On Tuesday 19th of May 2015 the European FP7 Project INNOVAGE organised the third and last Forum on Social Innovations for Healthy and Active Life Expectancy. The event was held at the Intercontinental Hotel of Bucharest, Romania, and was chaired by Professor Vappu Taipale. The Forum had four main aims: examine the outputs from the project in their last few months and identify routes to maximise impact, understand the context in which each of our social innovations operates, explore the potential routes for sustaining our social innovations, and explore the challenges of social innovation in the New Member States of the EU. In order to do so, it counted with several presentations on Social Innovations that flourished both under the Innovage Project as well as through other non-related programmes such as the already consolidated CASE Initiative (Centre for Ageing and Supportive Environments) from the Lund University of Sweden, or the forthcoming CAMI Project (Artificial intelligent ecosystem for self-management and sustainable quality of life in AAL) on the University Politehnica of Bucharest.
Besides from the Project and Initiative’s presentations, the Forum focused very much on evaluation and discussion of four main Social Innovations for HLE and AHA: user-driven housing for older people, ICT based social-support for carers of older people, improvement of obesity-related outcomes in old age, and long-term care in motion. In order to go through the debate several academic and non-academic experts on the topics were invited to the Forum. As the main conclusions in relation with the SIforAGE - while looking forward to the publication of the Innovage Forum Conclusions -, we may highlight three key ideas: “intelligent information technologies applied to housing need to go further than compiling data and avoiding intrusiveness; they need to be about semantics. It should be about ambient intelligence technologies” (Adina Magda Florea, University Politehnica of Bucharest, Romania); we need to be aware of the complexity of the issue of housing: we might focus on one single aspect, but when doing so we need to be aware that we are not focusing on the whole picture. That’s why choosing a house implies considering not only each one’s functional capabilities but many other factors such as the environmental barriers of the area, the social network at place, etc. The Research/Study circles appear to be a really useful technology to define those categories” (Susanne Iwarson, Lund University); Social Innovation is used as a non-clearly defined concept, which makes harder the before-after evaluation of the initiatives that may rise under its scope. An effort needs to be done to articulate the heterogeneity of the research contexts in Europe in order to being able of measuring the outcomes on Standardised terms” (Carol Jagger, University of Newcastle). Definitively, project’s such as INNOVAGE, in close contact with the SIforAGE Project, are an amazing effort to deal with the Society for All Ages on an inclusive and effective manner, which, as Professor Alan Walker underlined, requires a proper SiS Definition.