Spend more time on the problem

As we enter day 2 of the Aging 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, I have a few observations and reflections to share about day 1. The day was full with an exciting buzz in the air. It was gratifying to see several Canadian entrepreneurs at the event pitching their innovative solutions and looking for partnerships. Some of the firms included Care Angels, Sensassure andLife Assist Technologies.

After hearing from close to 50 ingenious and energetic entrepreneurs in the senior’s care space, the final session was the Innovation Reactor Panel. On the panel was our Baycrest’s own Dr. Bill Reichman sharing the stage with an illustrious group of health system executives. Until this panel, the innovation agenda and the entrepreneurs were the main story at this conference of over 700 attendees. Now we had a chance to hear from the health system executives, insurers and seniors care operators.

The viewpoints were wide ranging, dealing with the increasing pressure on the sector and the growing need for innovations solutions to address these pressures. Entrepreneurs, including 17 year-old Kenneth Shinozuka of Safewander.com, were lauded for their important contributions and dedication to this mostly overlooked sector.

In his opening remarks, Bill let the audience know about the recent $123M announcement of the creation of the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation which set the audience tittering with the magnitude of the investment.  Bill also summarized what turned out to be a consensus on the panel – that, while we applaud the creative energy of entrepreneurs, they would be advised to spend more time understanding the problems before committing to develop solutions.

Indeed, some of the more relevant solutions I saw this day were by the teams that had spent long months working side-by-side with seniors care organizations or who had a clinician as part of the leadership team. They had perhaps the less showy solutions, but ones which best addressed some of the fundamental problems in our sector.

I’m looking forward to telling the audience more about CC-ABHI today as part of my talk entitled Evidence: Why It’s Important and How To Get It.