Thursday, November 05, 2015

Collaborating Across Generations

This post appears courtesy of Meaghan McMahon, a former Generations United intern.

If there’s anything I enjoy while serving as Aging2.0 DC’s director of Outreach and Communication, it’s accelerating innovation and improving the lives of older adults around the world.

It’s an exciting and engaging vision no matter your age. And it’s a mission our community members can get behind.

We saw that this past summer, when our volunteer team hosted an Intergenerational Innovations event at 1776, a global incubator and seed fund helping startups transform industries.

The standing-room only audience listened carefully as a panel of entrepreneurs, aging industry experts, community leaders and a representative from the DC Office on Aging shared their thoughts on collaborating across generations and business sectors to build age-friendly cities.

Click the image to enlarge.
Among them was Jeremy Dabor, chief production officer of the Toronto-based startup Sensassure, which developed and fine-tuned their incontinence sensor solution, the Smart Patch, by temporarily living in an assisted living community in Columbia, MD.

The experience gave Jeremy’s team first-hand insight and input from consumers and care partners.

“It is one thing to design a product,” the 23-year-old noted, “and quite another to build it while living with your consumers.”

Jeremy’s comments echoed the sentiments of keynote speaker Donna Butts, who spoke on the importance of well-designed, intentional and purposeful intergenerational programs.

This past summer’s event was an attempt to answer one question that unifies 35 Aging2.0 chapters in 14 different countries: how can technology empower healthy aging?

Another attempt was developing a consumer panel made up of those over the age of 50, caregivers for that population, and professionals working to serve seniors in that demographic.

Entrepreneurs, according to IDEO designer Barbara Beskind, 91, must “design with, not for” their consumers.

That comment, delivered at the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, alluded to the vision of Katy Fike, Ph.D., who established Aging2.0 in 2012 with Stephen Johnston.

Today, the global innovation platform and business accelerator works for aging and senior care with a dedication to involving the 50-plus consumer population in evaluating and designing technology products.

The consumer panel has since grown to over 500 people globally, but with your help we can engage hundreds of thousands of people 50-plus in improving aging services and supports by educating and supporting innovators in the field through intergenerational design and collaboration.


Meaghan McMahon is the director of Outreach and Communication for the Aging2.0 Washington DC Chapter, where she directs the group’s social media campaign to increase local partnerships and identify sponsors. She assists with planning and hosting quarterly chapter community events. Read her full bio.

Interested in having a global impact? Learn more about the Aging2.0 consumer panel.

Don’t miss the Aging2.0 AgeTech Expo November 19-20 in San Francisco where aging services providers and tech companies will join together to share cross-sector innovation insights and collaboration opportunities.

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