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VICTORIA | Internationale Hochschule


I-CARE smart


According to Eurostat data, 17.4% of Europeans are 65 years old and over. Increasing life expectancy means that the EU’s population will be ageing intensively in the coming years. These demographic processes represent a major social and economic policy challenge for the European Union as a whole and for individual Member States.
The international project (I-CARE-SMART) is part of this trend of support for older people. I-CARE-SMART aims to bring innovation closer to senior citizens by introducing innovative products and services with the active involvement of users and boost the silver economy.


Partners from seven central European countries responds to the region’s challenges regarding an ageing population and insufficient provision for senior citizens. It seeks to build and strengthen cooperation with organizations that are able to provide state-of-the-art technology in health and social care for the elderly, including the use of IT.

City of Graz
NOWA Training Counselling Project management

Czech Republic
Social Services Prague 9
SPEKTRA, manufacturing cooperative

University of Applied Sciences for Economy, Technics and Culture

Municipality of Újbuda (Budapest, 11th district)
Budapest University of Technology and Economics

Liguria Region
SI4life Science and Business together to improve the quality of life for Seniors and People with Disabilities

Lodzkie Region
Medical University of Lodz

European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation
Via Carpatia Technical University of Kosice

Who funds us

Our project is funded by the Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE Programme that encourages cooperation on shared challenges in central Europe. With 246 million Euro of funding from the European Regional Development Fund, the programme supports institutions to work together beyond borders to improve cities and regions in Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.



The project activities have been structured to maximize opportunities for cooperation and the pooling of experience and ideas at the transnational level.



we bring together the Research & Development sector, Business sector, Health & Social Service Provider sector, the Elderly Community under the coordination of the Local Municipality to start a long-term co-creation and cooperation in order to integrate the identified needs of both the elderly as individuals and the elderly (health & social) service providers as institutes into each phase of the innovation cycle for SMART solution (planning, developing, prototype, validation, marketing and follow-up). Based on the developed toolset PPs launch a quadruple helix based co-creation process going through 4 stages:

1) Co-creation based needs assessment;
2) Scouting innovative solutions that meet real user needs (SilverStar Challenge);
3) Development of solutions with user involvement (co-creation and living lab pilots);
4) Transnational collaboration with open innovation methods (SilverStar Platform).



Update – Workpackage 1 –

Workpackage 1 focusses on the development of regional analyses to assess the needs and requirements of cocreative smart elderly care between elderly people and those who provide services around smart elderly care. Based on the results of the regional analysis within the three thematic working groups Co Creation, Business Engagement and Senior Engagement tools have been developed to engage co creation and open innovation among the quadruple helix members.


Thematic Working Group – Co Creation
Co-Creation as a massive chance for Elderly Care

It is fundamental to note that life expectancy increases due to better medical care and other context factors. The number of elderly people is also increasing. The importance of innovations for this target group is therefore an increasingly dominant success factor for numerous business models such as for Smart Elderly Care. Co-creation is a process that involves joint activities of a provider with other stakeholders and aims to generate value for the parties involved and for other beneficiaries. Co-creation with elderly people narrows the focus to providers and potential elderly customers. The importance of innovations for this target group is therefore an increasingly dominant success factor for numerous business models. There are some peculiarities to be noted that are related to the target group:

  • Elderly people are often less enthusiastic about technology than younger people. They suffer from age-related diseases and deteriorating senses. The usability of innovations must take this into account.
  • Elderly people have more experience than younger people. There is less likelihood of replacing behaviours that have been learned and found to be useful with new behaviours. Ways and methods must be found to overcome resistance to innovation.
  • Older people are less familiar with co-creation processes than younger people who regularly use social media channels and cooperate via the Internet. Ways and methods must be found to overcome resistance to innovation.


Co-creation with elderly people was identified as focal construct (phenomenon of interest). Based on prior knowledge and on the basis of the interviews it is to be noted:

  1. Co-creation is a process that involves joint activities of a provider with other stakeholders and aims to generate value for the parties involved and for other beneficiaries. Co-creation with elderly people narrows the focus to providers and potential elderly customers.
  2. Co-creation is not identical with the term value (co)creation. Co-creation refers to joint action, interaction and communication. Value creation refers to the benefit that emerges through co-creation.
  3. There are numerous terms used to describe similar phenomena from different theoretical and practical perspectives. Examples include: Co-production, Open innovation, Collaborative production and consumption, Prosumer or Co-worker.

In order to increase the readiness for co-creation, several strategies seem to be suitable:

  1. Application of persuasion techniques: To initiate co-creation with older people, classical influencing techniques are suitable.
    In particular:
  • Reciprocity (showing mutual favours),
  • Consistency (co-creation initially on a small scale and gradually expanding),
  • Liking (building up sympathy, for example by showing common goals),
  • Authority (presenting expertise),
  • Social proof (showing that other older people are also involved) and
  • Scarcity (co-creation as an exclusive process).
  1. Incentives (financial and non-financial): Financial and non-final grants support the readiness for co-creation. The latter aspect can, for example, be achieved by acknowledging the performance of the person concerned.
  2. Relations: The development and expansion of personal relationships can be used as a strategy for initiating and implementing co-creation.
  3. Collaboration Networks: Support through professional networks for collaboration increases the willingness and ability to participate in co-creation.
  4. Compulsion: In certain situations, it is impossible to develop an innovation and position it on the market if customers do not participate. This is the case, for example, if the innovation is specifically tailored to a particular life situation and can only be functional if the customer cooperates by providing information or other resources.


Thematic Working Group Senior Engagement
Wishes for a good Life in Old Age & Challenges to face within the field of SMART Elderly Care

The wishes and needs of elderly people needed to be identified in order to set up a cocreational environment. There are general needs like social interactions, agility, fun and laughter but there are two main needs, that seem to be more important than all the others: Family bonding, support and independence as well as self-determination.

Family bonding and support and independence are important factors for a good life. In general, social activities and interactions as well as places where social interactions are organized or take place are of great importance. For elderly people living in rural areas this means that they have access to transport. As for the living of a good and active life the sense of usefulness and finding a “new” role in the society is also an important aspect for people in the post-productive age. In this context it is important that older people have social tasks and goals and that they receive social recognition and get the feeling that they are needed and that their experiences counts. Having hobbies and to enjoy new experiences is essential for some to live a good life.

Self-determination has been mentioned as an important factor for well-being, regardless the need for support and assistance. This includes all areas of everyday life for people still living at home, without being tutored by relatives, and refers to deciding on their own which services are needed e.g. nursing homes or mobile care. According inpatient care, this means being able to decide the time of eating or the daily routine according to one’s own preferences. For mobile service providers, this means that more consideration is given to the wishes of those affected and not primarily to the needs of the relatives.

Best Practice
A Best Practice in the European healthcare system for the implementation of integrated care with patient orientation can be found in the southern Swedish town of Jönköping County. More than 20 years ago, the so-called Esther Network was founded there, which systematically connects communities, hospitals, primary care facilities and also some private providers in the health and social sector for the benefit of patients. To identify real patient needs and derive tailor-made services, the founders of the Esther Network invented symbolic person to represent any person or person with complex needs, a so-called “Esther”.

System coaches, the so-called Esther coaches, form the core of the Esther network. These volunteers with a health professional background, working for the various interconnected care providers, promote the holistic development of the healthcare system, across organizational boundaries. Constantly they pose the question „What is best for Esther?“ and align their actions with it and thus with vision. This allows them to change the health system step by step in detail.

The main requirements and barriers to challenge are:

  • Health system/ Same high-standard for all people and no 3 class system
  • No awareness of the possibility to close the lack of contact with the word and lack of communication through digital tools
  • Urban-rural divide
  • non-appropriate infrastructure leading to low accessibility
  • Insufficient adaption of the products and the need of Senior friendly designs
  • Internet as an unsafe environment
  • a low level of appreciation and social recognition
  • coordinating sustainable & reliable service in local communities
  • reduce the fear of failure by providing digital trainings & digital service spots
  • Low involvement of the elderly in the process is missing so far.

Research Method
For the regional analysis the partners organized two expert interviews, two focus group interviews with elderly people and one focus group with caregiving relatives and professionals working with elderly people in the region. In addition, all partners made a desk research to find out basic facts about life situation of elderly people in the countries concerned (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Italy, Austria). Beside desk research regarding needs and demopgraphic data, the main outcoming are that target group specific trainings ore intergenerational projects can be seen as best practices to engage elderly people in cocreation.


Thematic Working Group Business Engagement
Success and Driven Factors to engage Co-Creation between firms and elderly people

The question a lot of firms propose are: How to connect with elderly people within the process of product innovation and development. A lack of knowledge on co-creation or a lack of trusted relationship can be reasons for that. The research showed that several success and driven factors as well the consideration of best practices increase co-creation between firms and elderly people:

The main requirements and barriers to challenge that have been identified are

  • The lack of specific knowledge on co-creation.
  • The lack of specific funds supporting innovation and co-creation.
  • The lack of trusted relationship.
  • The lack of public support for co-creation.

The Success Factors to initiate cocreation and open innovation are

  • Networking to connect and create trusted relationships
  • Goal Orientation with clear objectives of the tool and clear rules for the involvement.
  • Financial Capital to have the possibility to match investors or to have support overcoming bureaucracy issues
  • Sharing Ideas & Problems to habe a trusted situation regulated with clear rules

There are three driven factors for co-creation: The Idea, The Need and the Opportunity

The idea for a new product/service or a new application of an existing product/service can be a driven for a firm[1].

The need is a cluster of driven factors such as, just to mention the main:

  • the market need for a specific product/service[2]
  • the customer need for a specific product or service
  • the need of a firm to increase its position on the market,
  • the need of a firm to innovate

The opportunity driven factor intent to identify different example of collaboration built to follow an opportunity of financing, an opportunity of networking, an opportunity of marketing and so on.

Based on the success factors, the driven factors and the the description of some use cases the Business Engagement working group gave some examples on how co-creation could be initiated through the silver star platform.

One of the tools proposed was “Matching”

This model usually refers to business matching, i.e. an event or activity in which business find other firms to do business with.

There are examples of f2f speed meeting supported by chamber of commerce or regional entities that aims to support sme in promoting their solution to big companies.

For the purpose of business engagement in co-creation the matching is partially overlapped with this context. The Matching model for business engagement is an instrument for supporting the co-development of concrete projects that foster new solutions within specific topic (an example is available here


[1] This concept is a little bit different from the idea-driven model in economy that aims in to evaluate the value of ideas as the engine of long-run growth [Jones, 1995; Coe and Helpman, 1995].
[2] Market-driven product or market-driven strategy is a term used to identify a corporate strategy to follow the market trends and required to understand the market and the customers.


Ergebnissicherung Interreg-Training

New Task4s members!

All the partner regions have established their expert groups that are working in accordance with Joint Guideline on the Composition and Operation of Task4s.

Participating regions create fully-fledged quadruple-helix based ecosystems with sufficient capacities to promote innovation through co-creation. The final goal is to build a transnational open innovation ecosystem for smart elderly care, which allows public authorities, universities, businesses, and the representatives of the elderly to:

  • regularly interact,
  • share knowledge and information on the unmet needs of the elderly and on the potential solutions to address them,
  • create transnational collaboration teams for the development of innovative solutions with wide-scale market opportunities.

Creating environment to bring the change is fundamental part of I-CARE-SMART project.
Who we need:

  • innovators,
  • business entities (SMEs and start-ups),
  • academia (researchers and students),
  • public authorities (both at local and regional level), social innovators (NGO’s and informal groups).

If you find yourself on the above list, please don’t hesitate to contact us and join the team!
You can contact us using social media of the project: either Facebook or LinkedIn

Design thinking panel in Graz
20.08.2020 Graz, Austria

“If we want to support senior citizens in ensuring that they can stay in their own home for as long as possible and with a high quality of life, we must…“ – This question was dealt with by Task4s in Graz last week in the intensive design thinking workshop within the framework of the EU #ICARESMART project, condensing the results of the co-creation processes with senior citizens.


The workshop presented above would not have come to reality without Senior Advisory Board. Founded to gather as many valuable suggestions from senior members as possible, might be a crucial part on the way to find answers and eventually, make life of the elderly easier and better.


July’s information seminars in Slovakia
03-17.07.2020 Košice Region, Slovakia

European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation Via Carpatia in cooperation with Technical University in Košice organized information seminars to present I-CARE-SMART project to wider audience. Event took place in three different locations – Spišská Nová Ves, Rožňava and Michalovce.

Local seniors, representatives of municipalities and other institutions which deals with the issue of senior policy and silver economy, discussed the development of the elderly care issue within the region Košice. Below you can find photos from the events.


July’s Task4s in Poland
23.07.2020 Lodzkie Region, Poland

Similar activities were taken up by other project partners. In Poland, the event took place on 23.07.2020, gathering all Task4s members in one place to analyze goals and obstacles, pre-discuss “roadmaps” and set next stages of the project. Meeting has resulted in targeting needs of the elderly and marked significance of local solutions considering variety of the target group.



Co-creation Online Workshops

What is the ecosystem of innovation? How to bridge the gap between end-users and business? Do you want to better understand your customers? And finally, how to involve seniors in a participatory and interactive way? All these questions found answers during the three-themed online workshops as a part of Interreg’s I-CARE-SMART programme.

All three events were hosted by Berlin’s University of Applied Sciences (HWTK) in online formula due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Workshops were led by I-CARE-SMART partners and external experts covering three topics:

  • co-creation
  • senior engagement
  • business engagement

During the following events we had a pleasure to host representatives from such recognizable organizations as EIT Health, LiCalab and Happy Aging. Read more: