Archive by Author | sharneylevine

Come along to one of our free events!

COBALT is undertaking a series of exciting events to share our findings and to showcase our novel research techniques. Stakeholders including older adults, health & social care professionals, commissioners, policy makers, charities, local agencies and other interested parties are warmly invited.

All events are free and refreshments are provided.

Currently we have four events  planned:

Sheffield: 10am to 4pm,  23rd May 2013, St Marys Church and Community Centre

Swindon: 10am to 4pm,  13th June 2013 , venue to be confirmed

Edinburgh: 10am to 4pm, 20th June 2013, Best Western Hotel

London: Summer 2013, venue to be confirmed

Booking is advised. To book your place please email Dr. Maggie Ellis or ring her on 01334 462017.

Researcher’s Blog – COBALT Update

Thought I’d write a quick post to update our readers on what we are up to at the minute. We are currently creating ideas for dissemination to stakeholders from all of the work we have done so far. We have ideas for events, materials and messages we want to send out but what is difficult is distilling all of the data and thinking of the best ways to get the information out there to people who can evoke change.  We are mindful that we want to represent our data and our participants in the most appropriate way possible but that we also want to try more novel approaches to dissemination rather than just sticking the academic routes that the ALT sector do not head to for information.At the same time we are also writing academic papers and organising some one-off interactive workshops buliding on what we have learnt from one-to one interviews with health and social care staff and commissioners. So as usual lots going on at COBALT!


Since the Pioneer Groups – Researcher’s Blog

Hi all,

I can’t believe it’s been nearly two weeks since our final Pioneer Group and that it’s nearly Christmas! As we’ll be off over Christmas I thought I’d write my final blog of 2012 to let you know what we’ve been doing since the groups finished. For the past week I’ve been revisiting the video footage we took of the Sheffield group and categorising everything that we got from the sessions into outputs (i.e. written materials, ideas for dissemination) and research lessons (i.e. a good facilitator is key, which activities worked well and which could be amended next time) and am gathering all of this information so as a team we can see what we have learnt from the groups in terms of process and the messages we have learnt from older adults engaging with an item of technology. It has been illuminating to see the sessions as when we were in them they were very fast paced and so could not reflect at the time. The next step is to look at the messages we have for industry, older adults and other stakeholders and how best to get these out there. So lots to do in the New Year!


Researcher’s Blog, Sheffield Session 10

Today was our final Pioneer Group session. The group discussed ideas for dissemination events and came up with lots of creative ideas such as a pop up shop and interviewing people at a trade show (as an exercise only) for the role of technology champion. They thought long and hard about who they want to influence and the best arenas to do this in. Their favourite idea was one of a roadshow which can travel around the country so that the group can go to the people they want to influence rather than waiting for them to attend events or come to them. We went back to week one and asked the group to think of the skills they described themselves as having and asked them to put these in context for a possible role in the dissemination events. The group were as always very enthusiastic in wanting to take part in future and they decided as a group that events must be fun and engaging. We even had one participant who said she would dress up as a tablet computer and act out this role to engage passers by. One of our participants is well connected in the community and is willing to give us speak to those she knows at the council to get us a pop up shop in the centre of the city. So lots of ideas and things to take forward for the final phase of the project. We also recieved great feedback from the group about the research process which was wonderful for us.


Researcher’s Blog, Sheffield Session 9

This week’s session was ‘Coaching the User’ with a presentation by our guest speaker Nina Evan, an Occupational Therapist (OT) from Bath Institute of Medical Engineering (BIME). Nina spoke about the OT role and its person-centred approach. She has been involved in technology projects such as the Night Light Tray which were relevant to the group and thinking of the needs of the person and providing them with the correct solution for them. After this the group undertook activities around who would be the best person to train users to use the product and created a strategy for how this should be done. They agreed that flexibility to the user was key and that a choice of one-to-one or group tutorials which were held at community venues and run by a local, patient, flexible person was the best way forward. They recognised the need to visit people in their own homes or in a care setting and the practicalities around this. The group also discussed initial ideas for dissemination of our findings and outputs such as flash mobs and healty eating barbeques. This will be built on in our final session next Tuesday.


Researcher’s Blog, Sheffield Session 8

This week’s session was ‘Technology Champions’ and our guest speaker was Jennifer Allinson, Sheffield Healthy Champion. We invited Jennifer along to discuss with participants what it means to champion a product or service. The activities we asked participants to undertake included thinking of why there should be a champion for the product (now possibly named ‘Life’), the attributes a champion for the product should have, how to access this person and how to promote the service. The group agreed that being a good listener, having ‘age to age’ skills and having life experience and knowledge of the product were vital for a Champion. They felt that there should be no barriers to who could champion the product. They also discussed practicalities that need to be addressed such as support for Champions and if they would be paid or unpaid. For me the most interesting activity was participants creating in pairs a job advertisement for the Champion which I have amalgated for the group to see next week and get their feedback on. Next week is the ‘Coaching the User’ session.


Sylvia’s Blog – Sheffield Pioneer Group Session 8

Jennifer Allinson, Sheffield Community Health Champion, described the life experiences that led to her interest in championing community health. She spoke of her positive gains, in both knowledge and confidence, which have helped her to encourage others into achieving good health and well being.

The group were then taxed with listing the attributes necessary for a future NANA champion. This proved to be not only interesting, but greatly entertaining.
After tea break we discussed ways of reaching our potential audience; in order to pass on healtrhy living advice. Post It notes were soon filled with ‘brilliant’ ideas – including possible venues, advertising methods etc:-

Maggie suggested we adopted a Flash Mob script. Never heard of such a thing but we might well ‘give it a go’ next week.
Don’t envy Maggie and Sarah having to collate all our ideas to bring back to a later session!


Pioneer Group, Sheffield, Researcher’s Blog – Session 7

Today’s session was ‘Partnership Development’ and was led by our guest speaker Sarah Wren from Hertfordshire Community Meals. Sarah has vast experience of working with other partners through her social enterprise business which provides meals to older adults in Hertfordshire and therefore she felt like a very relevant person to have on board particularly due to the focus of NANA on nutrition.

The tasks Sarah set including getting participants to think of what makes a successful partnership versus what makes a partnership more difficult and getting participants to think of the best partners for NANA. She then asked participants to group them into categories i.e. social care teams, celebrities and medical establishments. There was some debate as to which celebrity chef would be write to endorse the new product for example would Delia or Nigella be best? The last task Sarah set was for participants to focus in on the message we would tell the partner about NANA which would be of benefit for them, how to contact them, barriers to gaining their support and their role in the partnership. I feel that these tasks really focussed in on good strategies and gained a lot of information from the two hour session.

Having watched the last two sessions on video I feel that the session order of Business Sessions then Promotion flowed on very well into Partnership Development. Next week is ‘Technology Champions’ where participants will look at who can champion the new NANA and how this can be done. I can’t believe we only have three weeks left…time flies!


Pioneer Group, Sheffield, Cliff’s Blog – Session 7

This was the 7th session today on the NANA project, todays presentation was by Sarah Wren who gave a talk on developing strategies for creating partnerships to spread the word about NANA.

After Sarah had given her brief talk we were ask to think about which business groups would benefit from coming on board to help spread the NANA word, also the charities, and other organizations i e: health, councils, etc that may have an interest in this project.
We were then asked to think about what, if anything they could bring to the table in terms of the marketing of NANA, also the benefits they would get from being part of this NANA project.

Pioneer Group, Sheffield, Jackie’s Blog

We’re now on week four of the COBALT project, and working as a group many new features have been suggested to be added to NANA in its present form. After a re-cap of our thoughts we divided the group into pairs and decided which we thought were the five most important features.

Things became a little bit more complicated at this point! How do we design a universal product to attract professional bodies, carers, the elderly and not so elderly?

Since being part of this project I have come to realise just how much technology has progressed in recent years, it’s amazing what lies behind that touch screen! The two hour session flew by and we look forward to a talk from Age UK next week.