AAL Forum 2021 Blog


Interactive workshops at the forum: Theme 4

The AAL Forum 2019 is now just five weeks away, and today we will be giving you another taster of some of the interactive workshops that will be taking place over the course of the event.

As the format of the AAL Forum has evolved over the last decade, its emphasis on interactivity has increased. The workshops that are held each year represent the pinnacle of this focus on sharing knowledge, best practice and experiences, and this year’s selection of sessions promises to be one of the best we’ve ever put together.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be talking you through the workshops that we have organised for the AAL Forum 2019, which have been grouped together according to theme. This week we are taking a look at the workshops that address our fourth theme,  “Overcoming market barriers in the Silver Economy – Can we create better conditions for SMEs?”.

See our full programme of workshops

Born in Flanders – Raised to support global ageing 

Tuesday 24 September


In this interactive workshop, speakers with key roles in areas of ‘idea over concept’ and ‘solution to market’ will discuss how they work in the Flemish ecosystem of active and assisted living to help grow and develop ideas into market-ready products or services.

Central to the Flemish innovation approach is the cooperation between SMEs and other complementary stakeholders. This is aimed at integrating entrepreneurship, scientific knowledge, end user engagement and customer expectations. Due to a limited internal market, Flemish SMEs are also forced to focus on internationalisation within their business model quicker than usual.

Participants can expect to come away achieving two complementary goals. The first will be sharing best practices that have been developed in Flanders related to living labs, local and regional networking, and how to support entrepreneurs and SMEs in developing active and assisted living technologies. The second will take the format of ‘future sketching’, where the audience will define for themselves what a similar approach might look like in their region – what might be missing and/or what strengths or challenges they might face.

How do we attract big private & public buyers to the AAL solutions?

Wednesday 25 September


Looking at past AAL projects, this workshop will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of projects with particular attention paid to their commercial success and why they might not be attracting investment or clients in the form of public administrators, telecare and homecare agencies for example.

More has been done to work closely with older users and organisations to include their opinions, needs and interests in the co-creation of AAL products and services. However, we believe that more can still be done. Participants will actively be involved in helping answer some critical questions related to this topic, including:

  • How do we improve the success of AAL projects in the market?
  • Should startups be the natural leaders of the projects?
  • What can we do with failed-in-market AAL projects, and how can we take advantage of them?
  • Should we build a powerful and active ecosystem around the silver economy from the AAL Programme and how would we attract important external stakeholders to this ecosystem?
  • Why are natural investors of AAL solutions often not in AAL and how can we engage with them in order to improve the market success of the whole AAL community?

Turning an AAL project into a successful business case: Experiences from SMEs in AAL projects 

Wednesday 25 September


Even though promising technologies and services are being developed during AAL projects, this does not automatically lead to successful products that appear on the market. In addition, adoption rates might be low in the end and scalability is difficult, but what else besides writing a good business plan is of importance?

In this workshop, the essential steps in developing and executing a good business plan will be mentioned and in-depth insights shared about experiences and lessons learned from the past, both failures and success stories. SMEs Sensara, Tinybots and ASCOM are will share their experiences. Together with the participants, insights on essential conditions will be discussed and enriched; from the development of an idea to the final product that will be marketed. There will be a special focus on the relationship with end-users, the broader public, care organisations and other stakeholders like insurance companies and municipalities.

Municipalities fostering the implementation of ICT solutions: Success case of Riga City Hall and Senior Group 

Wednesday 25 September


In this interactive workshop, PME Senior Care Operators will work with participants to put together guidelines and standards that enable a variety of solutions to be easily combined for communication between ICT developers, municipalities and social care operators.

The positive experience of Riga City Hall and Senior Group will be shared with the group, as an alternative to traditional recommended innovative public procurement for ICT-based independent living solutions whilst municipalities act as public administrators.

Participants can expect to come away from this workshop with a road map for care operators and municipalities in implementing ICT solutions (based on an AAL-developed example) in the municipality. Special attention will be put in creating a list of persuasive arguments to be used by an entrepreneur to persuade municipalities to support ICT innovations.

How Northern Ireland is creating better conditions for SMEs through PCP

Wednesday 25 September


The use of pre-commercial procurement (PCP) in Northern Ireland will be showcased during this workshop, looking in particular at how it is facilitating the development of innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector and leading to better public services.

Participants can expect to learn how PCP is generating new business opportunities and a route to market for SMEs, how it is bridging the seed-funding gap experienced in many early stage companies, and how SMEs can create and retain intellectual property that will commercialized to deliver business growth.

This will be followed by a demonstration by Julie-Ann Walkden on how PCP is facilitating the development of innovative solutions that address challenges faced by the Northern Ireland healthcare sector and how it is has benefited SMEs bringing products to market. Dr Brendan Crossey, CEO of Healthcare Analytics, will further discuss experiences of using the PCP process and how collaborations with stakeholders and the public sector helped develop and deliver innovative solutions.

Innovation to market – I2M (joint session AAL/EIP on AHA) 

Wednesday 25 September


Innovation to Market (I2M) is the most recent initiative launched at European level to foster the adoption of digitally driven marketable solutions for Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA). This horizontal action is part of the European Commission strategy on the Digital Transformation of Health and Care in the Digital Single Market. I2M addresses the AHA market, exploring what types of investments are made in Europe by both public and private sector organisations and identifying the gaps between demand and supply that create barriers for sound deployment.

The goals are to implement a set of measures that could contribute to scale up solutions and explore market opportunities across the EU; to allow healthcare institutions to build their innovation capacity to drive innovation by expressing their needs and then look for solutions that fit their demand; and to ensure that market uptake would have a higher success rate by steering innovation from the demand side.

The workshop session will launch the support services provided by the I2M Plan, addressed to both buyers and solution developers, with the purpose to accelerate the adoption of suitable AHA solutions. Among those services, special attention will be paid to the eHealth Hub platform as a tool to identify different AHA stakeholders as well as the presentation of the ways to engage in the forthcoming Matchmaking Session and the Call for Adoption Awards.

The overall objective of the workshop is to foster the identification of unmet needs from the demand organisations while providing participants with a better understanding of current opportunities – both those available in 2019 and those forthcoming in 2020 – and actionable tools to select the most suitable ones to address those needs.