The Centre for Ageing Better - initially slow to recognise the importance of digital technology - has now caught up with the welcome announcement on Twitter of a Digital Initiative and recruitment of a digital manager. If you are interested, apply fast - closing date is in a week.
The Centre is part of the What Works Network, with a £50 million endowment from the Big Lottery Fund, and a strong Board chaired by Lord Filkin. The Centre is currently recruiting senior staff to work with its new Chief Executive Anna Dixon, who joined at the start of the month.
The Centre's early consultation papers lacked any mention of digital - backstory here. I think that the new initiative opens the way for the Centre to take a lead in a field that lacks strategic thinking on Living Well in the Digital Age, if it follows through from initial scoping.
The ‘Digital Initiative’ will run over the next few months, with a possible extension, and aims to:
- Research – what digital innovations are out there that are helping older people, or can help Ageing Better with delivering its mission
- Connect – with other organisations that are working on the topic of Technology and Ageing, see how we can collaborate
- Define – what Ageing Better’s role will be with regards to Technology and Ageing, and how Digital may impact our positioning and our candidate programmes
- Specify – the role digital will play within our system blueprint, i.e. the IT systems we will need to support business processes and communicate & collaborate with the external world
The responsibilities of the manager are:
- Help define the Centre’s position, role and remit in relation to “Technology & Ageing”
- Network with other organisations within the sector to collaborate and represent Ageing Better on the topic of digital / technology in ageing.
- Research existing and ‘horizon’ digital technologies in the Ageing sector – what really works for older people on this front.
- Research what digital technologies will help Ageing Better support its working processes, and work closely with our external partners & stakeholders
It looks like a job for a consultant, on £300-£400 a day, closing date for applications October 1, starting asap. The emphasis in the job description is on technical and project management expertise, so I'm hoping there may be scope for other contributions on digital and ageing. There's a lot to mine from our exploration into Living Well in the Digital Age, and the work of others in the field.
OK, I'm self-interested, but this could a great opportunity to commission some supporting pieces of work from people like Shirley Ayres, John Popham and Paul Webster - to name just a few - who share their experience and insights generously. My suggestion, after reviewing existing work in the field, would be some mapping of who's who, and who may offer what, on the lines Drew Mackie and I have been developing.
The initiative is a chance for the Centre to demonstrate an open and cooperative approach, building on knowledge of "what really works" and developing a sharing network, rather than just starting another round of research leading to yet more reports. From helpful exchanges with Centre staff after earlier posts, I'm hopeful about the direction that's emerging.