Community for an age-friendly society

Mutual Learning Seminar on User Involvement

On October 23rd the ENGAGED Consortium held Mutual Learning Seminar in Eindhoven, Netherlands in the framework of the“Smart Health Meets Design” fair. Organised with the Action Group C2 (Development Interoperable Independent Living Solutions) of the EIP AHA, the event gathered both experts and lay persons interested in providing their views and experiences on the subject of working with users (older persons, persons with disabilities, formal and informal carers) and of involving them in the research and decision- making process.

Stakeholders representing the users, experts, local and regional authorities are welcome to join an afternoon session on good practices in user involvement, and on guidance for understanding the needs and concerns of users and exploit the methodologies for working effectively and genuinely with them.

The event raised an interesting discussion around barriers and benefits related to the involvement of the direct beneficiaries in project related activities, in research debates and in public decision-making processes.

Three interactive tables enabled the 40 participants to discuss toolkits and guidance to user empowerment in a very friendly and open atmosphere. Attendees also offered their inputs for a better understanding of the contributions of users in every kind of social dialogue and structured process.It was immediately clear that user involvement is at the heart of all debates, no matter at what level. It was stated unanimously that engaging with different stakeholders can be a real challenge that needs concrete efforts to be tackled genuinely. Yet engagement is always worth it. Very practically speaking, it represents a sure gain, especially in terms of user acceptance and awareness.