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Maker Camp: Two days to innovate for the elderly

Maker camp… Despite the military connotations of the name, ‘Maker Camp’ is actually an attempt to offer our students a new teaching method over a short, intensive period of time with a view to fostering innovation.
Also a bit like a hackathon, under the supervision of five coaches, our first-year students together with management students from Y SCHOOLS’s SCBS had two days to understand and assimilate the ‘maker culture’.

But what is ‘maker culture’?

It is essentially a DIY (do-it-yourself) movement focusing on co-creation and use of technology.
The purpose of this kind of teaching approach is to invite students from different courses and backgrounds to work together to make and design on their own, while learning and assimilating production tools.

A topical issue: seniors

An ever-present social issue, growing old and its challenges raise concerns, and the silver economy dedicated to our ageing populations offers prospects to this target group. But although this is a generic issue, the challenges posed by population ageing can be quite unique and stem from seniors’ individual perceptions.

From idea to project

A preliminary ‘design thinking’ stage helped students examine and reveal an issue relating to the elderly, revolving around notions of isolation, safety and pain. They then needed to come up with a pragmatic solution – an innovative idea that could be realised and prototyped by themselves.
This innovation had to be human-centric, incorporating the needs of users, but also the technological aspects and potential for economic success on the market.
Barely two hours of brainstorming, and it was already time for the pitch. They had to present a mood board offering a comprehensive overview of what interested them about the topic by selecting five representative keywords on which to build the project.
Then on to the ‘maker’ part using simple tools and materials (e.g. paper, sticky tape, cardboard, glue, wood, string, etc.) made available to design a preliminary mock-up/prototype and experiment with Makey Makey to come up with interactive devices.
On day two, it was a whole other ball game, focusing on the feasibility of the project and getting it to market. Which market though, for the product/service? with preparation of a sales pitch and the final presentation.

A successful outcome

48 hours of contemplation saw the emergence of bold projects of all kinds: the cannapluie (an umbrella/self-defence stick combo), a senior club 4.0, a dressing aid, a post-mortem service, a memory game, tutorials created by and for the elderly…
And the winners were… Three projects particularly impressed the judges:
The manette du maker: a seniors-friendly ergonomic game controller for intergenerational recreational enjoyment.
The kit de vaisselle modulable: modular kitchen utensils or that can be assembled by people suffering from arthritis.
O’potager: a collaborative vegetable garden run by seniors to promote physical activity and create social bonds.

Two days of proactive, collaborative learning helped all the students – whether they were designers or managers – learn to co-create in multidisciplinary teams, just like they will need to do in the workforce.

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Campus Saint-Martin
13 boulevard Henri Barbusse
10000 Troyes
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