Lived experience at the heart of innovation

ADI calls for lived experience to be central to innovation in the field of dementia diagnostics, treatment and care. In her short interview with Novartis, Paola Barbarino highlights key areas which innovators must consider when developing their products and service, from inception, to testing and ultimately bringing them to market; and reminds us not to forget that simple innovative changes can lead to great impact.

ADI has always believed that innovation is integral in finding solutions to the truly global challenge of dementia, with innovators in this space often approaching ADI for our thoughts, experience and insights to innovative products and services. These range from immerging mobile device technologies to improve independence, through to large scale, design-led, residential innovations.

Regardless of scope or scale, our first question is always to ask about the involvement of people living with dementia, carers and family, to ensure they are at the heart of any innovation process right from the outset. If a new product or service is ever to get to market, be useful, inclusive and widely adopted, it is essential that is been co-created with those people it is intended for.



This message is at the core of a short interview with Paola Barbarino, CEO,  for a series by Novartis called Outside In(novation) and interviewed by Vreni Schoenenberger. Alongside highlighting the necessity of inclusion in innovation, Paola shed light on another key message; that high impact innovation can come through the simplest of routes. As an example Paola spoke of the opportunity for GPs and audiologists to drive a campaign for the proactive intervention of hearing aids, to tackle one of the greatest risk factors for dementia, hearing loss. ADI’s 2023 World Alzheimer Report on risk reduction, highlights this very opportunistic area, that really requires an innovative, business model, based on a small investment, to realise a great potential.

Many of ADI’s member associations are also very active in the innovation space. ADI member Alzheimer Netherland  is part of a group actively promoting the JAIN Challenge, which aims to build on the momentum of AI product and service innovations by offering mentorship and advice on how to take these ideas to market. Likewise, the Alzheimer Society in the United Kingdom is showcasing their steerage of the dementia specific Longitude Prize at the Krakow Global Conference in April 2024.

Innovation at home and in the community is, and should be, at the heart of development, enabling people to remain independent and engaged in the community for as long as possible. In 2020 ADI published a World Alzheimer Report titled Design, Dignity, Dementia with a companion report that showcased the incredible design innovation in residential, care and community spaces.  Technology evidently plays a key part in many innovative solutions, including artificial intelligence, the use of voice activated smart devices etc. however, the simplest of innovations can often make the biggest difference, for example transparent kitchen cupboard doors or strategically placed seating, as evidenced in the Silviabo, IKEA, Skanska dementia residential development in Stockholm, Sweden (showcased in the World Alzheimer Report).

ADI implores any innovator, who is thinking of approaching us or any of our member associations, to first consider how they can put people living with dementia, their carers and family, right at the heart of the development process, from inception, to testing and market.

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