Rethinking How Seniors “Age-In-Place” by Using a Tech-Enabled Experience

The needs of their market began to change rapidly, so this 79-year-old elder health provider asked Peer Insight to, "Help us innovate three times faster."


The Growth Challenge

In 2010, the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society faced a dilemma. It operated 250 senior housing facilities across 24 states. But while 95% of its costs were in these Society-owned facilities, most of its growth was coming from home-based services, a market it barely served. Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid were accelerating this trend. Good Sam’s highly distributed model of innovation was great for adapting to local needs, but it was slow and ill-equipped to explore fundamentally new business models and value propositions.


'Fortune 500' innovators become co-creators

To envision the new innovation “accelerator”, Peer Insight convened a diverse group of Good Sam stakeholders in a series of one-day co-creation sessions. They drew upon case examples of admired firms – including IBM, Hallmark, Pitney Bowes, GE, and Intel – to create their innovation dream team. The design combined people, process, and a physical lab environment, along with a governance system to make sure innovation was tightly connected to the priorities of senior leadership. Then they took the draft design to the field and rigor-tested it during site visits to 3M, UnitedHealth Group, and Mayo Clinic. 


prototyping an innovation engine

The resulting central innovation lab was dubbed “Vivo: Innovation for Wellbeing.” Good Sam converted some existing office space into an open-plan, configurable innovation studio. Peer Insight helped the Vivo core team prototype its service by shepherding a project end-to-end through the system. We validated the human-centered design approaches, helped identify make-or-break assumptions and taught them how to conduct affordable in-market validation experiments.


Vivo: Innovation for Wellbeing

Several years later, the Vivo team has introduced a series of innovations. They are setting the pace in the elder care market with a mix of sensor technologies, home health offerings, and even a “window to the world” to address the effects of isolation.