Design Thinking Foundations
Fortunately, there are many products today that help with the aging process. But what else has yet to be invented? How might we provide new products and services for today's 70-year-olds?
A part of the Design Thinking process is to determine the problem through a user-centered approach. Through observations and interviews, it was concluded that there is an increasing issue of loneliness that the 70-year-old faces today - the issue of 'craving human interaction'.
Through a series of exercises - user research involving observations, interviews, and empathy immersion, one of the major issue was identified. Based on the conclusions, a solution was designed through the creation of prototypes.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
To begin with, the aim of this project was to identify one problem that senior citizens face in their day to day life, and come up with insights that can lead to innovation.
Once the issue is identified, the aim was to create a tangible product/service that can serve as a solution that addresses what the elders need and value. Using the ideas and insights established previously, the next step was to design a product or a service to help reduce the magnitude of this growing concern through the creation of prototypes.
TOOLS InDesign | Miro
How might we provide new products and services for today's 70-year-olds?
THE DESIGN PROCESS
'Listen with your eyes'
To be able to understand what elders value and care about, the first step was to observe them in their routine. I went to public parks and grocery stores to observe and document my findings. I focused on things that prompt behavior, things that they care about, and their body language. I noticed that they would find moments to interact with strangers and play with kids. It was evident that they crave human interaction and emotional support.
IMMERSE IN EMPATHY
'Ways to experience new perspectives'
Through interviews, the issue of loneliness was reaffirmed. To go beyond my intellectual understanding and obtain a more visceral sense of their perspective, I devised a similar situation for myself to be able to empathize with the seniors.
I started using various ideation methods for coming up with wild ideas to work out the possible solution to the problem of loneliness. I arranged for a brainstorming session with my friends and family to get exposed to different perspectives. Using viability, feasibility, and desirability as filters, I narrowed down to one practical solution.
LEARN FROM EXTREMES
'Stretching beyond assumptions'
To rule out the assumptions and biases at the end of observations, it was time to stretch my thinking and identify the extremes. Using culture as the lens, I attempted to identify extreme personalities to study different behavioral patterns.
'Narrow down and make sense of it all'
It was now time to craft insights based on all the data points gathered through observations, identifying extremes, interviewing elders, and empathizing with the seniors. It was observed that there are three factors that played a major role:
- External factors (changes in the surroundings) like access to activities of interest, changes in adaptability, and changes in cultures.
'Build to Think'
The solution was to create a platform, mobile application, where elders and youngsters can interact and learn by sharing knowledge. The application - 'Learn to Live, Live', for example, would serve as a medium for the youngsters to learn about history vs. the elders could learn about the advancing technology. This way they are both motivated to stay in touch and the elders will be exposed to more human interaction. Prototyping is the key to see the service/product live. I designed the process and created a tangible model for the app using sketches. Further, I tried to pitch this idea to welcome feedback from the target audience.
To understand how cultural differences affect personalities, I decided to interview immigrant parents from varied cultures, visiting their children who are currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
GENERATE INSIGHTS FOR INNOVATION
Using the three aspects gathered through the whole process, I crafted three meaningful insights that would 'Inform' - share the facts and truth, 'Inspire' - make the innovator feel the issue to be able to do something, and 'Be memorable'.
- To stay more sociable and active, elders need more human interaction
- Effects of aging define the changing interests of the elderly
- Adaptability threshold varies with the changing external factors.
'Experiment your way forward'
The idea was to repeat the process of ideation and prototyping to refine and move the idea forward. Based on some feedback, the offerings of the app were modified and enhanced. The potential opportunities and resources needed have been established and documented in the presentation below.