Europe faces the challenge of preventing loneliness and isolation amongst a growing group of senior people. The oldest part of the population is at particular risk of becoming isolated and lonely as they grow older and their work-related networks erode. While working in the field of technology and aging, the Express to Connect (E2C) project consortium discovered that there is a whole new field to be explored, namely the phenomenon of connectedness.

Based on this finding, the Express and Connect consortium wrote a book on designing for connectedness which answers the question how to support behavioural change that increases connectedness in day-to-day routines. Authors of the ”Connect – Design for an Empathic Society” book have very different backgrounds, varying from business and ICT to anthropology and design. When working with Express to Connect project they came across new opportunities for the emerging market of ‘aging-driven design’ and wanted to capture this knowledge in form of a book. 
 
Putting people centre stage
 
To design for connectedness means on the one hand understanding people and their interaction, and on the other turning these insights into solutions or systems that create positive experiences that influence human behavior – to create empathic systems. In order to let empathic systems be more than mere experiments, they will also have to work as business model that describe just how the added value can be created.
 
By unfolding the nature of relationships and age-based transitions in life, the ”Connect – Design for an Empathic Society” book invites reader to join in an effort to design for connectedness. Furthermore, the book captures all the knowledge that Express to Connect consortium has gained in the project, especially when working closely with the elderly. It includes many case studies as well as strong theoretical tools for creating business opportunities within silver market. For example, book introduces the People Value Canvas, a method by which end users’ needs and wishes can be systematically identified for purpose of further concept development. 
 
To learn more about ”Connect – Design for an Empathic Society” book, please visit BIS Publishers’ online bookstore at: http://www.bispublishers.nl/bookpage.php?id=265
 
Project website: www.express2connect.org
 
 
Further information
Project Manager Anne-Mari Sandell 
Forum Virium Helsinki
anne-mari.sandell(at)forumvirium.fi