Innovation for the Elderly Competition in China

As part of its Modern Aging program, the ACCESS Health International team recently hosted a two day training program in Shanghai for finalists of the Third National Innovation for the Elderly Competition. The Innovation for the Elderly Competition is a nationwide competition that encourages innovative technology projects to serve the needs of an aging population. The competition was created and organized by Shanghai Science and Technology Elderly Service Center, Oldkids Innovation Foundation, China Business Network Corporation Limited in Shanghai Media Group, and Xinmin Evening Newspaper. ACCESS Health International’s Qing Liu, the program manager of Modern Aging China, was also a co organizer, as well as a competition judge and panelist. The competition was endorsed by the Office of the Shanghai Municipal Committee on Aging, Office of the Shanghai Municipal Committee on Spiritual Life Construction, Shanghai Senior Citizens Foundation, and the Social Work Department of Fudan University School of Social Development and Public Policy.

The two day training program in Shanghai focused on short term improvements of the finalist projects so that they would perform better at the final competition. There were three workshops: Business Model Canvas, Design Thinking, and Presentation Skills.

Dr. Chang Liu, Managing Director of ACCESS Health China and Singapore, led the Business Model Canvas session, which introduced the popular Business Model Canvas tool to participants. He explained how entrepreneurs must have a clear value proposition, then think about both cost structure and revenue streams. Cost structure included key partners, key activities, and key resources while revenue streams included customer relationships, marketing and customers. Dr. Liu also highlighted the need for entrepreneurs to make their businesses sustainable, keeping revenues above cost.

In addition to ACCESS Health International staff, four external mentors were invited to participate: Yiming Sheng, Deputy Secretary General of Shanghai Modern Services Industry Association Health Services Committee; Jiayin Du, an investor from Temasek; Toby Overmaat, former IDEO designer, and current Chief Executive Officer of Zhihui Health Technology; and Bo Zhou, Director of Investment of TusStar Shanghai Venture. The ten final project liaisons participated the training. Each project was paired with an “observation team” composed of two elderly citizens (known as the “old kids”) and one university student from either Fudan University or East China University of Science and Technology. The observation teams helped project teams complete workshop tasks together. During the process, the observation teams developed a deep partnership with project team members and developed an in depth understanding of the projects. After the introduction, the ten final projects teamed up with their observation group and started to draft their business model canvas. The project liaisons introduced their projects to their group members. Then through interviews and discussions, each team completed their primary business model canvas.

Participants also have the opportunity to continue their studies through an online training curriculum on aging and business as well. The online training program emphasizes longer term aging and business knowledge, including theoretical and practical training.