Design thinking

A shift in life

Ulrika Ewerman & Anders Arnqvist

Changes in life, whether that’s retirement, changing home, or becoming single after a long life together, is a drastic change, in practical terms but also emotionally. We need to develop desirable and meaningful services that will help facilitate these massive life changes. As materialistic consumer behavior is being replaced by more sustainable lifestyle choices, we could develop services that evolve from this trend, in particular reference to our changing notions of ownership and personal belongings. Do we really need to own all these products around us? Maybe it’s just a hole in the wall that I want, not a drill?

The Life Management Service

What if… we could develop a service to help seniors move from one type of housing to another? Seniors often have to downsize, and find it hard to know what to do with a lifetimes collection of personal possessions. It’s an overwhelming task to handle, emotionally and physically.

“When I became a widow, I decided to sell the house and move to a small apartment. It was a big step for me, but the Life Management Service helped me a lot. A personal curator met me and helped me go through all the stuff my husband and I had collected over the years. She listened to all my stories, and helped me sort out what I should keep for my children, and the rest we recycled, donated to charity, or sold. They also stored some precious things I wanted to keep and have access to. They even helped me digitalize all my photos and documents. Today, I get letters from the child-care centre that got a lot of my furniture. I’m so happy that nothing has gone to waste. The Life Management Service made it a relief for me to move. It’s not the sad occasion I thought it would be.”

The Library of Useful Things

What if…apartment buildings could be built to cater for the practicalities in later life and compact living, and help manage the significant challenges when becoming single after a long life together with someone at your side. A place where you have all the services you want and need and the access to the latest products without having to own, keep and care for them.

“My new apartment is located in a house called ‘Homeland’. I chose to move in partly for the social contact, but also because it’s really convenient. I have access to everything I need, and most of the other residents want the same things as me. The house offers services like cleaning, laundry, technical support, car-pooling. It’s really safe and I also have full medical support if I should fall, or have an accident. One of the things I like a lot is the ‘Useful Things Library’. You simply book an ironing board or a food processor when you need it. I don’t have to buy and own these kinds of things by myself. And they don’t have to take up a lot of room in my apartment. The best thing is, the library always has the best products kept in top condition!”

I’m social – when I feel like it.

What if…we could support a person’s sense of belonging and meaningfulness in life? We could design a type of service that helps people enjoy a healthy social life in the comfort of their own home; a place that could truly accommodate diverse needs, and be a social hub for people of all ages.

“Even though I live on my own I can socialize when I want to. I do voluntary work in several of the businesses that are located in my apartment complex, Homeland, such as the StudyStudio where I help school kids with their homework. I often meet up with friends or bring my grandchildren to the Homeland restaurant. The staff will even cater for me if I want to have a party.
One of the things I miss the most is the garden. At Homeland, I help out with the beehives and herb garden, and my own GardenBox. My grandchildren love that as well. Homeland is part of an international network and the Homelanders from all over the world are connected via The Homeland Net. It’s great if you want to just chat with someone, or just follow what other Homelanders are up to. I can even travel and stay at other Homelands with my friends and family.”

A Personal Guide

What if…we could help people keep track of all their personal things, large and small, no matter where the user is. We can remind people what they need for specific activities and hobbies, according to their preferences. We can help them meet their friends and be spontaneous by giving them ideas and invitations when they are out and about.

“I use this service while I am out in the city. It suggests places and things I forgot to do, when it’s on my route. It’s really nice, it even shows me what friends are close by so that we can meet up. “