Involving older users in the planning and development of innovative approaches to promote active and healthy ageing is essential when developing new goods and services. Transforming users into partners ensures relevance and adequacy of new approaches and will help them to be implemented and adapted to different contexts.
In the framework of the INNOVAGE project, AGE produced a guide to present some common practices and suggestions to how to facilitate genuine participation of seniors in the social innovation process. The document highlights the complexity of dealing with users and of engaging with them, while suggesting useful methodologies for user involvement, taking into account the inter-disciplinary approach needed when discussing and implementing social innovation.
The objective of the guidelines is to present a strong recommendation for involvement of older people in the planning, development and implementation of social innovations, new ideas meeting social needs and creating new relationships or collaboration. They also provide social innovators with practical tips to incorporate users’ perspectives in the social innovation processes.
The document is based on literature findings and also on AGE Platform Europe’s experience of working with older people in the framework of INNOVAGE and other European research projects. Since its foundation in 2001, AGE Platform Europe has participated in many European funded research projects aiming to promote a society of all ages, to foster active and healthy ageing and to protect the wellbeing and dignity of older persons.