Output from May Event - Afternoon Session (JUD Working Groups)

This article is a write-up by Paddy Hanrahan of the afternoon session of the JUD event on May 18th 2016. It follows on from the article describing the morning session.

Purpose of the Session


The afternoon session looked to build upon the findings and insights of the morning JUD Game, as we asked the audience to work together on how we could take the JUD project forward. We set up five working groups a topic to pick up and develop over 2 hours, with each assigned a scenario and an objective.

The overall goal was to explore how a scenario of a more formal Joined Up Digital network could work together to:

  • Compile and share what works already - the projects in place and the front-line experience of the diverse set of organisations represented in the room 

  • Further develop some of the solutions from the morning's game into a pilot / local project 

  • Brainstorm some ideas for big tech investments that could really 'shift the dial' and help transform the ageing space 

  • Define how we could best operate and collaborate as a large & diverse network of organisations, and assess what business models could best turn funding & investment into social impact 

  • Ultimately tackle the barriers to wider digital adoption, and help with widespread sharing and adoption of the opportunities available  




Group 1 - So What Works?


John Perkins from Doteveryone leads a summary of the output from Group 1 which did some excellent work to compile a long list of insights of what really does work with regards to digital adoption.










After the event John Perkins summarised: “What works is when solutions are simple, easy to understand and trust, and delivered via a co-operative and balanced partnership. The key thing to remember is that digital is the conduit that leads to the benefit, not the sole aim”

At the event we also had the help of digital storyteller John Popham. Not only am I very grateful to John for capturing so much of our event on video, John has also been out collecting real life stories of how older people are using new technologies. This has the twin purpose of backing up some of the findings we reached through the event but also helps to challenge the myth that 'technology is not for older people'. Nothing can tell us what works better than people in their own words - here are a few of the excellent videos John shared on the day:



















Group  2- Pilot Local Solution

Miles from LASA helped chair what was possibly the most open and challenging task of taking one of the proposed solutions from the morning session and developing it into a 'real life' project. This group took Maureen's walking club idea and tried to think about how it might be progressed. In Miles' summary he acknowledges that access to information and sharing knowledge is crucial, and this is where digital can play a helpful role. Lucinda from Ageing Better then discusses the barrier of internet infrastructure - not everyone can afford broadband at home, and questions whether care homes could do more (“only 20% of care homes provide their residents with internet”).











Group  3 - Network Development

The scenario for Group 3 is that the JUD project continues and the stakeholders agree to formalise the network, with the intention of creating an entity that could do real work. I lead this working group and we explored how a network would need to include a huge number of organisations - of all sizes and types across all sectors (especially local / community organisations, which were key to all of the solutions out of Session 1). As well as looking at how we would convene such a network, we looked at how every member could be recognised for the work, experience, skills and effort they put in via a 'value exchange' concept.










David Wilcox, with Drew Mackie, has been an advocate of network thinking and building for a number of years, and provided some sage advice after the event. “At local level there is never one network, but many that don't connect well enough. People find it difficult to navigate. Similarly nationally. So one approach would be to focus, both locally and nationally on connecting, curating, convening. This could be done in conjunction with a smaller JUD network that has a tighter focus and offering. 
“So you could have a joinedup value proposition: how to join up digital, people, networks locally and nationally. The core network is for people interested in how to do that, and they learn together and support each other. They also build networks and do strategic joining up by applying their methods. The aim is to ripple out joining up rather than take on the big task of a mega network.
“We developed some really creative joined up solutions at the event because we were all in the same room, with clear goals, a framework, and ways to communicate easily. In my view the challenge is how to continue and expand that process out of the room through more convening of people online and face-to-face, facilitating communication, connecting  and curating ideas. In the process we'll all learn how to get better at joining up.”

Group  4 - Big Tech Ideas

Tris from NPC led a group of big brains to come up with three 'transformative' ideas for how a technology could radically change the ageing space and allow us to achieve more together. A common theme with all of them is how do we build solutions to help people control, manage and maximise their own personal data.











Group  5 - Business Models

Building on a main JUD theme that there is plentiful supply of digital solutions out there but too many not reaching the people who need them, Dan Jones from Ageing Better looks at what business models can best tackle this challenge he refers to as “the last mile”. How do we best tackle this 'market failure' and help convert funding and investment of digital in the ageing space into wider scale social impact?











Overall reflections

John's description of the 'So what works' working group reminds us that there are many organisations already out there doing sterling work on tackling digital exclusion. It also shows us that there is still much more we can do together. We need to work more collaboratively to make best use of the limited funding available, to pool our resources and expertise and apply 'what works' at far greater scale. And in the future we'll need greater integration of everything: resources, services, data - if we are to make 'ageing in 2050' a better experience for all.

Linking back to a common theme out of Session 1 (game), I was interested to hear Dan conclude in his wash-up from the Business Models group that there is clearly a role for a 'conduit' on the ground. Someone that can educate and inform ('signpost') people of what is already out there, and for that role to be the focus of the market which wants to bring them solutions that can help makes lives better. I think this is an interesting idea that we should explore further as a network.

In the Network development session I was in no doubt of the scale challenge to convene and run a large network of organisations across the whole ageing sector, especially one which could receive funding and do transformative work. However I was inspired to hear Tim's ideas on what they have achieved with a network of partners at Ethos - and how the idea of a 'value exchange' can convert the value that different types of organisations can bring to a network. And with David, Drew and others I believe we could convene a group of network experts again soon and hopefully find a solution.

I also believe that such a network would be an effective place to create new programmes of work, that benefit from strong digital leadership and working with all organisations - not just the 'bigger players' at the national level. It would also be an interesting setting to test and develop some of the 'Big Tech' ideas that Tris' working group outlined, such that from the off such concepts were developed hand-in-hand with the front-line, community-level organisations and in partnership with the people they are ultimately aiming to enable and help.

In summary it was a productive session. I am grateful to the attendees for sharing their ideas and experience, and all five of the working groups provided some great insights which can help take JUD forward.

Feedback on this article

Project contributors: please contact me via email or our Slack channel if you have further comments or additions to add to this article, and I can post an update.

Barriers to adoption

Barriers to adoption

Working groups

Working groups