Aged care’s important words advance the industry

6 years ago
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Category: Blog

Apart from the obvious ones, how many words starting with ‘c’ can you name in the aged care industry?
Visit the glossary of the My Aged Care website and we get: carer; client; compatibility; compassion; cancer; chronic; collaboration; charter; compliance; Commonwealth; consent; continence and counselling.

One word that’s often under-used, and one we should be all aware of, is ‘community’. Specifically – within the context of innovation in our industry – a community comprised of providers of care and support, organisations that supply products and services, relevant university centres and researchers, and age services consumer groups, to name a few.

The aged care industry is facing increasingly complex issues, namely:

  • Needing to doing more with the same—and in some instances, fewer—resources
  • Increased expectations for better quality and personalised care from older Australians and their families
  • Increased competition among providers as a result of consumer-directed care.

No single organisation can solve our industry problems by themselves, just as much as no single organisation can meet all the demands within the aged care market. This calls for collaboration, an exchange of ideas, and a multitude of perspectives.

The Nobel Prize-winning chemist, Kary Mullis, once noted that: “To invent something is to find it in what previously exists”.
Encouragingly, we have it within our industry to find solutions to these problems, and this is further enhanced by looking at external industries that have worked on similar analogous problems to ours.

KontentLabs’ recent gold partnership with innovAGEING seeks to address this with the creation of an open innovation
lab. The innovAGEING Open Lab will be a platform for collaboration, sharing ideas, and problem solving together.

The project is straightforward, and the economist Paul Romer sums it up best:
… growth occurs whenever people take resources and rearrange them in ways that make them more valuable
… Every generation has perceived the limits to growth that finite resources and undesirable side effects would pose if no new
… ideas were discovered.

Additionally, to borrow from business professor, Melissa Schilling, the open lab will create an:
… obvious pathway for acting on their ideas. Most research shows that people tend to be penalised for crossing boundaries. We discount generalists and are suspicious of people who engage in activities that seem inconsistent with their identity
… However, this is an area where there is enormous opportunity for improvement.

The Open Lab’s premise is simple; the community is the primary collective that has the best handle on the problems, and it’s the community that’s in the best position to articulate a solution.

So if you’re in care because you care, then let’s work together to harness the power of the innovAGEING community. The playwright, Henrik Ibsen, once offered that – “A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.”

The Open Lab is a call to connect, collaborate, and create a strong innovation community for aged care. Those are the all-important ‘c’ words that will invariably ‘move the needle’ for our industry. There’s no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.

Marc Niemes is Executive producer at KontentLabs, a Gold Partner of the innovAGEING network. For more information go to