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Stanford Center on Longevity, Aging 2.0, & IDEO

“I haven’t seen the moon and stars for years because I’m looking at my toes.”

Alex Barker

Alex Barker
SCL Contributor

In collaboration with Aging 2.0, the Stanford Center on Longevity opened their 2014-2015 Design Challenge with a dynamic and fun need finding workshop.  Led by IDEO design researcher Arianna McClain, the workshop engaged over 15 seniors in exploring potential areas of focus related to mobility issues for older adults.

Representing a cross section of seniors from the Stanford and Palo Alto community, the group ideated around themes related to mobility that included staying active, mobility in the community, and mobility at home.  The seniors provided the Design Challenge team with great insights which will become the basis for the formal Design Challenge kickoff on September 23.  Examples of intelligence gleaned from the participants included:

  • Finding appropriate resources can be difficult for seniors;
  • Fear of falling can be as crippling as a fall itself;
  • Exercise equipment is often uncomfortable and doesn’t fit properly;
  • Let’s design for extreme affordability;
  • The world can be your gym while you walk the errands;
  • Community is where I am (at that moment) and who I run into;
  • Seniors need to continue to cultivate their network as they age;
  • There is a “need to connect the dots” through intergenerational programs;
  • Seniors want a two way street where they both give and receive help;
  • Just one misstep is all it takes to dramatically alter the quality of a life;
  • Seniors often have a strong fear of being a disabled person.

When kicked off, the Design Challenge will inspire student teams to create solutions for enabling personal mobility across the lifespan.  Lauren Grieco, director of the Ideation Workshop expressed great excitement for the kickoff and expects that the 2014-challenge will build upon the success of last year’s event where 52 entries representing 31 universities and 15 countries were submitted.

Alex Barker
SCL Contributor


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