Collection No 3

Aging in Place

Early Concept Development

Building on Research

In our last blog post we shared a few of our favorite stories from the Aging in Place field research and identified the major design themes that had emerged. We have since translated these opportunities into archetypes and frameworks to inform the current phase of the project: Design Concepting.

Establishing a Framework

Leveraging the insights and observations uncovered in our contextual research, the team created a framework to help describe the various circumstances of people who are Aging in Place. Three main elder Archetypes were identified: the Independent, the Transitioner and the Struggler.

Guided by these archetypes and building upon the four key insights that emerged from our field research – Identity, Sociability, Routine and Activity – we built a framework (above) that could serve as a springboard for concept design. We also devised activities and design games that would encourage divergent thinking, and help prevent us from falling into ‘mental ruts’ in our problem solving.

Idea Concepting Phase


In our initial pass, the Aging in Place team generated over 70 original concepts that explored everything from networked garden gnomes to nostalgic, mechanical-aged objects with switches and levers. We were surprised to see that some of our best ideas emerged from relatively unassuming origins – after sharing out a rough thought, everyone around the table would add to it – each building in their own unique perspective and values. As a result, we transformed what initially seemed trite or of little interest into something more poetic or profound.


Once our creativity slackened, we looked to expand our brainstorm to an even broader group of creative by inviting the entire studio to a milk-and-cookies brainstorm session. Each frog contributed a unique point of view, often drawing on their own personal experiences and memories as many had dealt with aging parents or grandparents of their own. We all found this to be both deeply rewarding and insightful to collaborate with our colleagues in this meaningful space. This session yielded many rich ideas that we added to our existing concept sketches.


As a team, we sorted and clustered these initial concept sketches, grouping similar features and functions by likeness into 47 mega-concepts. We then created a scorecard to evaluate each concept, based on its contribution to the four key insights: estimated time to market; commerical impact; technical feasibility; how provocative or compelling we found the idea, as well as which customer archetypes and in what environments the concept could best serve. We scored each of the 47, and ranked the results. From this exercise the highest-ranking 18 concepts were selected for further development.

Developing Concepts

Based on the results of the scoring exercise we selected the highest-ranking 18 concepts to be made into concept cards that would clearly illustrate the intent, value, and market landscape of the idea. We asked important questions, such as: Where does this idea fit into the care spectrum? What archetype will it best serve? In what setting would these be most applicable? Further research into each concept yielded a clearer picture of what products and services already exist, and a better understanding of how our idea might fit into the existing product landscape. Cartoons were drawn to provide graphical consistency as well as add a sense of personality to each of the ideas. Here are a few that we are most excited about:


Through research we identified that we can advocate for elders’ sense of identity – helping the elderly stay themselves as they age. These ideas championed selfhood through small assistance tools that leverage the elder’s own personality and connections.


The theme of routine was explored in ideas that help the elderly feel in control of their daily lives. Concepts in this group addressed control through gentle reminders, feedback loops and tools to empower.


Ideas centered on sociability focused on staying connected with loved ones and engaged with community through natural user interfaces and smart objects.


Ideas in the activity space concentrated on bringing the elder greater self awareness, using digital technology to inspire both mental and physical movement.

Next Steps

The team is excited about the early concepts we have designed so far. From here we are going to develop these concepts further and build the best ones into complete concepts that can be prototyped, tested and refined.

Stay tuned as we refine the concepts in our next phase of design development and early prototyping…


frog is a global design and strategy firm. We transform businesses at scale by creating systems of brand, product and service that deliver a distinctly better experience. We strive to touch hearts and move markets. Our passion is to transform ideas into realities. We partner with clients to anticipate the future, evolve organizations and advance the human experience.

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