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DALLAS is the ‘big one’ in assisted living projects. The organisers believe a humanistic, service oriented approach is essential to success.

Thanks to Gus Desbarats, The Creative Industries KTN Experience Led Innovation Theme Champion, for this article.

 

I was up in Scotland this week, doing the keynote talk at the launch of a major funding initiative that aims encourage innovation to address the needs of older people. Why was the Creative Industries Champion for Experience Led Innovation chosen for this role?

After years of Pilots, the final round of the Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP) funding initiative, called DALLAS, aims to create and test a series of propositions good enough to leave a self-sustaining legacy.

DALLAS (Delivering Assisted Living Lifestyles At Scale) is a a total investment of up to £23 to establish 3 to 5 communities of 10,000 people or more across the UK.

 

The communities created will show how assisted living technologies and services can be used to promote well-being and provide top quality health and care, enabling people to live independently.  The aim will be to open new markets in social innovation, service innovation and wellness, enabled by technology.

The project is open to a broad range of ‘assistance’ levels, from prevention (e.g. encouraging greater fitness) to enabling earlier post operative release from hospitals.

The challenge is simple (not): we all want to stay independent to actually enjoy the longer lives that science is enabling, and our governments would also like to encourage us in this same direction because they simply won’t be able to afford to help, in the present way, in the future world where there will only be 2 taxpayers per senior citizen.

 

Despite this powerful alignment of interests, we humans, as usual appear to be our own worst enemies, prisoners to our behavioural instincts. Simply put: at the moment, we don’t much like using technology to helps people care for us remotely. Our heartfelt reasons range from ‘the device clashes with my jewellery’ to ‘I really don’t want to be reminded of my condition’.

In short, one of the main lessons from the experiments of the last few years is that,surprise, we humans are complicated! Our emotional, often subconscious, behaviour patterns make the delivery of safe reliable unsupervised care psychological challenge is as much as a technical one.

Motivation is all. To succeed, DALLAS solutions will need to sell themselves to us 24/7, they will need to pander to our baser motivations, our social instincts and our sense of fun (and any other useful impulse) to overcome the powerfully warm comfort blanket of denial and mild delusion that often gets in the way of self help.

 

When I present the Creative Industries KTN to other technology led communities, I call us the ‘business of emotion KTN’. In addition to my area of Experience Design, Advertising, Gaming, and Architects will all have a role to play in leading the creation of service propositions that actually work.

The DALLAS project will assemble consortia with different abilities. Technologists will need to work with different kinds of service providers, public and private. Designers will, as usual, play a key translation role and creative coordination role between these specialist participants with, often widely divergent outlooks.

The TSB is serious about making this happen. For the first time, one of the two planning oversight committees is a ‘Lifestyle’ committee tasked with advising the organisers on how to ensure the project delivers the sophisticated humanism necessary to success. Your correspondent has the chair. My talk and topic were selected to set a tone that the rest of the project aims to maintain.

 

Creative Industries, the door is well and truly wide open, please walk through.

Applicants must register an interest by 20 July 2011 with a first stage submission deadline of 27 July 2011.   More information can be found here:http://www.innovateuk.org/content/competition/dallas-delivering-assisted-living-lifestyles-at-sc.ashx

 

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