Grey but Mobile

The Grey but Mobile project focusses on 'Enhanced Care Service through Improved Mobility for Elderly People' (Grey but Mobile) by improving care-related mobility services for the elderly supporting independent living and social connectivity. Especially, the quantitative and qualitative effects of these proposed services have to contribute to the improved health of the elderly as well as to the economic efficiency of care.


Our society is aging at a tremendous pace. The aging of society is a global trend that is most prevalent in today’s developed countries. This development presents interesting challenges and opportunities for the development of products, services and product service systems. One of the challenges that our society faces is how to create appealing technical products, systems and related services for people over 65 to support their independent living. This challenge is an opportunity in itself; in the Netherlands, there are more than three-quarters of 65 to 74-year-olds accessing the Internet every day in 2014 according Center for Statistics Netherlands (CBS - Statistics Netherlands, 2015). In general, people will be motivated to use any products and services that support them in being independent. However, creating these products and services in such a way that they will appeal to people over 65 can be very challenging.

The likeliness of impairments that affect mobility is increasing with age. For people above the age of 65 it is a challenge to maintain their daily use of public transportation. A research report by the European Metropolitan Transport Authorities (EMTA) and Rupprecht Consult in 2007 suggested that in the Netherlands, the need to use the public transportation system for longer distances for this age group increases due to the decrease in ownership of driving licenses and a decrease in the capabilities to ride a bicycle. The Grey but Mobile project was particularly interesting in creating product service systems to improve the mobility of elderly people. Mobility contributes largely to the independent living of elderly people. Improving mobility of elderly people can help to improve their social and physical welbeing.

Human-centered design thinking approach

How to design product service system concepts for care related mobility services was the design research challenge we faced in this project. This challenge calls for a better understanding of end users and more specifically of their needs, values and desires by the stakeholder network. On the other hand, stakeholders need to shift from traditional ways of doing business by focusing on product performances, marketing and sales only to a new way of doing business by focusing on the entire user experience that is delivered through diverse innovative channels and touch points, thereby introducing the need for changing business models, collaboration with other stakeholders and re-configuring the business processes and infrastructures. This project followed the design thinking approach; an open problem-solving process with a human-centered approach, and methods such as co-creation and diverse probing techniques (cultural probes, technology probe) were applied.


Design Academy Eindhoven, University of Twente, Roessingh Research and Development, Indes, Connexxion, Zuidzorg, Tellens, and Divaco.


This project was funded by the Creative Industry Scientific Programme (CRISP). CRISP is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.


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