ThoughtStorms Wiki

BillSeitz is on a roll in these comments.

Design students are interested in monitoring systems to protect the elderly who live alone. The problem isn't technical. It's social and economic.

Thanks for the plug, Victor! (We sell into both aging-in-place and institutional settings – for the former, our new site is better done.)

A few random bits:

  • The WholeProduct concept is important to thinking through the barriers to adoption of a new product GeoffreyMoore does an excellent job of covering it. Any design student who doesn’t read CrossingTheChasm shouldn’t be given a diploma. Or, rather, that school should be shut down.
  • There are some people trying to set up buddy teams, sometimes between seniors and juniors, sometimes between seniors themselves, depending on their level of functioning. It takes a lot of time/effort to build such labor-driven networks, though, regardless of the level of AT.
  • “Designing” such a network (or any other human system) is easy to do at some unknown level of quality. It’s the implementation that’s the relevant piece. Which makes it a poor fit for design school projects.
  • How many new operating systems, computer languages, and compilers, designed and built by students for projects, have you seen adopted in RealWorld? Perhaps the goal for design projects need to change, though I find that it’s usually more palatable to keep such things unstated because the only realistic/explicits goal of such a process are “learn something for the sake of learning” and “develop some skills which might help you deliver some bit of value once you’re on a team for a RealJob”, neither of which is sufficiently inspiring for a lot of people.
  • I think Thackara himself deserves some last words (pardon the mis-spelling of the page title, JT):

Bill Seitz 5/25/2006

Another problem specific to senior-services and business models: a huge stumbling block is that most such services have been shunted into a medical model by the government reimbursement systems (Medicare/Medicaid). Thus

  • everything gets thought of as “health care”
  • not many people really pay for their own “health care” directly, which creates a large barrier to adoption (“if the gumint or my HMO won’t pay, then neither will I”)

Bill Seitz 5/25/2006

A couple notes specific to senior-call systems:

  • seniors don’t want to wear/carry a device
  • seniors don’t want video cameras in their homes
  • you’d need a video camera in almost every room, including the bathroom
  • there is definitely a “I don’t want any help, I don’t want to bother my kids, I don’t want to display my sliding functionality because I don’t want my family to force me into a home” set of fears/behaviors.

Bill Seitz 5/25/2006

Another challenge in this space: nobody really wants to increase their personal involvement in it.

The senior doesn’t want to acknowledge (and thus adapt to) her sliding functionality.

The family caregiver doesn’t want to spend even more time on caregiving, and doesn’t want to acknowledge her parent’s sliding functionality (for a wide variety of practical and emotional reasons).

Thus making such systems as “passive” as possible (or rather, the systems are active, so that the humans are passive) is key. The applies to both ongoing behavior and to up-front training. Simplicity and “encalming” are key values.

Bill Seitz 5/25/2006

A follow-up to the simple/encalming and business models intersection… I suspect that, if my last comment is true, then (a) the Kathy Sierra “passionate user” model isn’t applicable, and (b) the Viral Marketing approach that is so talked-about (at least until Bubble2.0 inflates enough to make more money available for “brand building”) may not be possible…

See more :

  • OnDesign ... designers need to be holists, considering the whole system
  • OnBranding ... how do you sell something which people don't want to get excited about?


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