Launched by Nesta and the Observer in 2012 The New Radicals list showcases 50 radical thinking individuals and organisations changing the UK for the better.
Every two years Nesta and the Observer put out a call for nominations and entries for individuals, organisations and initiatives from around the UK developing creative ways of tackling society’s biggest challenges.
All entries must be based in the UK and not be primarily motivated by profit. The final list of fifty is chosen by a panel of judges.
Following the publication of the list a celebration event is staged to bring the new and alumni New Radicals together.
Three of the organisations chosen for 2016 are working with older people, including Urban Sustainable Development Lab who are based in Leeds.
Urban Sustainable Development Lab
Urban Sustainable Development Lab (USDL) was commissioned by the city of Leeds to develop a series of Age Friendly Smart City solutions. Using innovative tech and ethical solutions, it addresses the needs of the most vulnerable citizens in radical ways and has the vision to build vibrant, inclusive and ethical Smart Cities across the UK.
What sets USDL apart is its approach. Instead of being driven by policy or tech, the Lab defines and co-produces solutions with the community.
Taking the life-experiences of older people as a focus, issues such as social isolation or public transport can generate accessible and affordable outcomes.
Solutions can then be scaled by governments to help cities address the genuine needs of their communities, using cutting-edge technology.
USDL First Year
In its first year, USDL has produced affordable services that are now being scaled to 100,000 residents across the city. A mesh network box has been designed for older poeple to combat social isolation and trialled in a sheltered care home.
The brief was to make sense in under five minutes to the over-80s. Residents were quick both to operate the tech and to see the positive advantages for social communication.
A Great Sense of Home
Another project is Great Sense of Home, an interactive questionnaire that uses local data to help people choose where to live.
This model is not limited to Leeds: any city can run a Sustainable Development Lab and USDL promises an innovation pathway from problem statement to prototype in six months.