Seniors are the new Innovators

Much has been written about co-creation recently, including this recent article from Innovation Excellence on seniors as the new innovators. The major focus of the article is on the HelloAgainChallenge in which senior members of our aging population are actively involved in the creation of new ways to use mobile technology to address the needs of the senior sector.

At present the challenge is set up as an ideas channel, in which potential future customers are asked what they want on the promise of winning some sort of prize. Great motivation and nicely setup. Along with outlines of each idea, contributors are also asked to explain the problem being solved. Having spent a while looking at the customer development process of late this got me thinking…

Putting the Cart before the Horse

It’s all very exciting coming up with solutions, but it’s all about finding the right problem to solve. By gathering details of the problem up front, there is scope for the challenge to group ideas by problem and start from there.

Discovery and Design Pivots

Once you have a problem with customer who NEED to get it solved, the customer discovery phase would typically move through an iterative phase as a solution is developed and as a business model is uncovered. I’m a bit unclear as to how solutions will be developed over time, and how teams will collaborate with each other, particularly with prizes involved. Perhaps this will be a first stage.

The Business Model

Okay, so lets assume they find some great and compelling problems to solve, and some needy customers who are willing to pay for them…at what point is the business model developed? After all, an idea has to earn more than it costs to create. Perhaps a good way forwards would be to use the competition as a customer development channel in which participants are used as the early adopters with teams developing, validating and pivoting appropriate business models along the way.