Getting ENGAGED: Learning to develop business models

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People need to talk; stakeholders need to network. Both activities are needed in order to build roadmaps for future directions in the field of active and healthy ageing.

ENGAGED was a thematic network, funded by the European Commission, that run for over two years. It was a learning community for sustainable active and healthy ageing that supported activities among a wide range of actors. Ultimately, ENGAGEDs role was to support the well-known European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing. Its logo (see Figure 1) drew attention to a community of people drawn together to support active and healthy ageing, with a focus on smart technologies and smart dwellings and housing.


ENGAGED had seven objectives. They were to:

               Support the process of community building on active and healthy ageing through an infrastructure that was known as the “European Community Hub”.

               Identify stakeholder networks and experts on common learning topics and cluster them into multi-stakeholder coalitions that facilitated the identification of common actions and the sharing of evidence.

               Establish close relationships with the European Innovation Partnership Active and Healthy Ageing Marketplace and the Partnerships Reference Sites. This ensured that many opportunities for synergies were fully exploited.

               Convene a series of mutual learning workshops. These workshops enable in-depth exploration of common topics of interest to the Partnerships action groups. They also encouraged capacity-building in less advanced regions and awareness-raising about the importance of these topics by stakeholders not yet involved in working on active and healthy ageing.

               Draw up roadmaps for targeted deployment on these topics and among selected groups of regions as well as processing mapping the journey so that key steps and lessons for deployment are fully captured for wider benefit.

               Promote vigorous and healthy growth of the community  by designing and implementing a dissemination and awareness-raising strategy.

               Establish a long-term co-operation model for a self-sustaining network.

Mutual Cooperation
ENGAGED brought together many people from different backgrounds and across a wide range of European countries. Its focus was on nurturing the emergence of innovative and sustainable active and healthy ageing services that will make optimal use of technologies.

Stakeholders from the whole active and healthy value chain participated. As a network of networks, ENGAGED had 15 partners that came mainly from two backgrounds: they were either specialist European-level networks active in the field of active and healthy ageing or they were key regional, research and knowledge partners. Each partner brought access to an even wider network of people. They did so directly through the people active in the initiative; through the associations members; or through general front-line experience and skills sets related to community building, digital engagement, research and analysis. Their interests included domains such as evidence-based deployment, independent living and user involvement.

Ultimately, ENGAGED gathered together over 150 stakeholders in its network. These actors came from all over Europe: among the associations represented were organisations from Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia. However, they also came from wider afield, including Guadalupe and Turkey.

Main Engaged Experiences
To bring together these stakeholders in dynamic, animated discussions, ENGAGED organised many different workshops and conferences. These took place in locations and regions around Europe as far and wide as Bari, Puglia (Italy); Canterbury, Kent (United Kingdom); Letterkenny, Donegal (Ireland); Santiago de Compostela, Galicia (Spain); Eindhoven, North Brabant (Netherlands); and Kiruna, Norbotten (Sweden). These discussions took place too in the context of the European eHealth Forum in 2014, for example, in Athens, Greece

EHTEL had the privilege of hosting one of the projects major conferences in the context of its own annual symposium held in Brussels at the end of 2014:

At conferences, such as this one, speakers were often distributed across several geographic sites. For example, at the EHTEL symposium, contributors were beamed in from Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain and the Kent Innovation Hub, Canterbury, Kent to speak to attendees sat physically in the Belgian capital.

The ENGAGED partners also gained experience in the use of social media, Twitter and YouTube. Among the comments made and re-tweeted about the 2014 conference were:

@ENGAGEDin Europe: Todays event, as part of EHTEL symposium, taking place simultaneously in Brussels, Barcelona and Kent.

With Brussels, Barcelona and Kent, connected via screens, discussing in this multi-community workshop.

Kent team, including Grenoble and Fruili Italy, listening to user engagement in Barcelona.

@ENGAGEDinEurope: Great attendance ... today.

Through this and several other events and activities, ENGAGED was able to build a useful set of roadmaps for active and healthy ageing in the future. Key topics included: impact assessment, network sustainability and user involvement.

EHTEL’s chief learnings on telehealth business models One of ENGAGED main activities was to build a business-related business model roadmap. Core elements included new value creation, new roles and new rules; new social services; and how to achieve buy-in from industry.

EHTEL team members gained a great deal from the experience of working on business models. The team really appreciated the applicability of Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneurs business model canvas to many fields in the broad domain of active and healthy ageing:

The team has taken the model further in 2015. Its members have built firstly on the work done on MOMENTUM critical success factors (see and Whitehouse (2015)).

Going further, EHTEL has run with the Joint Improvement Team in Scotland a workshop on the use of business modelling in telehealth and telecare. As the report from a previous workshop concluded (our emboldening):

In terms of next steps, it is important for the Technology-Enabled Care Programme to identify appropriate business cases for the various services involved in Technology-Enabled Care. The business case(s) – which can include financial as well as non-financial issues – should enable a focus on specific, well targeted actions for on-going work on technology-enabled care in Scotland.

Source: EHTEL

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Published on : Mon, 25 Apr 2016


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