Anyone who wants to innovate in healthcare begins a journey of many years along a road that is filled with successes, bumps, pitfalls and sometimes embarrassing bloopers. In a new digital magazine by the international programme, Active & Assisted Living (AAL), 5 innovators tell about their journey from idea to solution. One of them is Vilans researcher Henk Herman Nap.
In the AAL program, which is coordinated by the Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), several companies and organisations are working on ICT solutions to improve the quality of life of seniors and help them to be more self-reliant. All this is done in close cooperation with the older people themselves and their informal caregivers.
Vilans coordinates a number of AAL projects. Our senior researcher Henk Herman Nap is the theme coordinator for digital care. In the article on developing innovation, he says, ‘You develop and try out together. You enter the process with researchers, designers, care providers, developers and suppliers. Plus, of course, the end users. In such a collaboration you are really complementary to each other.
I have been involved in European projects since 2008. In the early days, things were very different. The technical people understood little about design. So you had to hope that you could still make enough adjustments to make the technology accessible to the user. Now it makes perfect sense for everyone to participate in co-design. Of course, the goal of developers and vendors is to develop as many solutions as possible and then sell them. But they also realise that you must first build a relationship with all those involved in the process. So listen carefully and keep modifying your product based on new rounds of testing. Until it is good. Only then can you think about scaling up and selling products.’