Here is one of my tools for sideways thinking. It's another way of looking at who you are not. So the idea is, "Who is not us?" You know, if we're catering for people like us then who are the people that are nothing like us? And so, say you have, I know I asked my studio audience to come with something to work on, some issue they have at work or at home, something. Now I want you to think of just an issue you're working on or something that you do as a career. The age tool is about changing the age group to force you to think in different ways. So the first point would be thinking about people over the age of let's go with, 75. Like imagine if you decide that whatever it is you're delivering, whatever it is you're doing can only be for people over 75. Now, people over 75 can be crazy fit and super super mentally amazing or, they can be hospital-bound just depending on what's going on. You know, they can be amazingly fit, they can be incredibly unfit, they can be mentally fit or mentall...
y unfit. It's a huge range but unless you're actively working with people in this age group, Sherry is, maybe, and most of us aren't unless our parents are in that age group and are we actively working with them? We don't really have an understanding of that age group. Which is kind of ironic considering we're all gonna be there at some point, that will be us. Right, and maybe it's you, but possibly it's not. So if you then think about, "What do I have to change in whatever it is I do?" Say you're studying something right now "What do I have to change if I only deliver it to the over 75?" What are some things that you think you might have to address that maybe you might not have thought of. Apart from like big lettering, cause like I'm slowly going blind, I'm only 48. I don't know how I'm gonna be at 75, I'm going to have massive goggley glasses, I tell you that. Right but what else might we be considering big picture if we're only gonna deliver what we do to the over 75 age group. What do you think?
I think you would consider transportation, safety issues.
Mobility, handicap ramps, access, all that sort of for your environment or you're going to be bringing your business to accept the exterior to getting them there, transportation.
Yeah, so mobility and anything physical like access and accessibility and safety but at the same time, I think one thing we're really trying to do with these guys, yeah, Dylan?
Cause with all the modern day things that are happening we kind of be like, "Oh, this is the easiest way to do it, "you can just go on a screen hit this, this, and this." Where you're like, "What is this machine?" (laughs) Like, just aliens.
Yeah, it's like that technical divide, isn't it? Technology. 'Cause the interesting thing is, simplicity, on the one hand what we're trying to do as we get older is keep our brains vibrant, keep creative, keep thinking, right? Keep the plasticity vibrant, keep growing. So there's no reason why someone at isn't totally switched on and amazing. And yet, on the technology side, often my experience also is it needs to be sorta simple. So, simple doesn't mean you don't have the thinking capacity, but it's this way of communicating and understanding how to use technology, so making the technology simple is certainly a key thing. So we've got keeping people safe, but on the other hand, not making them so safe that they atrophy. You wanna keep people vibrant at the same time. What, Sherry, you'll have more than one.
Actually, one of the things that I think is really interesting about thinking about, older people in general, when you're designing things, one of the things that I've found is, you have to consider flexibility, because someone who's super vibrant one day when you're working with them, a week later might be having a really bad week. Or vice-versa, somebody who you would normally consider not having a good week might show up with a lot of energy or something.
That's really interesting, so flexibility from the provider point of view.
Normally, we're expecting our consumer to get, like we supply a thing, and they flex around it, but in this case, we're providing something that flexes around them. Oh, I like that.
Yeah, and it's kinda transferrable though, 'cause a lot of stuff that I would design for older people, when I bring it to say, a fifth grade class, that works for them too.
Funny you should say that. (laughter) So yeah, so the next way to think is how would you deliver a not quite fifth grade class, how would you deliver to under fives? We've got a lot of the same issues, as Sherry mentioned. We've got safety, but in this stage we've got a different mental state. Usually, right? So now we have to make something that is so obvious, or maybe it's so simplified, but it still has meaning. We want these guys to grow, much as we want everybody's brain to grow, we've gotta think really specifically. So, so often we're delivering stuff for adults. What happens if we think specifically about this age group? It doesn't just go to primary colors. You know? But it does get rounder and chunkier, I mean the mobility again, the holding of things, the ability to pick up stuff and deal with stuff changes. Did you wanna say something?
Yeah, I was gonna say last summer I was studying to become an occupational therapist, and I had the opportunity to go in the field and deal with geriatrics in nursing home settings, and then I got to go to a home visit with a child who was about three and he had a very rare syndrome, I forgot what it was. I tried to be invisible, and sit in the corner of the room, but this child was three and kept coming to me. But anyway, one thing I saw was a 40-minute session with this occupational therapist, and for children this age, particularly children with spectrum disorder, like this child had, the amount of activities she had to do, I was exhausted watching her because the attention span is so short and you have to be so flexible.
That's a really good point, so attention span is another thing that you've gotta, yeah. Oh, you need the --
When you showed the older people earlier, I was gonna say attention span is probably something you should also consider, because with little kids, people, like that's one of the first things that people would consider, but then I feel like since it's not as obvious, even in like, anyone who's just not a little kid. Like you don't really consider attention span that much
If it's not like teenagers or little kids or someone who's really, tolerant of being able to put up with an attention span of something that's longer than they'd like.
But, I could also be,
Yeah the tolerance, because people don't have patience anymore.
That's interesting. So what you're doing is part of the adventurous-thinking mindset, is forcing yourself to think outside where you normally would be. Giving yourself five minutes of how could whatever I'm doing at the moment, how would whatever this is, translate to kids? Translate to all people? Or, another one is, translate to only being available on a smart phone. Whatever it is, if it's a physical product, you can still translate it. If it's a service, what does it become? So these are all techniques, age was just one of them. I think of the smart phone when I think of 20-year-olds. This is all thinking, with your five minutes of every day, outside your zone, your 10 percent of crazy thinking. Right now, what I'm working on, how would that work if I completely transferred the age appropriateness. What does it become? And it's super super useful, in fact, one class I ran where I had a girl who was trying to work on literacy in rural Tennessee. She'd been studying a particular school in a very remote area that had generational illiteracy. And so, she was already thinking about kids, and in this case, the very few books they had were being vandalized, nobody really valued a book, because nobody really read a book. But, when we put it to the older people, she suddenly had this epiphany, because she made this connection. She was already working with the kids who weren't reading, who had no one reading to them. When we said take it to the old people, I'm calling them old people that sorta referencing, aged, I don't know. When she said take it to the aged, she had a moment of, what if we had a connection between these kids who have no one to read to them and these people who may be in homes where they have less stuff to do, and they're really great readers? What if you built a connection where you could sponsor, from over here, an iPad that allowed this generation to read to this generation? And deliver benefit to both of them? This beautiful interconnection, and that was her moment of this amazing cross-pollination, and un-associative but brand new innovative ideas. And I understand she's gone off to see if she could make that a reality, to have people in, who are in nursing homes, sponsor an iPad, to a kid in a school elsewhere in the USA who doesn't have anyone reading to them. So this is how innovation sparks, right? We just have to push ourselves out of our area of expertise and into, "Oo, what if" and ask the question. Which, oh yep?
Tying in with what you kinda said there, my old school, they actually made a lot of money off of a camp because with coding and that, where they pretty much got middle schoolers and younger, they got Minecraft, and they started implementing the building of things, into how to code, so you could pretty much get something that all the kids love, and start kinda switching it over so then you look at it like, "Oh, I guess coding is a game"
And so a lot of parents around it were like, just paying crazy money because it was kind of like, giving that head start that you would never expect in like a different way to look at things.
It's like renaming it into something cool, Minecraft, and gamifying. Which so often, when you try and take it to this younger section, you work out how to gamify. How to make it fun. We had a whole lesson, or two lessons, from Dan Cloosner, who's a genius at making things fun, yesterday, about that importance in terms of our treasured memories and about activating our brain and making something fun. Such a good point, thank you.