How we helped the European Commission to create 10 businesses cases for a Smart Silver Economy

Our society is aging. While this comes with societal and economical challenges, it also brings opportunities. To dig deeper into the topic, the European Commission asked a consortium of experts - Technopolis Group (lead), Oxford Economics, and the crowdbased research agency cbased - to carry out a research exploring the new economic challenges and possibilities that arise from the needs of older adults. The Silver Economy team used Discuto to involve the public as well as experts in the discussion.



Here’s what we did

During a 3-step process experts and the public were asked to submit and discuss ideas on how to grow Europe’s Silver Economy. Besides identifying 10 business cases with the potential to create jobs and economic growth linked to demographic change, the overall goal was to develop EU-level policy recommendations focusing on how to stimulate an emerging Silver Economy in Europe.


The discussion in a nutshell

Phase 1 - Online Ideation on Discuto

The Silver Economy team invited people via Twitter and experts through their networks to join the ideation phase. 899 participants from all over Europe submitted 96 ideas, 273 votes and 119 comments.

Phase 2 - Workshop among study team

In the second phase of the research project, the study team discussed all ideas and identified 10 business cases with the highest potential to grow Europe’s silver economy.

Phase 3 - Online Discussion on Discuto

In the third phase the team of experts presented the 10 business cases on Discuto to discuss them with the crowd. Over 300 people participated in a lively discussion with 137 comments and 581 votes.

The final results were presented to the European Commission as one of the steps to establish a reference framework for the development of a Silver Economy Strategy for Europe.


The benefits

The goal behind the online participation process was to get the input from a diverse group of participants from all across Europe. By running the discussion on an easy-to-use online platform such as Discuto it was easy for the public to participate.

Furthermore, the Smart Silver Economy team decided to use Discuto because:

  • All steps of the process could be facilitated via Discuto - from the online ideation to the online discussion
  • Thanks to the included email system, the Silver Economy team could send updates about the process to all participants
  • Automated notifications also kept the participants informed at all times
  • It was easy to download all ideas including the comments in order to process them into business cases



Highlights from the discussion

The 899 participants came up with a wide range of interesting ideas - including age-friendly universities, smart home solutions, connecting olderpreneurs to young entrepreneurs, and using robotics and games to enhance the health of older people.

In summary, the crowdbased process resulted in more diverse ideas and clearly showcased which ideas were accepted by the crowd, functioning as an initial proof of concept of each business case.  


About the team behind Smart Silver Economy

Technopolis Group, Oxford Economics and cbased are working with the European Commission in order to answer several important questions about the Silver Economy in Europe. This work will provide strategic information and data needed to establish a reference framework for the development of a Silver Economy Strategy for Europe, building on existing regional, national and industrial initiatives across Europe.

The study runs from March 2016 to October 2017. It focuses on how product and service innovations, supported by Information and Communication Technology (ICT), may present significant opportunity areas for growth. The application is diverse: spanning areas such as personalised health products, smart homes, driverless vehicles, and service/companion robots. Cross-thematic areas, where coordinated actions across multiple sectors may enhance growth opportunities.

To learn more, visit www.smartsilvereconomy.eu