Food and drink operators are being challenged to develop innovative services that keep older adults better connected.
The competition – Keeping Connected Business Challenge – has been launched by the Technology Strategy Board and the Design Council and offers businesses across all sectors a share of a £495,000.00 prize fund.
An ageing population offers an unprecedented opportunity for doing business differently, for expanding existing markets or creating new ones, said organisers. An estimated 80% of the UK’s wealth is controlled by those aged over 50.
Eating and drinking venues already help communities have a central hub and are well placed to help increase the sense of inclusion, community and connecting across the generations, they said.
There are already great examples of restaurants setting up dinner clubs or going beyond their role to be more actively involved in their community and removing the barriers for people, possibly eating on their own, to feel more inclined to eat out, organisers added.
Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “One of the key elements of ageing is the need to continue to feel connected – to those we care about, to the places we live in and to the society of which we are a part. This competition provides businesses with a great opportunity to develop innovative services that meet a universal, and growing, future market.”
Teams of businesses and designers will pitch their ideas for a share of the prize pot.
The assessment panel will look for service ideas that are new and innovative with potential for commercial exploitation and scalability. The teams need to demonstrate a genuine understanding of the needs and wants of consumers and translate early stage ideas into viable business propositions. If successful they will have five months to develop their idea and be provided with professional support.
David Kester, chief executive of the Design Council, said: “This is a perfect opportunity to use a design approach to address this significant market opportunity – to find what really works for people in their daily lives. We are excited to see what business, technology and design collaborations are formed and the solutions that will result.”
The programme is being run through the Technology Strategy Board’s Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP), which is responding to the challenge of the demographic shift – in essence promoting independent living and improved quality of life by making the technology better, cheaper, more desirable and more relevant.
Deadline for submissions: 20 October 2011
Interested Retail Times readers can join one of the briefing sessions:
· 16 September 2011, Design Council, London, 10am to 1.00pm – register now
· 23 September 2011, Palace Hotel, Manchester, 10am to 1.00pm – register now.