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Launched in May 2012, Independence Matters was a Design Challenge run with in partnership with Technology Strategy Board to develop inspiring services that promote independence in later life.

The problem

As we grow older, we can experience changes that diminish our ability to exercise choice and control. We may experience changes in our physical and mental abilities, or life changes such as retirement and bereavement.

In later life, we rely on services that help us to navigate these changes, stay independent and live our lives the way we want to. The Independence Matters Design Challenge was inspired by this opportunity for business and social innovation.

The insight

As we age, loneliness becomes a significant issue for many and raises the question of how to enable people to live well in their own homes while remaining connected to their community. We felt that the Design Challenge process could be used to create digital services to engage and empower older adults – addressing both the social and economic costs of isolation.

Our response

The Independence Matters Design Challenge brought together teams of designers, industry partners, service providers and third-sector organisations to propose how they would tackle problems associated with mobility and nutrition in people aged 65+.

The results

The Design Challenge supported the development of seven innovative services for older people:

Casserole is a food sharing network, bringing local communities together around delicious home cooked food.

Room for Tea is a new kind of home-sharing network. It connects guests who need short-term, affordable accommodation in London with hosts who have spare capacity in their homes.

Gusto is a self-help co-operative based in Shropshire where members can do more of the things they love, try new experiences and meet new people.

The After Work Club is a new social network for men who don’t want to be ‘retired’. It aims to inspire, connect and empower them to do something amazing with this time in their lives.

The Amazings serves up classic and curious skills to learn that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. They take the life experience of passionate older adults and turn it into unique experiences.

Meet2Eat is a new regional service for older adults that teaches a range of domestic, nutrition and kitchen basics to those that need it most, in a social setting.

League of Meals helps everybody cook better and waste less. It shares older adults’ knowledge and tips about home-cooking through digital channels, and in collaborative cooking sessions.

Knowledge & resources