For Sarah Thomas, CEO of consulting company Delight by Design, and a Nexus Insights Fellow, “experience design” is about creating “an engaging experience that brings value to the consumer and delights them throughout the customer journey.” This is especially true in the longevity market, a market Thomas says has been undervalued in the past, and which is where her company is focused.
Delight by Design works with firms that are looking to design more accessible products or more inclusive services, and investors who are looking to expand their portfolios. These organizations may need assistance in understanding the wants, needs and market opportunities for the older adult consumers. That’s where the Delight by Design team truly shines.
Thomas was featured recently in an article entitled, “How Tech and Common Sense is Bringing Experience Design to Senior Living” on the Senior Living Innovation Forum (SLIF) blog. “Applying my background as an occupational therapist,” Thomas told SLIF, “I focus on human-centered design to create environments and experiences where residents are living their best lives, not defined by age.”
According to Thomas, experience design can “help companies foster a sense of purpose, encourage community engagement, improve mental health, elevate physical activity, increase healthspan and lifespan.”
“We want it at the touch of a button with on-demand functionality, and we should be expecting the evolving consumer to want the same in senior living.”
Technology plays an important role in experience design, not for its own sake, but for how it can improve efficiencies and help consumers. “In Silicon Valley, we design products to replace the greatest caregiver of all—Mom!” Thomas said. “Bring me food, clean my house, make my bed, and drive me! We want it at the touch of a button with on-demand functionality, and we should be expecting the evolving consumer to want the same in senior living.”
Thomas predicts that tech-based experience design innovations will bring improvements across the entire senior living experience. She predicts that seniors, who are used to living in a high-tech world, will come to expect it. “We need more availability of basic tech-enabled experiences; we need to offer technology that reaches families beyond the walls of a resident’s community, includes more telehealth, counseling, dietary support, and increased access to other resources that improve quality of life across all dimensions of wellness,” she said.
Sarah Thomas will discuss the importance of experience design at this year’s Senior Living Innovation Forum in October. Nexus Fellows Bob Kramer and Ryan Frederick will also be sharing their expertise as speakers.