Aging2.0 Consumer Panel provides feedback on several Aging2.0 Academy applicants

Aging2.0 Consumer Panel provides feedback on several Aging2.0 Academy applicants

By David A. Atashroo

A few dozen caregivers and older adults from Aging2.0's Consumer Panel convened on October 27, 2014 to share their insights and wisdom at The Sequoias in San Francisco, a life care community for older adults.

Aging2.0's Consumer Panel helps bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and consumers by soliciting feedback and ideas from older adults, caregivers, and long-term care professionals. Understanding the needs and preferences of potential customers is critical for innovators during the development of their businesses.

In addition to normally providing specific feedback for the entrepreneurs, this time, Aging2.0 Consumer Panel’s input was considered at a critical time as Aging2.0 is finalizing the cohort of companies for the 2014-2015 Aging2.0 Academy, which is a year-long startup program for the most promising startups in aging and long-term care.

Aging2.0 Co-Founder, Katy Fike, presented eleven startup companies in aging and long-term care and fielded questions and comments from the audience. Participants ranked each startup on its relevance, quality of idea or product, and likelihood to recommend. As potential customers and target users, the participants had invaluable insights to offer.

If a picture is worth a thousands words, then a prototype may well be worth a million. The audience repeatedly expressed the necessity for older adults to be able to see and hold functional products in order to garner their interest and support.

Reflecting the need for precise targeting within the longevity economy, one senior commented that “young people imagine problems that older people have” and then pointed to his flip phone, smiled and said “these computer devices are for the next generation of seniors…the less computers that I have, the better.”

Participants stressed that older adults, like any other consumer, are sensitive to design and place a premium on maintaining a positive self-image. They also emphasized concerns about connectivity for technology driven platforms, complexity of user interfaces and ease of operation, privacy of their information, and respect from the startup community for their unique fears, wishes, and style.

Ultimately, price outshined any other issue, and nothing was so frequently queried as “how much does it cost?”

Following the session, many participants commented on how much they enjoyed hearing about new products and services – but more importantly, they appreciated having their feedback heard as these entrepreneurs seek to improve their products and grow their businesses. And Aging2.0 couldn’t imagine choosing companies for the Aging2.0 Academy program without getting the opinions of older adults themselves.

Aging2.0 is on a mission to accelerate innovation to improve the lives of older adults around the world, and the input provided by consumers is essential to entrepreneurs.


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