Design thinking supports aging research

“Think big, start small and move fast.” With this credo Nicholas LaRusso, head of the innovation center of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, opened his keynote during the 19th International Student Congress of (bio)Medical Sciences at the Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen. Four years ago this innovation center opened, with the aim to improve what is being done now  (sustaining) and develop what will be done in the future (disruptive), under the title: Enable-Design-Connect.

Healthy Ageing & Independent Living (HAIL) is a central theme within their research and medical care programme. This is taking place in unorthodox fashion - for healthcare in the US anyway - by multidisciplinary cooperation, with ample space for design thinking and co-creation. LaRusso makes clear that we can learn more if people from outside the medical world are involved in the process.


 International Student Congress of (bio)Medical Sciences

Technology, according to LaRusso, can certainly play a role in healthcare, e.g. with care on distance. Experience at the HAIL-lab learned that elderly are not unwilling towards the use of new technology as long as it is well explained how to use it and what the additional value consists of. Technology can be used to get elderly to exercise and move more, as “the closest to the fountain of youth is exercise". Or, like Eubie Blake (1887-1993, American componer, lyricist and pianist) said, quoted by LaRusso: “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself”.