In my last experiment post on social dance for older adults, I identified the customer need. So next in the Startup Garage design thinking proces is to come up with a point of view (POV) and then brainstorm ideas.


Hypothesis / Point of View

In Startup Garage, we learned that a point of view has three elements: the user, his or her needs, and unique insights that explain why the need is compelling. So my first draft is:

The users are aging adults with a past related to dancing who need a fun, low-impact, and affordable way to stay agile physically and mentally. Current social dance classes are not catered towards this demographics — inconvenient times, unaccessible locations, and unaccomodating to their learning speed — and routine-based dance classes may not use the brain as much.

Ideation – Industry Experts

Upon settling on a point of view, I reached out to industry experts and learned some interesting trends:

Fitness classes covered by health insurance as preventative health for seniors

I spoke with a yoga instructor who specialized in older adults, and found out that national programs like Silver Sneakers and Silver&Fit, covered by health care plans, that offer fitness classes – such as yoga and zumba. So it didn’t seem like a big leap to think partnered or social dancing could be covered in the future.

Preventing falls in older adults as the most important factor in ensuring mobility

Upon speaking with seniors, I learned falls are dangerous not just because of direct injuries. After a fall, seniors are often more sedentary, which leads to many more adverse health effects. I spoke with a longevity expert and he exclaimed: “if you could address fall prevention, that would be huge.” However, as I learned later from a fall prevention expert, that’s easier said than done. The industry is trending towards only covering evidence based programs in the future. That means involves lots of time and money to do academic research studies in order to provide evidence that the program is effective. In addition, the program is no longer allowed to be changed (even for improvements) until a new research paper is published as evidence that it is effective.

Ideation – Potential Customers

I also interviewed a small group of women who have interests in dance. In this group session, we also brainstormed lots of fun, interesting ideas. My favorite was to have country themed dinner and dance parties. For example, an Argentina themed event would feature Argentine cuisine and wine followed by Argentine Tango. The women suggested that this is the best way to get their husbands to dance.

Prototyping with Avenidas

So where does Avenidas come into the picture? Avenidas is a center for older adults in Palo Alto. It used to be named a senior center, but I learned that the term “senior” has been abandoned in favor of the term “older adults.” I volunteered at Avenidas through a Stanford event, and reached out to their center director afterwards for her perspective on the topic of dance and seniors. She was very enthusiastic that I was interested in helping out with dance events, and proposed a three-month pilot program. Once a month, we’d do a short dance lesson followed by DJ’ed ballroom dancing.

And with this proposal, I was quickly shoved into prototyping mode. I figured, if the customer already knows what they want, then just deliver it, right? Future posts will document the results of this “prototype” and learnings from it. Until then, save your calendar for the next (and final) event on Friday, Nov. 18: