Scientific methodology

The project follows a user-driven methodology.This methodology employs the Innovation Wheel, which divides the innovation process into two overlapping phases: a WHAT phase that focuses on what to produce and a HOW phase, which focuses on how to produce it. The process has several iterations leading to a refinement of the product as it is being produced, tested, adjusted and tested again. This leads to new insights that ensure value-creation for end-users. The end-users and the SMEs will be integrated into all steps of the process, either directly present or indirectly through ethnographic research and the business ‘idea market’ and commercialisation.

Applying a user-driven methodology enables both incremental and radical product and service innovation, and integrates business model innovations with social innovation. As such the methodology is highly relevant when working with the AAL objectives that aim at improving quality of life, ensuring sustainability of health and social services and creating new jobs and business opportunities. Iteration of the overlapping phases is as follows:

Data collection

The initial data collection is focused on synthesising insights from the participating countries in relation to the subject. Areas for further investigation will be identified and ethnographic research methods will be applied to collect insights into and inputs from end-users on the topic of being old and lonely.

Pattern recognition

The inputs are registered, processed and analysed, using qualitative data analysis supported by the software. Important unmet needs and desires are identified, prioritised and turned into innovation opportunities and design criteria.

Idea & conceptualisation

The opportunities and criteria identified will be used as inputs for ideation and concept-development. To ensure that the development of E2C takes into account not only primary users’ needs, but also addresses secondary and tertiary users’ practice and perceptions in ways that support the use of E2C, the consortium will involve users from all three categories in the concept development in national workshops.

Prototyping

A working prototype will be developed based on ideas from the national workshops, transforming the existing Storytable®, for individual use at home. The prototype development will draw on experiences and resources from the FabLab in the Netherlands. The FabLab has been proven to be a valid development tool for interfaces involving complex interaction with users with specific (dis)abilities. The prototype will be locally tested to eliminate any obvious flaws in the design.

Test

The prototype will be tested in real life environments with seniors representing independent and dependent elderly people from the participating countries, taking into account the different cultural, professional and legal frameworks. Different methods of use will be tested to identify the set-ups and use scenarios that provide most value and handle the dilemma of becoming old the most appropriately.

Deployment

The deployment process shall ensure that E2C not only produces an ideal solution, but also that the solution can, in fact, be implemented in different EU countries, taking into account needs for support, training and financial issues in relation to procurement and use. The national partners will investigate possibilities and barriers for use in the different national settings. The consortium will evaluate what the affordability is as perceived by the users and how this is to be implemented in different European countries.

Commercialisation

To create sustainable business models the E2C costs and price structure for direct use and related services and deployment activities shall be uncovered. A clear market segmentation and exploitation strategy shall be developed. Commercialisation involves aligning dimensions and different stakeholders and dealing with the financial, legal, IP and service models connected to the large-scale implementation of the resulting product and services.