Design Thinking for Seniors: 4QCatalyst Workshop at the Waterstone

Mary Cronin and Scott Guthery brought a 4QCatalyst workshop on Innovation and Design Thinking to residents of the Waterstone, an independent senior living community and assisted living facility in Wellesley, Ma.  Over 30 Waterstone residents took part in the workshop, learning the principles of Design Thinking and trying out those principles in a guided process with small groups brainstorming and designing user-focused applications for voice activated home devices like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home.

Each small group created a rapid verbal prototype of their top application idea, then presented it to all the workshop participants.  Deep understanding of the challenges of aging combined with creative collaboration among small group members to produce a flow of innovative  voice-activated  application ideas.  Workshop favorites included an application to eliminate any anxiety about forgetting to turn off the stove or lock the door by asking  a mobile app to check on smart home sensors and confirm that appliances are off and the doors are secure while at a doctor’s appointment or a shopping trip,  an application you can ask to contact your doctor with a request to refill prescriptions or make an appointment, and a voice activated service that helps take care of paying bills and tracking finances just by telling it to “Pay my Visa bill for October” or asking “What’s my checking account balance today?  or What were my last 5 transactions?” and getting a voice response  from the bank immediately.