"Help us fix the town that doesn't care right"
This intriguing invitation launched Ruby's Bequest, a project by United Cerebral Palsy and the Institute for the Future to create the first platform for public collaborative innovation in health care and caregiving.
For five weeks in the spring of 2009, participants from many backgrounds shared their stories, frustrations, and ideas. The platform that supported them was a structured website and immersive future narrative, one where a typical American city at the beginning of the 21st century is forced into a process of civic soul searching when their ability to care for each other is suddenly thrown into doubt.
The analysis from this public interaction is summarized in a report outlining seven strategies to create the future of caregiving as catalyzed by the stories and ideas of Ruby's Bequest participants:
- Tap into broad community engagement to fill in service gaps
- "Unbundle" traditional volunteer opportunities into groups of people and niches of time
- Rethink incentives for the networked age
- Create open technologies and engage people in collaborative co-creation
- Translate emerging data into persuasive stories
- Look for innovations across domains—not just within caregiving and volunteering
- Expand "caregiving" to engage everyone who cares about the future of their community
But these strategies are hardly limited to caregiving—Ruby's Bequest participants soon realized the mounting challenges to caregiving are inextricable from challenges facing health care systems, civic engagement, volunteering, and declining cities.
This report also pulls back the curtain on the process of creating the Ruby's Bequest experience and the potential for narrative to engage broad publics in collaborative innovation at all scales.