davies provides a model of citizen-centred care and digital health provision. The Grey Cells initiative from the Department for Communities and Local Government provides a framework for digital engagement that could help connect the individual and programmatic models.

So at this stage we are considering reframing the exploration towards Living Well with Technology – what can be done to enable and support the individual. Although our focus is on older people, the lessons will be more widely applicable.

Mapping, connecting, convening is needed at the programme level, but we don’t have the resources to do that, or any leverage to achieve much change. We do, however, suggest some modest ways forward.

Conclusions from the exploration so far

I think we can conclude:

  • There‘s lots of opportunities for innovation and use of tech for ageing better – but it is difficult to move forward on a broad front because of cultural and other barriers in organisations in the ageing and inclusion industries. There‘s great work being done – but also much re-inventing of the wheel. Competition for funding inhibits cooperation. Lack of familiarity with technologies limits development taking account of the consumer adoption of mobile tech. As this blog post summarised, the energy is around people apps and connectors – not organisations.
  • We need a shift of metaphor and framework from digital divide. Instead of thinking how to get people to learn about computers, we need to focus on how to help people adopt just enough tech for their needs, and how to support that. The models needed are personal and social ecologies.
  • We now need to experiment at several different levels: the individual, the surrounding social network and support system, and in programmes.

Overall, the issue is Living Well with Technology – rather than Bridging the Digital Divide.

Here are several ideas for moving forward:

  • Use the workshop games and simulations that we have been developing for our Living Lab to help people play through the options at different levels, and then turn the games into kits.
  • Test the ideas at a neighbourhood level
  • Explore the scope for work with partnerships in the Ageing Better programme, or with towns and cities aiming to create Age Friendly places.

Do get in touch if you would like to know more – david@socialreporter.com