ME Design Age Accelerator
A design-led learning and support service to maximise the potential of new businesses ideas in healthy ageing.
About the project
The pandemic has focused the attention of our communities on the needs of older and vulnerable people in our society. People are connecting with each other more than ever leading to a better understanding of each other’s lives and what is needed for us to thrive.
Enforced isolation in the home is not a new situation for many older people, but as all of us find ourselves in the same position, new ideas are emerging. For example, how to make quality of life better for older neighbours and relatives, how to make the home environment work better, how to manage with more limited physical care services and how to communicate and engage remotely. Many of these ideas will become new enterprises.
We are developing a design-led learning and support service aimed at businesses that serve healthy ageing — the Design Age Accelerator. It will maximise the potential of new business ideas by using design expertise and design methods to help business teams create something that people both need and want and that has real impact.
Research proves that the biggest cause of business failure is lack of understanding of what consumers really need or want. Too few enterprises engage and listen to their potential users effectively as they develop their idea, either because they lack quality of access to their market, or have little experience of prototyping ideas at an early stage when it is more feasible to change tack.
The Design Age Accelerator will bring the best of UK design talent and skills to support emerging businesses through a network of “age-informed” design practitioners. It will teach businesses to use design thinking and techniques as part of their development process and enable access to older people to test and prototype ideas. It will also create an online repository of learning and resource to enable businesses to access good design.
The Design Age Accelerator will specialise in design, working with other organisations who support early stage businesses, to embed design in other programmes of support as well as directly. It will champion underserved markets in ageing to attract the interest of entrepreneurs, working with universities and other incubators.
The benefit will be better designed products and services that work for older people and create more successful UK enterprises that can grow and thrive. It will support the UK to become a global leader in ground-breaking healthy ageing solutions.