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Co-designing with Older People

With Birsel + Seck 2018/2020

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Aging Well in America

Co-designing with Older Adults


This project is an experience, created in collaboration with Birsel+Seck and The SCAN Foundation (TSF).  We focused on learning what older people want from life and created an open source program where we co-designed with older Americans, applying creative tools we use in strategic design to re-imagine and redesign one’s life. 


Design Researcher & Co-facilitator

Interviews, Quantitative data collection, Recruiting (location and participants), Gathering Intel, Insights, Prototyping

With Birsel+Seck


Insights from Research

Participants brought up recurring themes in the co-design workshops, regardless of the workshop topic (we conducted four different ones), geography or the various types of communities across America. Out of these 11 insights, we were able to formulate four overarching principles:

Love, Vitality, Work, and Friendship.


Opportunity Area

How might we create an easy-to-use system of high-quality services for older adults that preserve dignity and independence?


Our most profound insight was that older people want the same things we all want—Love, Vitality, Work and Friendship. We arrived at this insight after the first set of foundational workshops where we focused on unpacking the four key worries The SCAN Foundation’s research had pinpointed. Our journey and shift from worries into these opportunity areas helped shape our process, topics we chose and how we approached our user group.

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Design Principles

Designing for Community

Designing for Better Time

Designing for Follow-Through

Designing for

Mind Over Body

Designing for Courage

Designing for Building Trust

Designing for Intimacy

Designing for


Product Development

Co-Designing with Older People is a human-centered co-design process developed to better understand the wants and needs of older people by welcoming them into the design process. The learnings came directly from 65+ while empowering participants to understand their current situation and re-imagine possibilities and opportunities for fulfillment at this time of their lives.

The Facilitator Guide is specifically designed to serve as a toolkit for older Americans to re-imagine their life after 65 continuously.


The toolkit focuses on 


  • Process development vs. fixed solution

  • Wants vs. needs

  • Human experience vs industry topics

  • Co-design vs. focus groups

System Constants

What will always be true

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System Variables

What will remain flexible

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A comprehensive insights report pointing to

innovation opportunity areas, strategies, and experiences

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