Gero 830 Aging and Innovation Course

SFU Gerontology 830 Aging and Innovation Course (Spring 2021)

AgeTech is increasingly recognized as a key strategy to support the health, well-being and social participation of older adults, and to open up business opportunities for service providers and industry. Technology could provide solutions to the growing demands on health services that come from rising service costs and population aging. Despite the potential, too many good ideas fail to launch. The gap between R&D and real-world implementation is commonly called the “valley of death” and may be the result of various factors. There is an overly simplistic view that pilots and prototypes will naturally scale-up to mainstream products. Researchers working within the academic sector often lack the insight and skills needed to create viable commercial products. Start-ups have played a major role in AgeTech, but promising new businesses and products often fail because of factors such as weak management or the inability to raise investment.

This course will look at how we can adopt a more innovation-focused approach to respond to the key challenges in aging in the 21st Century. This is a course that cuts across the usual disciplinary boundaries and is suitable for students in gerontology, health sciences, policy, engineering, computer science, etc. The course will be a combination of introductory lectures, guest presentations and group project working. The main task will be to carry out a group project that will identify a key problem area and develop ideas for a practical solution. There will be opportunity to work with stakeholders (older adults and caregivers) to refine your solution.