The Elderly in the Making60 Years Ago & After


In the six-week seminar courses on Global Economics and Design Business at the Soochow University, I developed the syllabus and introduced college and master students through the basic phenomena of human behavior to an extended view of their minds and their roles as a human being in intelligently structuring the world around us. I helped them to start with data-driven self-discovery in mundane daily activities, so they could understand the digital age’s effects on human cognition, uncovered the creative potential for themselves, improved their critical thinking skills, enhanced their visual analytics and broadened their international perspectives.


Design thinking is still largely overlooked by many institutions vital to an active and trustful society.  It was right timing to engage students with this kind of training.  I gave them the design challenge concerning “The Elderly for Tomorrow” which asked them to think about themselves in 60 years and to solve the problem of the loneliness of an elderly’s life from the business point of view.  Students were divided into small groups with different roles in various domains (such as medicine, entertainment, restaurant, sport, shopping) for an empathic society.


I had interesting observations of how students “discover” ideas.  It appears that they had more improvising ideas through chatting (not sketching or writing).  When I asked them to sketch and write down their ideas on the blackboard through the small group discussion, however, most of them hesitated, unsure of what to draw and they tended to draw concrete things to illustrate one idea instead of discovering many ideas.  It is not surprising to see that many students fixated on the first idea and offered solutions using VR or AR technology (without knowing much about the user experience).