Aging is an issue worldwide. Dorine Ré, Global Economic Transformation & Technology (GETT) student, took part in the Silver Awards, a student challenge to help build solutions to some problems facing the elderly now and in the future. Her team ranked third.
Written on 11 Dec 2019.
I decided to participate in the Silver Awards because of my taste for creation and also because my previous experiences working on projects (like the hackathon or longer ones) were all very enjoyable moments of stimulation and exchange of ideas. I also feel concerned about the theme of aging, a major issue for the future of our society.
Furthermore, the Silver Awards Challenge was an opportunity to learn more by meeting people who work in this field and coming to realise that innovation is crucial.
The theme of the project on which my team chose to work was "Digital Harassment" (the other three were "Connected Health", "Family Caregivers" and "Retirement Preparation"). Digital harassment includes many issues related to the technological isolation of elderly people (spamming, untimely calls, dematerialisation of procedures). It was the latter aspect that interested us the most.
I was in a team of 4 students, with Max Boudou and Youri Spiler, both M1 students at ESME Sudria (engineering school) and Emma Theault, Master's student in Management of Institutions and Services for the elderly at Infa and UPEC.
The project started in the evening of November 15th and ended at 5 pm the next day.
As in every project of this type, the phase following the research is the most exciting one for me. It is the particular phase where a problem speaks to all of us and the solution begins to emerge. Right from the start, our group was on the same page, so it was even more pleasant! Our backgrounds and personalities proved to be very complementary, so our ideas also matched. I also enjoyed meeting the Silver Valley workers - often unseen, who actively participate in the well-being of seniors.
During a hackathon, you shouldn't try to imagine a "magic wand" solution. You have to give up certain aspects in order to focus on the main issue. To achieve this, it is necessary to know how to communicate your arguments in an adapted, clear and, synthetic way. It is also necessary to be able to quickly visualise your goal to avoid getting lost because time is limited. In addition, since the aim is to create a business, we had to take into account the technical, financial and marketing aspects of our solution. It is, therefore, necessary to capitalise on everyone's skills and knowledge.
Also, it is necessary to know how to convince the jury, whose members have different backgrounds and therefore, know how to offer a solution that will cover all their areas of expertise.
Above all, empathy is important.
The solution we considered is in the form of a virtual assistant (voice and written). This 3rd place confirmed that our ambitious project could be very useful, but above all, convinced the members of the jury, who were elderly and people working in the Silver Economy field.
The challenge is also a window of opportunities for us with partners from the publishing industry. Many of them promised to help us if we decided to develop our project. Others simply contacted us to find out more about our project afterward.
All these positive outcomes reinforce our strong belief that our solution can have an impact.
The theme of this hackathon is totally in line with the objectives of the GETT, which is to be opened to future issues. I picked the digital theme, because it is one of the areas that interests me the most and, for which I had chosen the GETT.
Since my teammates did not attend business schools, I was able to discover how the programme helps us make decisions easily and move forward in an entrepreneurial project smoothly, without being afraid of the unexpected.
It's something very valuable because the whole group was reassured to have a profile like mine in the team. We all focused on our own strengths.
In addition, the virtual assistant we imagined fits perfectly within the framework of the programme. Since it requires a long development, the very advanced knowledge of my two engineering schoolmates in this field will be very useful for me in the future.
We are still working on this project outside school hours. We are all extremely motivated to take it further than these two days.
I am therefore very grateful for this opportunity that I have benefited from through the GETT programme!