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Pioneer groups – Liz’s blog Monday 10th December

Dear Maggie, Sorry about taking so long to send you my thoughts but I was up to Newmachar last week and it always takes me a day or two to get back to normal. While I remember, I do think a triangle might be a nice addition to the jingle. You can see you are still in my thoughts. Ihave to admit I took a while to get the hang of what we were doing and it was just as well I often had Norman as my partner so that he could keep me right especially in the business plan not to mention the strategies. That was when I realised he had a completely different kind of mind from mine. I really enjoyed your way of dealing with your unruly class. It was great when your smile brought a chink of light in the clouds when I was having a particularly dense moment. I also loved Lin’s skill at lateral thinking with her wee comments that just got us going in a slightly different direction. I am still amazed that I was part of a group which really did plan and visualise a system for which at least Geoffry and I could see immediate use. I realise I must have been pretty enthusiastic about our lighting system at home too when my husband said (out of the blue) “You could do with your lights here”, when the bulb blew in our bedroom one night. Rereading the Project notes on the cover of my folder I guess I’ll better accept that it was just a fictional company right enough even though we were almost set on going the whole way and couldn’t quite believe it wasn’t going to happen – unless Geoffrey goes it alone!!!! I look forward to our next meeting –  with the Sheffield group or whatever. Thanks so much for letting me be part of something so far removed from my normal life. I really loved it. Thank you too for the money – we did feel we should have been paying you for making it all such fun. Have a great Christmas. Love and best wishes, Liz

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!


Pioneer groups – Norman’s blog Wednesday 5th December

First a big thank you for a most enjoyable experience.

I have been thinking about our response to the new technologies and I wonder if we got that right. Technology moves in cycles and it does take, depending on the new technology, anywhere between 10 to 25 years for the innovation to roll to the whole population. As an example, the Arpanet,which became the Internet,was operational in about 1974 in a pilot site in the UK but it required
–  the development of agreed international communication standards( the ISO 7-layer model and the incorporation ofTCP/IP in that model, and
– the progressive upgrading,in the UK, of the BT Network from copper wires to fibre optics to go fast enough to become a usable network and these processes took some 25 years.

Then along comes the WWW and it can piggyback on the work already done to be,and in only about 10 year has become accepted, and then we get smartphones and tablets( over 1billion in use today, then add in Facebook, founded in 2004 but already with more than 1billion users, and you can see that an appropriate infrastructure for rapid development is in place now. Finally, tomorrows pensioners , say those in work but aged 55 or more, will be using these facilities on a daily basis so will be IT literate when they retire. They, unlike today’s  70 year olds will want to use the technology

More to follow  but must break now.

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!


Liz’s blog – Friday 2nd November

What an enthusiastic and talented chap Gary is. However, yet again I felt out of my depth. But i wonder if our publicity could have a catchy musical link as I only remember products which have good music attached. I may be all on my own in this but perhaps not. Just a thought. I always know it is going to be about when the music starts up even if I am not looking at the TV. Am still loving the challenge that Friday afternoon brings!!!!

Geoffrey’s blog – Friday 26th October


The Group met for the 5th time on Friday 26th October to develop, with expert assistance, a business model for the product. Whilst the purpose and production of such a model was clearly understood the actual plan content appeared to be somewhat vague due to a variety of factors and these became all to obvious during the two hour discussion.

Practical issues, as yet unresolved, include the physical form of the product, manufacturing costs, product quality and possible variants (portable version and fully installed version).

These problems, which only became fully apparent when trying to build the business model, need resolution prior to deciding market identification and marketing strategy.

Norman’s bog – Monday 19th November

Great fun on Friday.Ben stuck to his brief,managed his ( and
therefore our) time well and covered All the topics asked of him.Good
need to work out how to sell it to the world! Note that Ben’s approach allowed
everyone in the group to participate fully,and have their say.

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