Longevity Explorer Workshops
Focused, Private, Structured Feedback & Insights from Older Adults — About Topics, Products Concepts, or Challenges You Are Working On.
Longevity Explorer workshops are custom, facilitated, group discussions of older adults on a topic relevant to a specific client company. They can also be hands-on, participatory design engagements.
Companies use Longevity Explorer workshops for a variety of reasons. The common theme is a desire to get independent, objective feedback about the needs, or opinions of a group of intellectually curious older adults in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90's. This is an especially powerful way to get responses to new products, or to new ideas, relating to this hard-to-reach demographic.
Topics might include:
- needs finding;
- response to a product concept;
- evaluation of a product prototype; or
- brainstorming about new product ideas.
While there are some similarities to traditional focus groups, these workshops are far more powerful, for reasons outlined in the next section.
Longevity Explorer Workshops are Unique
When recruited to an explorer workshop, our explorers come with a background of knowledge and domain interest that makes the discussions much deeper and richer than if the participants were random unprepared individuals.
Add to that an expert facilitator who has worked with the explorers for years, and you have the ingredients for a uniquely productive and insightful group interaction.
The members of our Longevity Explorer community have self selected themselves to be interested in new things, intellectually curious, thoughtful, and excited to engage and make a difference. They are a very unique group of individuals.
This community of older adults has spent hundreds of hours over the last two years discussing and brainstorming unmet needs associated with aging, and critiquing various existing products and new product concepts. During that time the members of our five explorer circles have learned how to work effectively together, and we have learned how to effectively manage our group interactions to have useful outputs result. This has been a time consuming learning process, but now we feel confident we can harness our skills to help others.
Tech-enhanced Life and the Longevity Explorers have already built a very deep base of expertise and insight in many areas associated with aging. And we have already explored a number of unmet needs associated with growing older. So, our explorations on your behalf don't have to start from ground zero, but can leverage what we have already learned.
We have learned that the right facilitation is a key ingredient for a group interaction that leads to a successful result.
We have the benefit of Dr. Caro's experience as a facilitator of over a hundred face-to-face explorer circle meetings, as well as his deep experience with the whole product development process. Our workshops take advantage of Dr. Caro’s unusual combination of expertise, comprising:
- deep understanding of the challenges of aging;
- facilitation skills appropriate for a group of older adults; and
- extensive product development expertise.
Typical workshop design
A typical workshop will be comprised of between 8-15 Longevity Explorers.
Richard Caro will facilitate the workshop. Tech-enhanced Life will organize the facility and recruit the participants.
The exact topics for discussion will be agreed upon in advance between Tech-enhanced Life and the client.
Results of the workshop will be audio-taped and transcribed, and will not be shared with others, or published on the Tech-enhanced Life website.
If you are not sure how to design a suitable discussion to shed light on whatever you want to learn, then Dr. Caro can help design the workshop.
Two varieties of workshop
At present we offer two varieties of workshop. The general format of these workshops is quite similar.
Custom Full Workshop
You can commission a custom full workshop that will include 2 hours of discussions. Scheduling of this is flexible and at your convenience.
These workshops are designed around your exact needs, and can range from group discussions to hands-on cocreation exercises.
If you know what you want to accomplish, we will help you design the best interaction to accomplish that goal. If you are not quite sure what you need, we can help you figure that out too.
You can commission a fractional workshop. This will include a 30 minute discussion. Scheduling of this will depend on when we run the fractional workshops, as we typically combine several fractional workshops at one time, thus making them more cost effective.
These fractional workshops are a little less flexible than the full custom workshop, but are ideal for getting a quick, relatively inexpensive read on a specific issue. We think an especially good way to use these is to commission a series of them, and refine your ideas between workshops, so you get a series of iterative inputs over the course of time as your focus tightens, or the product development advances.
But they are also good for getting quick, one-off feedback on something.
Explorers who participate in an explorer workshop expect to keep the results confidential, and will execute a confidentiality agreement if that seems appropriate.
Clients often wish to have representatives attend the workshops in a "watch but don't speak" capacity. This is possible. It is also possible to video tape the workshop. Or, if you want, you can attend via remote telepresence robot.
However, please don't think of these workshops as opportunities to "pitch" your products. Our explorers are keen to help, and to add their insights. But we and they do not feel listening to a pitch is a useful way for us to add value.
Not Based In California?
That is OK. You don't need to attend the workshop in person, as it will be expertly facilitated (and recorded) on your behalf.
If you are outside North America and want to dip your toe in the water of the US older adult consumer mindset, this is a great way to do it.
Workshop Exploration Fees
The workshop Exploration Fee is a single, fixed price, fee that is paid to Tech-enhanced Life, and which includes an amount that compensates the explorers themselves, as well as an amount that compensates Tech-enhanced Life, PBC. Use the green buttons above to enquire about pricing.
Access to prior (public) explorations
There have been a number of prior (non-Confidential, public) Longevity Explorations into topics like:
- “Personal Emergency Response Systems”
- “Medication Management”;
- “Social Isolation”;
- And much more.
These are often good starting points for getting up the learning curve. If you listen to these first, you can often tailor the workshop to go deeper into more specific topics that build on the general discussions the explorers have already had. See prior explorer discussions.
Background: Longevity Explorer Community Characteristics
The Longevity Explorers are older adults who come together to explore new products, new services, and new ideas at the intersection of aging and technology. They have certain common characteristics such as intellectual curiosity and a desire to make a difference, and an interest in deep and intellectually stimulating discussions.
The vast majority of Longevity Explorers are over 65. Some are as old as 95, with many in their 80’s and 90’s. Explorers include both men and women.
Most of the explorers live either in their own homes or in independent living sections of the CCRC’s. Some live in Assisted Living residences, and some live in their own homes and have home carers. At present, most live in Northern California.
The explorer community is open to all, and we encourage a range of ideas, and intellectual opinions, and welcome all people types to join us. Because of the way the community has grown, it does not necessarily represent the same racial or socio-economic composition as the population as a whole. As of mid-2017, the explorers are primarily what might be described as “middle class americans”.
Explorers are primarily drawn from communities associated with large Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC’s) in San Francisco, Saratoga and Sacramento, and from members of the Village Movement, and from members and associates of the Commonwealth Club. In addition, some explorers have joined us after learning about what we do from talks and from the Tech-enhanced Life website.
Read more about our older adult exploration community in "Longevity Explorers Roll Up their Sleeves": a summary of the first 18 months of our Longevity Explorer initiative. If you are interested, you can learn about our Business Model here.