Boomers Power the Community - April

New BPTC Project Officer

Mariann McNamara commenced on 14 April and is working 2 days per week – Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9.30am-5.30pm.  Mariann met with TACSI on 22 April to ensure relationship building between both agencies continued and the clarity re the project aims and objectives was better understood. 

We discussed aspects of the sustainability framework that is also intended to be delivered as part of this project and discussed potential other funding sources and or additional TACSI assistance, (without prejudice).  It’s important for CC SA Inc. that we gain the benefit of what specialisation/ expertise TACSI can offer in their support so we develop and deliver a very successful project.

BPTC Engagement and Communication campaign strategy

BPTC is very fortunate to also have the professional support of the Sydney based agency Universal Favourite (UF), who specialise in engagement, comms strategy and campaigning, project management and specialist project branding and messaging. 

This is a first for UF who were keen to lend their professional expertise to a worthy community based project associated with TACSI.  BPTC are the lucky recipient of up to 16 hours of their dedicated support and they will focus on the boomer engagement messaging and communication campaign and design.  Mariann had the opportunity while in Sydney on 10 April, to visit the UF team.

UF and BPTC are advancing the development, based on the available research and also the local environment where we are trialling the BPTC, of a first cut engagement messaging look and feel , which will be tested with a focus group to be recruited, representing the relevant ‘educator’ boomer demographic. 

This will be through a broad based recruitment strategy using existing communication options within Community Centres SA, radio spots and strategically linked partners and stakeholder and local ‘ambassadors etc. 

Inaugural Steering Group meeting 28 April

The inaugural meeting of the Steering Group was on 28 April, with representatives from 4 community centres and the Dep. CEO CC SA Inc.  We discussed the confirmation of the potential trial sites. The aim is to have BPTC trialled/piloted in up to 4 community centres across the metro area: northeast, south and central plus a close regional setting. 

This will provide for quite a diverse spread of demographic participants both in ‘boomers’ and those in the community who are to be targeted for lit/num assistance.

We spent considerable time discussing how we might engage 'boomers' and then consequently target the participants.  Trial centres were keenly interested in having a high degree of involvement and for it to be a project delivered within a wholly ‘community context’ not necessarily within the actual centres but using the values and ethos as proscribed by CC SA Inc. and its members. 

We agreed that we needed a high level of flexibility in what ultimately would be the 'education/training' methodology/delivery options being offered to both the potential ‘educators to meet the needs as agreed between he educator and the participant to be assisted.  Our overall aim therefore is to be very focused on individual needs which might include one-to-one, small groups, vocational settings eg woodwork, IT, history, drama and so on.  Or even larger groups within a ‘classroom/lecture room’ setting.  

It has been articulated in previous blogs that BPTC is not around developing a one size fits all outcome.

Boomer demographic

BPTC is aimed at engaging boomers who are planning retirement and or are retired, who are/were ‘educators’.  So this may include school teachers, TAFE/Uni lecturers/tutors, vocational educators/trainers plus potentially others who may have TAA/Tesol quals.  If we focus on a broader category of ‘educators’ then we are more likely to reach a more flexible group who can better meet the needs of potentially a very diverse  participant group and also more chance of the boomers ‘gaining’ expertise and skills from each other too.

It means the engagement and communications strategy is being designed with this aspect in mind.  

Building partnerships and stakeholder interest

BPTC is embarked on an active campaign to entice partners who would be prepared to be part of our promotional/communications campaign – incl: U3A Alliance, Education Unions, Retired Persons Assn, various retired teacher/lecturers/trainers Alumni/Professional Assn., the 3 Educational Sectors and many more. 

We are also involved in discussions with Credit Unions SA who has expressed an interest in potentially including this project within some of their community support marketing campaigns.

Collaborative options may include with COTA, OARS, Sole Parents Groups, Family by Family Project, Smith Family Education program for children and so on.

We are keen to be able to provide a very clear and we hope unambiguous opportunity for the collaborative process to be of benefit to all parties involved without competing and or duplicating effort so we can plug into existing and or specific demographic groups without requiring heavy reliance on additional resource use from within CC SA Inc. or the partners/stakeholders/sponsors etc.   

BPTC timeline priorities

Focus of BPTC over the next 2-3 months will be on the engagement/communication campaign strategy and launch, working closely with Universal Favourite and our partners and also using tried and achievable testing samples across a targeted focus group of the boomers we are working to engage. 

We need to be confident of developing really robust and contemporary marketing and communication materials/devices and messaging to be as effective as possible in engaging and ultimately delivering a very sustainable model for enticing the interest of this specific boomer demographic.  

Alongside this is also the need to consider the future sustainability framework that may well be potentially a web-based portal process for ease of 'self-engagement’, or ‘self-directing’ or even ‘self-registration’ within the context of what various options are available through community centre operations/hosting etc.   

With our overall aim of assisting individuals, we are thereby fulfilling the ‘boomer’ desire for adding value and leaving an enduring legacy by offering highly valued skills to those who need and desire to improve their lives because of gaining access to the variety of ‘educator skills’ being offered.

Future funding and resources

Part of our discussion re the roll out of the BPTC project has also centred on what specific resources and materials we may require over and above the current funding available.  This is important as we have identified that we need to be highly contemporary in future communication processes and they will almost certainly be in a web based environment.   Social media offers the type of models that inspire most people to become involved and or find information about things they may be interested in. 

We’re also be keen to investigate options to 'visualise' parts of our messaging through use of graphic and or illustrated processes, is important too. 

CC SA Inc. and will look to TACSI for some leadership on options available re these funding sources etc. for these issues as we progress the BPTC project.


Mariann R McNamara

Project Officer – Boomers Power in the Community (BPTC)

April 2015


Test Kitchen - April

Test Kitchen has spent the best part of April in the field attempting to better understand pain points, needs, wants and aspirations for meal times and related processes and experiences for older people.

We had intended to leap ahead to testing our Host@Home models in April, however, we decided to take a step back to better understand the issues and problems associated with meal times, eating alone and socialisation rather than jumping ahead to testing possible solutions.

We spent time with 20 Meals on Wheels SA recipients in their homes as well as a small number of non-recipients. We also spent time with members of community groups and clubs during their meetings and group activities discussing issues around food, meal times and socialisation.

From initial impressions, we found that there were likely 3 broad categories to which peoples’ needs, wants and aspirations around meal times and socialisation could be classified:

(1)   Expression of comfort with the status quo

·       “when things are going along steady, you don’t go changing it”

(2)   Craving greater autonomy, choice and appropriateness in the sourcing and preparation of meals

·       “I’m stubborn and independent; I prefer to cook for myself……. I’m nearly ready to get back to doing that, and I shouldn’t need any help”

·        “One of the big problems of cooking for one is buying food in small enough portions so as not to throw most of it away” (a commonly expressed problem)

(3)   Craving greater choice, flexibility and appropriateness of social opportunities in community

·       “I used to go on the day trips or camps [run by aged care service providers] but I don’t go anymore…. It’s the same stuff and the same people……… it gets boring

One of the interesting contradictions evident throughout our recent conversations is that many people describe smaller, homely environments as their ideal social environment including for the sharing of meals; however, many (often the same people) describe hosting others, or being a guest in someone else’s home for a meal, as uncomfortable or problematic, and thus would choose or preference public spaces over homes for socialising.

One lady (89y) described a recent experience with a group of ladies who regularly meet at a shopping centre café before doing their weekly shopping. One week, they instead decided to return to the home of one of the ladies for afternoon tea – “she insisted on hosting and putting on a full spread, when we said all we needed was a hot or cold drink and a chat, but she’s from the country you see and she said it wouldn’t be a proper afternoon tea…….. so you feel guilty being there, being hosted and waited upon when you know she’s not up to it”.

Some of the people we met this past month were attendees at our first social lunch hosted by Meals on Wheels in a community public venue. One lady (85y), said it took a lot of pushing from her family to get her there …”its not the sort of thing I would normally do…, but I thoroughly enjoyed it…it really gave me a boost and I would willingly do it again”.

In addition to this we have made some advancements in scoping and understanding possible value propositions to key supporting customers. This will factor into the business model development and service delivery models.

In this month of May, we will be taking our newest information and learning back to the design table (and the Ageing Challenge co-design workshop on May 12th) to translate into service prototypes.

On May 30th Test Kitchen (in conjunction with Meals on Wheels SA Port Augusta branch) will be at the Augusta Markets to share our ideas, concepts and prototypes for a better social dining future for older residents. We hope to stimulate lots of interest and discussion and to get our ‘co-design’ juices flowing!

So if this is your thing come along to the Augusta Markets on Saturday May 30th 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Test Kitchen aiming to help reclaim meal times as positive social and sensory experiences

Test Kitchen - Feb

The formal agreement between Meals on Wheels SA Inc. (who will auspice the funding for the Test Kitchen project) and OFTA (SA Health) was signed on Friday 13 February 2015.

The first two weeks of formal project activity under this funding has been busy. We participated in the first co-design and business models mentoring workshop at TACSI on Monday 16 February. The workshop took up from where the previous “power-up sessions” left off where we had scoped our customer segments and defined the job to be done (for our primary customers at least). This workshop focussed on brainstorming the strategic activities of the enterprise that would deliver the value to customers and we considered the question: what would need to be true for this strategic activity to be successful?

We identified a number of core strategic activities during this workshop:

  1. Host in community;
  2. Host@Home (which is a collective of a number of different home-based social meal models);
  3. Pop-up community dining;
  4. Community kitchen and dining; 

Each strategy was associated with ten or more assumptions that we considered would have to be true for the strategy to be successful in delivering on social meal time value to customers. The most critical of these assumptions were:

For Host in community:  (a) that customers want to eat socially in community environments; and (b) That volunteers want to host older people for meals in community environments

For Host@Home: that (a) that customers will host shared meals in their homes; and (b) That customers will be guests to shared meals hosted in the homes of others

On February 18, we tested the assumption associated with the Host in Community strategy at a shared lunch in a community setting in Port Augusta, South Australia. This was based within the Meals on Wheels branch in that community. Below, we outline the results of this first ‘Host in Community’ experiment (using hypothesis (a) as an example).

Experiment 1

(a)          That customers want to eat socially in community environments

Core activity being tested: Community dining

Hypothesis: That customers want to eat socially in community environments

Methods: A simple community dining event was hosted by TK and the Meals on Wheels SA (MoWSA, Port Augusta Branch) in Port Augusta (South Australia) on Wednesday 18 February 2015. We assessed the attendance rate from a defined population of invited guests.

The event made use of MoWSA Port Augusta standard practice; where annually they host a branch birthday and AGM afternoon tea at the Port Augusta bowls club, to which all regular clients and their chosen guest (family, carers, friends) are invited. We adopted this same familiar approach, with the major difference being that TK catered a 2-course roast dinner + dessert (lunch) rather than the MoWSA afternoon tea.

Customers (participants): All MoWSA Port Augusta branch regular clients (n=45) were invited to attend this event. Invitations contained no information on what TK is or what it seeks to achieve, so as to not confound natural interest/desire in attending (i.e. from attendance we can infer that intrinsic value in social dining in a community setting is present).

Primary Measures: Attendance rate of invited MoWSA Port Augusta clients

Secondary Measures: Proportion of MoWSA Port Augusta clients who attended with extra guests; number of extra guests (expressed as a per person average)

Results: 18 out of 45 (40%) regular MoWSA Port Augusta clients attended. Of these, half brought at least one additional guest.

Primary conclusion: That 40% attendance rate in a population of primary customers represents strong evidence that these customers want to eat socially in community environments.

Secondary conclusion: That the 50% of primary customers who brought an extra guest represents that support networks do exist for primary customers and that these support people place significant value on social dining (for themselves and/or the primary customers).

Overall conclusion: Taken together these results suggest significant market and customer value of community dining events in this population.

Where to from here?

The next two months will be focussed on testing assumptions implicit in our various Host@Home models, both within the MoWSA organisations and in community more broadly. An outline of our expected schedule of experiments in included below:

SeniorPreneurs - Feb

Weve been really busy following our celebration of gaining support from TACSI and The Office for the Ageing

We have been fortunate to be able to draw on the experience of our pilot program in Melbourne (that started in May, 2014), to put together a draft program of activity for 2015. We are delighted to have enthusiastic support from organisations including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Microsoft, City of Adelaide, Polaris Business and Innovation Centre, Adelaide Business Hub, Eastside Business Enterprise Centre, Spicer Uniting Church.

We were also pleased to get public exposure through an Advertiser article on entrepreneurship in South Australia on 27 January. People are joining us through our Meetup website ( and we look forward to our first event on 18 February, hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Boomers Power the Community - Feb

Our immediate focus is to bring the Project Steering Group together (5 March) to review how we currently engage retired teachers in programs delivering literacy skills in community centres and to discuss  assumptions for testing.

Assumptions identified at the first TaCSI workshop fall out of the two critical elements of our project: literacy and retired teachers. 

We know from previous testing that teachers are not interested in volunteering until after eight months of retirement at least.  Therefore we need to ask  ‘How do we find them once they have retired and reignite their willingness to share their skills and knowledge?’

The Australian Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (2006, ABS, indicates that 45% of South Australians do not have the functional literacy skills required to cope with daily life situations. Functional literacy is the ability to perform basic reading and writing skills including spelling and grammar, and mathematics. The need for Community Centre programs is clearly apparent but it raises the question ‘What will make people with poor literacy skills attend?’

Other questions which will help us to identify assumptions to test include:

  • Is there a shortage of skilled tutors to deliver programs?
  • Are retired teachers better off as a result of their involvement in  tutoring programs?

Our thinking has begun to identify a number of different ways to reengage teachers and link them with community centres such as Adult Continuing Education programs, Community Development programs, Personal Support Program and the yet to be launched career planning/transition services. We envisage being able to offer a suite of options to attract retired teachers to volunteering within our member centres.

Winners announced

The winners were officially announced on the 10th of December by the Minister for Ageing, Zoe Bettison. 

The winners of the Innovation in Ageing Challenge are:

SeniorPreneurs ($25,000) - a networking organisation for over-55s that encourages people to start up new enterprises that will benefit participants and the community and will be financially sustainable. 

Test Kitchen ($40,000) - aims to break loneliness for socially isolated older people by facilitating positive social interactions over food that reignites the senses; this sets Test Kitchen apart from current meal provision services. 

Boomers Power the Community ($36,500) – Community Centres SA will explore how to engage baby boomers in volunteering and capture their skills and experience to address low functional literacy in their local community. This project will also receive the Strategy Booster Pack, two days of extra strategic support provided by Universal Favourite to help deliver the project. 

Read the full announcement 

Additional prize!!!

We are really excited that we can announce an additional prize for the Innovation in Ageing Challenge. Our friends at Universal Favourite are offering a Strategy Booster Pack for a successful winner. Universal Favourite are a brand, design and digital agency who work with people who want to create a better world, that works. 

Here is a message from the Universal Favourite team: 

We’re very excited to work with you and if you are the selected winner of our prize you’ll be able to think of us as your brand, design and digital partner. Exciting! Everyone needs a little booster when it comes to shaping their brand, messaging or thinking about their digital strategy.

As the winner of the Strategy Booster Pack you’ll receive 2 days worth of strategic consulting time, which you can choose to use in the form of a workshop or consultations.

We’ll work with you to make sure we use this time in a way that is most appropriate for your needs – as we know each project is very different, so we’ll get into the details down the track.

See more information about the prize

Announcing the challenge shortlist!

After some heated debate we're announcing our challenge shortlist. Congrats to you all.

What's next? Two Power-Up workshops from TACSI to shape the ideas before the final pitch in early November.

Brief 1: Boomers

Nomad Connect  - Jacqueline O'Donnell

Habit Makeover Program - ACH Group

Boomers Power the Community - Community Centres SA

SeniorPreneurs - TellUs Pty Ltd

Two Square Pegs - Two Square Pegs

Read the brief


Brief 2: Home Alone

Home Share - Theo Campbell

Connecting Communities through Care Farming - Careship Coorong

Test Kitchen - Matthew Haren, University of SA 

Full of Life, Life in Full - Elsa Dent, University of Adelaide

Read the brief

FAQ about the Innovation in Ageing Challenge

It’s been great to see entries for the Ageing in Innovation Challenge coming in over the past couple of weeks! We’ve also had some questions that have been asked more than once- so thought that including the answers here for everyone to have a squiz at would be useful for others put their entries together!


1. Is $100,000 the entire prize pool or prize per winner?

The Ageing Challenge has $100,000 in total to give away. We purposefully haven’t limited whether this prize will be split between entrants, or how many entrants we’d split it between. This will depend on the entries we receive in coming weeks. It is likely that more than one entrant will share the total prize. 


2. What does it mean for entries to have to ‘impact older people in South Australia?’

The Challenge is funded by the South Australian Government’s Office of the Ageing, who are excited to see benefits from the Challenge flowing to South Australians. This does not exclude entries that would benefit people outside South Australia- it just means that any entry would need to also benefit SA.


3. How innovative does an entry need to be?

This is a tricky one! 

Existing programs or ventures won’t be considered for the Challenge.

It is very hard for us to define what is innovative and if it is innovative enough. What we can say is what we think a good idea will look like. 

We consider an innovative entry to have some or all of these characteristics:

+ an understand the need (and create a way to address it)

+ a rigorous process to test assumptions

+ a committed team

+ a model for sustainability 

We also recognise that you may not know the answer to all of these questions at the moment. So what we will be looking for in the initial entries are these things:

Community fit 
Does the entry demonstrate a strong sensitivity to the need and wants of the end user?

Reducing inequity
Does the entry have the potential to improve social outcomes and reduce social inequity?

Does the entry have the potential for a funding model beyond the life of the prize money?

Does the team and any partnerships have the experience and capability to do the work?

If your entry can do all of these things then you are in with a good chance, no matter if it is an App or a new service. 

We will work with successful entries in the Power-Up workshops to dig more into all of the ideas and explore how to answer these questions in more detail but also how to test assumptions and other critical questions. We will then be looking to see the answers to these questions in the final pitch. 


4. Can I get funding for something that I am already running?

We will not fund and pre-existing programs, this money is set aside for new ideas. However you may enter an early stage idea or demonstrations of existing programs. 

For alternative Office of the Ageing SA funding streams see here


5. Do I have to be an Incorporated body?

Only incorporated bodies can receive the funds. This means that if you are successful but are not an incorporated, you will need to find an organisation which is incorporated to auspice the funds. 

This does not mean that you cannot enter if you are not incorporated it just means that we will have to work through some more steps if you are to win.


6. I don’t know how my idea is going to be sustainable, it is so new I can’t answer that yet

That is OK, we just want people to be thinking about these things right from the start. We would still like you to provide us with an idea about how this idea will be sustainable. If you are successful you will be able to do more work on this in the Power-Up workshops and also the mentoring of successful entries. 


7. Do I have to come to the Power-Up workshops? 

We can’t force you to do anything! However we do think that these workshops are a key part of the process and can significantly help you push forward with your idea and test the assumptions behind it. We believe that this will not only help ideas be successful in the final pitch but will help all of the entries add more depth and take them to the next level.

More inpsiration

There’s a lot of innovation happening in ageing and caring around the world. Here are some more examples to inspire, as you consider your application for The Innovation in Ageing Challenge! Applications for the Challenge close 12th September, 2014. 

AgeLab MIT: An innovation lab that designs, develops and deploys innovations focused on ageing.

Southwark Circle- from Participle in London. A membership-based service supporting 50+ year olds to lead the lives they want to lead.

ShinkKouKai Model: affordable high-quality nursing homes in Japan

Baba Yaga Model (CBCRadical ResthomesBaba housing): co-housing model from France