What is the potential for new startups to get involved in Social Care?
Last night we ran a really buzzing event on Social Care and Technology. We kicked off with a great panel of experts: Shirley Ayres (Disruptive Social Care), Claire Jones (Digital Health Conference and Hack), Alice Osbourne (Spots of Time), Amanda Gore (Design Council – Living Well with Dementia) and James Porteous (Here’s a Hand).
The talks highlighted the fact that many of the technical tools for dealing with social care needs are out there but no one knows about them. Perhaps we need better access, an app of apps? This led onto discussion of the gap between the theory and practice of using technology to solve care needs compounded by the fact that tech makers often don’t understand the way social care actually works. More education is needed to spread the word about the resources available and the good practices we should be following when engaging as startups in the area.
Another particularly important point made was that we need to remember to adapt technology to people and not, as is sometimes the case, try to squeeze people into fitting the technology. For example, insisting on building apps for people who don’t own or can’t use smart phones.
Finally, despite the limitations in terms of resources, the flexibility of being in a startup in this area was highlighted. You can see a problem and immediately work on starting to solve it rather than having to first convince your client. Amanda Gore made a strong case for startups selling social care services to individuals rather than the state.
After the panel discussion we ran an ideas generation session and the group came up with some really cool social venture ideas including a social network for people to share the challenges and delights of growing old; a channel to get older people involved in making the policy that affects them; non-verbal ways for people to communicate that they were receiving inadequate care; a system to prevent those with social care needs being taken to A and E and finally a platform to help older people share their skills.
Thanks so much to all who came! Next meetup is on September 27th, watch this space…