Insight#2 Ageing

Design task: getting older

Design task: getting older

Getting older is a collective experience. Whether someone is five, 20 or 80 years old – everyone gets older. Talking about aging in a new and different way, reflecting on the issue and actively shaping it offers opportunities for us as a society, for companies, and for the public sector. Design can also play a crucial role in tackling issues around aging.

Design task: getting older

In north-western Europe, the percentage of older people is on the rise. The chance of a long life with a healthy third phase of life (Third Age) and a later fourth phase of life (Fourth Age) offers potential for new approaches to education, leisure, family, and work. However, current products and services on the market hardly reflect this diversity potential. There is no widespread acceptance of inclusive design and debates about aging focus on the burden on social systems, how to defeat aging, or how care technologies can compensate for physical and cognitive limitations. On the basis of our long-term involvement in the topic of connected living and aging in applied design and international research projects, we have found that persistently negative images of aging are not sufficiently counteracted in our society.

„Talking about aging in a new and different way, reflecting on the issue and actively shaping it offers opportunities for us as a society, for companies, and for the public sector.“

Kathrina Dankl

Involve a broader public in the discourse

How can debates about aging as a collective experience that shapes the entire course of life be conducted in a more differentiated manner?


1. Open debate

We find that personal stories and perspectives of growing and becoming receive far less attention than the above topics. For example, what are the motivations of someone who has the opportunity to retire but decides to keep working? Is it the joy of work? Are there no alternative scenarios or social roles? Or are the reasons economic? A debate about new forms of aging requires a better understanding of personal views, everyday practices, ideas, values, and worldviews as well as a view of age over the course of a lifetime. By means of design, formats can be developed that support this discourse and visualize opinions and ideas (see for example MAK FUTURE LAB).


2. Develop alternatives

What do the findings of a broader discourse mean for companies and the public sector with its social, educational, or health systems? With strategic design, we use the findings of a broader discourse together with historical analyses and external change makers to develop scenarios for sustainable, resilient organizations. In co-creation workshops, plausible directions are visualised and possible strategies, visions, and services are discussed and further developed.

„In co-creation workshops, plausible directions are visualized and possible strategies, visions, and services are discussed and further developed.“

Kathrina Dankl

Studio Dankl offers workshops for companies and the public sector (e.g. cities, municipalities, regions, care or education providers) to shape the future of getting older together.

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Co-Creation Impuls


Be inspired to think transformation in a participatory way.

  • Keynote
  • 20-45 minutes
  • Q&A
  • possible in the organisation or online

The keynote communicates the added value of co-creation as a sustainable, strategic innovation tool for the public and private sector. Co-creation principles, cases and design process inspire decision makers and employees to think about transformation from a participatory perspective.

Focus content:
— Outlining the transformation of the design discipline from product design to strategic innovation tool
— Insight into co-creation principles, impact and design process
— Concrete, inspiring cases.

Target group: Employees, decision-makers and team, conference participants

Number of participants:

Co-Creation Kickoff


Learn to apply co-creation and start with a sound roadmap.

  • Workshop
  • 4 hours
  • in the organisation or at Impact Hub Vienna

The workshop is aimed at organisations that want to learn about co-creation and involve their team in decision-making processes on strategic innovations. With a focus on applied co-creation principles and methods, the workshop provides a deeper understanding of existing expertise, relevant stakeholders and first process/system/product/service prototypes as a roadmap for co-creation in your own organisation.

Focus content:
— Basic principles of co-creation
— Definition of relevant challenges from the participants' perspective
— Interactive prototyping for efficient validation of assumptions
— Start of a co-creation roadmap

Preparation for participants:
— Anecdote about challenge and success pattern
— Product, device or a production material from your field of work

Target group:
Decision-makers plus team from the public and private sector

Number of participants:
9-12 persons

Co-Creation Now


Start into the future with a Co-Creation process tailor-made for you.

  • Process design and support
  • Depending on the project, approx. 4 to 18 months

Co-creation is contextual and situational, so no two design processes are exactly alike. From a pool of proven methods and creative processes, we put together a customised and project-dependent process. This is divided into a preparation phase in which the goal, desire or opportunity is identified, an implementation phase that covers idea generation, prototyping and implementation up to evaluation, and a post-project phase in which adaptations are made and projects are further supported.

Focus content:
— Based on a free initial consultation, offer for a tailor-made project divided into preparation phase
— implementation phase
— post-project phase

Target group:
Organisations from the public and private sector

Number of participants:
To be determined jointly for co-creation activities.

Co-Creation Ideas Ping-Pong Over Lunch


If you have lunch with artist Timotheus Tomicek and designer Kathrina Dankl, you will be served new perspectives.

  • Sparring/Exchange
  • 60 minutes
  • Q&A
  • Three centrally located venues in Vienna to choose from.

The artist, filmmaker, and photographer Timotheus Tomicek and the designer Kathrina Dankl share a long-standing tradition of occasional lunch dates. An unstructured exchange of ideas often opens up new perspectives on one’s own work. We invite project partners, customers, and other interested parties to have lunch with us. Everything else – including new perspectives – arises situationally during the conversations.

Focus content:
— Eating together
— Guest shares current topic, challenge, project idea
— Questions, reactions, perspectives, input, ideas from Timotheus and Kathrina

Target group:
Decision-makers from public and private organisations

Number of participants: 1