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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Meet the winners of the €50,000 Smart Ageing Prize

KOMP, a one-button computer designed to make communication between all generations simple, has taken first place in our Smart Ageing Prize, winning €35,000.

Aiming to make smarter and better-connected neighborhoods through better community data, PlaceCal came away with the second place prize of €10,000 and Refresh by How Do I? came in third place, winning €5,000 for a mobile app and content creation platform designed to build confidence and support independence for those with memory loss.

A collaboration between the Active and Assistive Living (AAL) Programme and Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, the Smart Ageing Prize recognises the issue of social isolation and loneliness among older adults, seeking digital technologies that facilitate real world interactions to improve quality of life, while ensuring they are designed and promoted appropriately for the aspirations of these consumer groups.

“We were looking for ideas that could really enhance the quality of someone’s social life – whether that be from their home or supporting them to get out and about," said Constance Agyeman, Head of International Development and Communities in the Challenge Prize Centre. "We have seen an incredible breadth of ideas. The most powerful ones were the simplest and user friendly – ideas that focused on connecting people and the world around them. We hope the Prize will allow the innovators to connect more of our ageing population across the globe.”

The winners were announced at the AAL Forum after five finalist teams had the opportunity to pitch their aspirational and innovative projects on stage. Marco Carulli of AAL also said: “As global research suggests​, ​supporting​ ​older​ ​people​ ​to​ ​participate​ ​fully​ ​in​ ​social​ ​life​ ​can help​ ​them​ remain​ ​active​ ​and​ ​healthy​ ​for​ ​longer​."

Digital​ ​technologies​ have the potential to act​ ​as​ ​a​ ​broker​ ​for stimulating​ ​social​ ​experiences​ ​that​ ​improve​ ​wellbeing, and the Smart Ageing Prize is incentivising and supporting entrepreneurs to reach more people and change lives for the better

Marco Carulli

With KOMP, family and friends can share photos, messages, and make video calls. KOMP does not replace physical meetings, but it makes the time between them feel a little shorter. An unlimited number of family members can be invited to share moments through the KOMP app, giving every generation in the family the opportunity to participate. is developed with and for seniors (75+) with little to no technological competence. That is why KOMP has a high contrast screen, no touchscreen, a loud audio connection and only one button.

“Winning the Smart Aging Price is truly exciting, and I believe everyone involved in creating KOMP, from users and partners to team members, are proud of this acknowledgement," said Cathrine Karlson, Head of EU, No isolation. "For us, innovation is about the thrill of making a positive contribution - of solving someone’s problem. Receiving the Smart Ageing Prize enables us to put social isolation and loneliness on the agenda, and through the AAL network reach beyond our known waters making KOMP available across Europe.”

PlaceCal is a partnership of community organisations, charities, social housing providers, government services, health providers, and citizens, working together to improve the quality, quantity and accessibility of community data to make smarter and better-connected neighborhoods that work for everyone. It’s especially aimed at helping people find out about the small local events that can be hard to discover: the coffee mornings, sewing groups, computer classes and gardening groups that might be just around the corner. PlaceCal is a website, but it’s also a conduit for event information that’s turned into posters, flyers, brochures, and local TV and radio broadcasts.

We need to work together to improve the quality, quantity and accessibility of community data to make smarter and better-connected neighborhoods that work for everyone," explained Stefan White, Professor of Architecture (Manchester School of Architecture), from PlaceCal.

We need to find a way to have our social resources valued in the UK and to do this we need to start joining up the fragmented programmes. The Smart Ageing Prize will help us make some of these transformations.

Stefan White

Refresh by How Do I? is a mobile app and content creation platform designed to build confidence and support those with memory loss to live, work and socialise more independently, using step-by-step videos accessed at the touch of a mobile device. Users record videos through the platform, which are vetted before being uploaded. Easily identifiable NFC (Near Field Communication) stickers link step-by-step video to the appropriate location through the app and a mobile device. Alternatively, video content can be linked to a calendar to support routines and social engagement.

Taryl Law, COO and co-founder of How Do I? said: “Being part of the Smart Ageing Prize has given us access to high-calibre experts and advisors, and we've learned a lot from the other finalists as well. We're honoured to have placed in such a strong field and are so pleased to receive this vote of confidence from the judging panel.”

As digital innovation is at the heart of the Smart Ageing Prize, the teams awarded yesterday have the potential to change lives for the better.


Emma Renowden

Emma Renowden

Emma Renowden

Assistant Programme Manager

Emma was an Assistant Programme Manager working in the Challenge Prize Centre, supporting the delivery of a number of prizes, including the Mobility Unlimited Challenge.

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