During the exploration process we first developed a set of provocations, and then distilled some challenges to stimulate development of ideas for action.
We were delighted that we could map the provocations onto discussion at a symposium on ‘Transforming not excluding – the impact of information technology and innovation on later life’. Our blog post was republished by the Age Action Alliance - which confirmed our confidence in the content.
The challenges and provocations from the exploration are listed below. Discussion at the symposium provided further insights and confirmed that the barriers to innovation lie in organisational culture as well as difficulty in adopting technology.
Here's an initial set of challenges developed from the provocations, and from insights gained in reviewing resources: see below for those.
The purpose of the challenges is to stimulate the development of ideas here >.
1. Promote greater understanding of ways that technology is changing the world that we all live in
2. Influence current digital inclusion programmes towards an approach that recognises the importance of familiar technology, mobile devices, and personalised routes towards adoption.
3. Encourage and support organisations in the ageing field in the use of social technology
4. Facilitate conversations and stories that make it easier to develop inclusive discussion of digital inclusion and innovation
5. Make better use of existing assets - research, practical experience and innovative projects that could be scaled.6. Promote ways to introduce innovation into the Big Lottery Fund’s Ageing Better programme, and other programmes.
Additional insights from the symposium
During the exploration we developed a set of provocations, and invited comments. Here's a summary of the result, together with insights from resources we gathered.
1. There isn’t an opt-out from technology - but you can choose how much you participate. (Technology has changed the world dramatically, and it will continue to change. What’s important is enabling people to choose how they engage).
2. Government is concerned that many older people are not online - but there are limits to what government can do. (People will engage with what’s interesting and useful to them, and use devices that most suit their needs).
3. Everyone needs Internet access … but beyond that, no one size fits all. (Cost is a barrier, and then personalisation is important).
4. Computer courses and basic skills training don’t meet the needs of many older people. (Tablets are much easier to use than computers for most purposes, and smart phones and smart TVs may also meet many people’s needs).
5. Simpler interfaces are needed for computers and mobile devices - not just more functions. (Older people should be involved in design).
6. Relatively few organisations in the ageing field are actively engaged in the online world or using collaborative tools. (Using social technology should help enable greater greater cooperation).
7. Digital social innovations in services are not scaling. (There’s too much focus on the tech, and not enough on what it does, together with a lot of re-invention).
8. There is a raft of research, but little knowledge-sharing of that and day-to-day practice. (A lot of research is hidden and not transferred to practice. A culture of competitive tendering reduces people’s inclination to cooperate and use what’s already available).
9. The energy for change lies with apps, connectors and storytellers. (To which we can add, evolution of trusted technologies such as TVs. Bring the storytellers together).
10. The digital divide is no longer a useful metaphor. Reality is more complex.
Resources - what we already have and know
Here’s some insights from an initial review of publications, research programmes, funding challenges and online resources. More detail here.