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Changing Seniors’ Lives, Three Designs at a Time

Last week, the Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge concluded with the Award Ceremony at Stanford University and the announcement of the winners for the 2018/2019 competition. This year’s theme was “Contributing at Every Age: Designing for Intergenerational Impact.” The goal of each team was to create a product that would foster interaction and contribution from multiple generations. Each team was challenged to design a product that fit three criteria:

  • Create well-designed, practical solutions that improve well-being across the lifespan by engaging teams of multiple generations
  • Encourage a new generation of students to become knowledgeable about issues associated with well-being
  • Provide promising designers with a path of driving change in the world

While there were many great entries, the judges had to pick three winners. This year’s announcement, however, came with a bit of a shock. This year, instead of a first, second, and third place winner, two teams had such exemplary entries that the panel of expert judges couldn’t decide. This meant that for the first time ever, there would be two first place winners!

Each year, the Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge gathers teams from around the world to use their knowledge in design and health to improve the lives of seniors. After two phases of narrowing down the teams into five to eight finalists, the winners are announced at an Award Ceremony hosted at Stanford University. Winners receive $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second, and $2,000 for third. This year, since there were two first grand prize winners, both teams were awarded $10,000. So, who were these teams?

First Place – So You Think You Know Your Grandma

Our first grand-prize winner was the team from UC Berkeley with So You Think You Know Your Grandma. This card game was designed to act as something of a conversation starter or ice breaker between generations. Through storytelling, younger generations would learn more about their parents and grandparents and vice versa.

By turning these generational sharing sessions into a fun game, So You Think You Know Your Grandma makes story time fun and engaging for all generations. This strengthens inter-family bonds and shows that all members of the family — no matter how old or young — have something to offer each other.

First Place – Family Room

The other first-place entry for the 2018/2019 challenge was the Stanford University team. Their entry, Family Room, also utilizes the power of storytelling as a way to connect multiple generations. The product assists families to record and share stories and histories of older family members to keep that family history alive for generations to come.

The benefit of the Family Room method is that it utilizes low-tech recording options that don’t comprise on high quality recording techniques. This creates a powerful, but easy-to-use, way for families to protect treasured memories and histories for future generations.

Third Place – Pillow Fight!

The third-place winner of the 2018/2019 Stanford Center on Longevity Design Challenge was Pillow Fight by the team from Yuan Ze University (Taiwan). Video games are incredibly popular with many younger generations, but for those that didn’t grow up with a system, the controllers needed to play the game may be complex. Pillow Fight takes a household item, a pillow, and reworked it into a game controller that’s easy and fun to use.

By simplifying the game controller, this popular pastime for multiple younger generations can become a shared activity. Imagine being able to play a video game with your grandkid by punching a pillow! Not only is this fun, it creates new memories for both the grandparent and child.


We want to take this opportunity to extend our congratulations to, not only this year’s winners, but all the contestants and finalists.

Whether you’ve received the grand prize or not, your efforts will help to improve the lives of seniors around the globe and helped accomplished the contest’s very worthy goal. You’re all winners in our books. We’re looking forward to seeing what all entrants can accomplish next year, when the theme will be “Reducing the Inequity Gap: Designing for Affordability!”