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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 groups – Alison’s blog Friday 26th October

Have just returned from a lecture on ” Gas leaks,bombs and chemical contamination : how lasers are revealing the hidden dangers ahead “. Dr.David Stothard explained how the academic study of the technology of photonics has developed into a commercial application which will deliver safety, security and economic benefit to society. I was struck by the parallels with our endeavours in the Pioneer group. Today’s topic of building a business model was directly relevant to the procedures Dr. Stothard had followed. I may not have understood the physics but, thanks to this afternoon, I could appreciate the need to understand the market, to engage in commercial partnership etc. Talk about transferable skills and you never know when learning will come in handy!!

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.


Pioneer Group, Sheffield, Researcher’s Blog – Session 4

Yesterday’s session ‘Collecting Evidence’ required some last minute changes to the format to make sure we got the most out of the session but this is all part of the iterative nature of the project. We were feeling confident with the session plan and came up with the idea of participants listing their favourite ideas from the last session, thinking of the benefits for potential users such as care homes and healthy older adults and then undertaking some of the traditional research techniques that would provide an evidence base for the effectiveness of the product. The group as usual had varied ideas including an idea for the use of the product for tenants who need housing repairs and the use of the wristband to detect dehydration by using a skin sensor. The group spoke about how important nutritional information and feedback is for the user and how methods such as interviews, observation and questionnaires could be used in conjunction to provide evidence for the amended NANA’s effectiveness. Next week is something new for me, business models, and so will be interesting to see how what we have done so far links in to this and furthers the project.


Pioneer groups – Liz’s blog Tuesday 23rd October

Definitely much more stressful afternoon even though when I got the idea of what we were trying to do, I was more relaxed. I only took part once at the hospital in trying to manage a survey. As a volunteer, I was asked to go round all the patients and ask them lots of quite difficult and even obscure questions which, as most of the patients were quite frail and not very alert,weren’t understood.. There were choices and abcd gradings and very few (if any) yes/no questions. With this in mind, I feel that any survey aimed at older people needs to be very simple to follow, not too long and if possible just straight yes/no answers. Most surveys I have taken part in for holidays, supermarkets etc are all grading from 1-10 and became very boring.Looking forward to seeing our questionaire that we would use!!!!
Looking forward to the next ghallenge as it is definitely a new idea for me to tackle.

Pioneer groups – John’s blog Saturday 20th October

Trying to find a route to a market, this was a much more challenging session perhaps due in part to following such a stimulating experience the previous week when we met as a relaxed, mutually respectful, self-confident group. We appeared to be working outside our comfort zone this week, with much less focus. Task headings seemed to produce much repetitive discussion with diffuse thinking. Each individual had their own variation of the product and how it would be used. We accomplished less, therefore it was less satisfying. Work in small groups seems to be a  more productive dynamic than trying to incorporate the talents of the whole group in a single discussion. Still enjoyed our new friendship group.

Pioneer groups – Alison’s blog Friday 19th October

Maggie  had a harder task today and so did we. Until now we were working within our comfort zone. We could see ourselves as consumers of assisted living technology and giving a name to a company and designing a product.It was a different story trying to determine the best methods to test the viability of the product. We could all make suggestions, and did, but what the validity of these is open to question. I think we questioned why we were being asked to do this. Looking forward to the support of an expert next week. Yours aye Alison

Pioneer Groups – Researcher’s Blog, Sheffield Session 3

Yesterday we had our third Pioneer Group session in Sheffield; our experts were Jim and Ben from Designit Design Consultancy in London. Jim gave a presentation about design before the group took him through the NANA system. The second half of the session was dedicated to negotiating which ideas the group most wanted in the re-design of the system. These included a possible application for the iPad and a wristband that collated data on exercise and food consumption. The group said that simplicity and benefits for the user were key to a good design. They certainly had lots of great ideas and it will be interesting to see what Jim and Ben come back with when they do our marketing session in week six.


Pioneer Groups – Ron’s Blog, Sheffield

This was a most interesting meeting because we had a presentation given by Jim Dawton, and Ben Pawle, from Designit.

The presentation concerned Design and Marketability of items in the Apple range of electronic devices. Jim centred on the future market of a growing population of older people. After being shown the Cobalt NANA software he commented on the accessibility and usefulness of the programme.

He challenged the group to suggest marketable ideas related to the NANA project. He collected our ideas, written up on Post It notes, and will study these and return with his comments.