The Centre initially advertised for a digital manager, but plans changed and instead Paddy Hanrahan took me on as adviser to work with him on two phases. The first was research and internal briefing on the importance of digital tech for older people, drawing on previous work I've done with Drew Mackie and others - archived on this wiki.
The second phase was the more independent Joined Up Digital project outlined here by Paddy, where I was joined by Drew and John Popham working respectively on the importance of networks, and digital storytelling.
The main output from the project has been a one-day event, held in May, with 45 people from over 30 organisations taking part. The morning session was a game that simulated the whole ageing-digital ecosystem from national organisations down to local communities and individuals, including role play. The game design drew on these earlier games.
Robert Pye provides an account from a participant's perspective, which captures better than I could the type of exchanges and deals made on the day between different players.
In the afternoon session groups pulled together insights from the game, and developed ideas around what works; local pilots; network development; big tech; and business models.
Phil Richards worked with Drew on the game materials - no small task - Centre staff provided support and joined in enthusiastically on the day, Paddy facilitated and carried everything forward on a wave of enthusiasm, and John captured presentations in short videos.
Paddy has done a terrific job of reporting the event in the posts I've referenced, and also written a piece on What next for Joined Up Digital?.
Our aim is to develop JUD as a social platform to better connect people using digital technology
- Designed around and co-run by the people it serves
- Powered by a network of organisations bringing together the social and tech sectors
- Pooling funding, skills and resources to more effectively bring about digitally-enabled change We believe JUD can provide a catalyst for digital transformation of the social sector, starting with ageing. We will develop solutions with people to bridge the digital divide, and will share digital leadership and expertise across organisations to help the third sector ‘catch up’ and to better exploit the digital age for social good.
Paddy goes on to describe three components: ways to help people connect locally with each other and with community activities and local services; support for organisations and leaders in digital transformation; and a network to share ideas, learning and to develop these ideas.
I'll expand later on some elements of the programme, and report any developments. Meanwhile I strongly recommend the video interviews John Popham has been doing with older people on how they use digital technology.
My thanks to Paddy, and the Centre's CEO Dr Anna Dixon, for the opportunity to contribute. I hope Paddy and his new team can secure support, and that now the Centre has such a great team in place there will be further reflection on how digital tech can help enhance their programmes.