DAA Project - Design for Active Ageing

One of the fundamental challenges facing Europe is the ageing of its population. Europe urgently needs innovative solutions and improved policies that enable efficient and effective social and health care services. 

In this scenario, the European Commission launched on December 2011 the Design-led Innovations for Active Ageing project (DAA), an initiative that brings together eight cities that are determined to come up with new and sustainable solutions for demographic ageing. The project’s ultimate goal is to contribute to social innovation and public sector transformation in the area of senior care, and it wants to do this by combining the experience of senior care specialists with the expertise of service designers.

BCD’s role, as one of the partners involved in this project, is to detect and analyze initiatives and solutions driven in Barcelona focused on improving the quality of life of people suffering from neurodegenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer.  

The Design-led Innovations for Active Ageing project ended on 30 June 2014

The project will adopt a holistic, systemic and integrated approach to tackle the wicked problem of an ageing demographic. Organizations from Antwerp, Barcelona, Berlin, Helsinki, Oslo, Sofia, Stockholm and Warsaw will provide a systems analysis of senior care in their respective cities, thereby placing best practices and existing policies in their proper context. Field visits and intensive workshops will help to define and understand the local complexities and challenges, but also to uncover opportunities and open up new perspectives.

In the workshops participants from different domains are invited to join in the design-led process for innovative solutions. DAA will try to involve all stakeholders that make up the local ecosystem of elderly care, both from the private and public sector: technology suppliers, service providers, local authorities, volunteer workers, policy makers, lead users, and many others. Citizens, communities and relevant stakeholders will be regarded as co-producers.

Design-led and user-driven
Service design helps to build up the innovation capacity of cities and regions. Rather than being an element of styling, design has the potential of being a strategic instrument and a driver of innovation.

Incorporating design expands the notion of innovation from a top-down, technology based approach, to a bottom-up approach that starts from a demand-driven perspective and a deep understanding of user needs. The ageing population poses a challenge that needs radically different viewpoints and a fundamental rethinking of existing issues and the structures in place. Design searches for opportunities in unknown territories while still keeping an eye on the “bigger picture”.

Designers will lead co-design workshops where they will introduce emphatic methods and visualization tools, in order to make tangible possible scenarios that will support strategic decision and policy making. During the process, designers will facilitate cross disciplinary interactions by bringing together individuals from different functions and organisations, but also by drawing from different areas of expertise and disciplines.

The designers’ role in the process is all about providing the right people with the right motivation and the right tools.

The insights, ideas and suggestions that arise throughout the process, will be recorded by using visual presentation techniques and methods. However, all design interventions will be geared towards concrete solutions and plans for their step-by-step implementation.

These plans might include measures in fields as diverse as innovative procurement, intelligent service delivery, public-private partnerships, infrastructure rehabilitation, efficient use of information technology, etc.

Learn more about the DAA project at http://daaproject.eu/