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Dating Grey

Understanding Dating for 65 and Over

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

- Henry Ford*

* Apparently, there is no direct evidence that Ford ever actually said this...

GENERATIVE RESEARCH

Generative Research uncovers latent knowledge within a user population, like seniors who date! Using creative tools to gather data, and then viewing that data through dozens of lenses, we are able to develop true insights for impactful innovation.

 

Working in collaboration with Margaux Reynolds and Shu Ou, we set out to learn more about the experience of dating for people over 65. 

KNOWLEDGE GOALS

What is their experience?

How do they see the world?

What is the motivation?

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What does it mean to search for love in the later years of life?

CREATIVE TOOL KIT

We modified three traditional generative tools: The Timeline, Dixit Cards, and The Pile Sort. 

Timeline

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Dixit Deck

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Pile Sort

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SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT

With professional insight, we can better determine where our selected participants sit among a general population of their peers.

KEN SOLIN

Solin has written about boomer sex, dating, and relationships for more than a decade, and is a dating expert and columnist for The Huffington Post, AARP, About.com and Maria Shriver

PARTICIPANTS

We selected 5 participants, found through networking, online chatrooms, and social media.

"Judy"

72 Years Old

 

"I miss living with someone."
 

"Mary"

66 Years Old

 

"Just aren't many good men out there."

"Robert"

65 Years Old

 

N/A

"Alejandro"

69 Years Old

 

"I think I'm in love!"

"Steve"

72 Years Old

 

"I can't forget..."
 

GETTING TO WORK

We spent at least 1 hour with each participant, using our customized creative tools to generate deep conversations. These were recorded with video, photo, and pen and paper. 

Successfully interviewing the primary user requires us to empathize with them, actively listening to their fears and desires, not just to their words. 

ORGANIZATION

Translating data from all of our notes into a large affinity map gave us the platform from which to launch analysis according to more than a dozen themes.

ANALYSIS

Using a whiteboard, and butcher paper, we worked to make sense of the information, continually returning to our Affinity Mind Map for reminders and insights.

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APPLICATION

With a deeper understanding of the global landscape for those finding love over 65, we tackled data visualization to uncover insightful themes, patterns, and insights.

VISUALIZING DATA

This is my favorite part of any research process. Through this, latent patterns present themselves like bones in an archaeological dig. And just as the bones contain as much information as the layout in which they are found, visualized data offers clues that sheer numbers can't provide. 

PRIMARY FINDINGS

After hours spent reviewing the data, and the various analyses, we established patterns and cross-checked them with what we learned from our Subject Matter Expert.

SELF-ASSESSMENT

 

I'm old, and so are the people I'm dating. I already FEEL it, and on a date, I have to LOOK at it, too. 

 

No one wants to be reminded that we are over 70, but it's the only thing we can see. 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I really put my best foot forward but then I meet these people and they look so shlubby.

It's not whom I thought I was going to meet. 

ONE WAY ROAD

Dating today, and at this age, is EXACTLY like it was when I was a teenager, except with computers. 

You might think that by now this whole thing would have gotten just a little easier!

WAITING

 

And I never heard from him/her again. 

At this age, I can handle rejection. What I don't like is the not knowing. That's the worst part. 

NOSTALGIA

In my mind, the entire time, I kept remembering what it was like, 18 years ago, or even 40 years ago.

In the end, as great as it was, it just wasn't the same. It wasn't what I was looking for.

OUTCOMES

From our research, we arrived at a holistic and honest understanding of a tender population of people who, like anyone, just wants to find someone with whom to share the act of living. 

IN SHORT

This map symbolized the 10,000 foot view of dating for this population. Armed with our knowledge, it acts as the anchor from which we can locate and pull the deeper insights uncovered. 

SELF-ASSESSED

Dating forces seniors to face their age, personally and literally. In general, being old is regretful, loathsome, exhausting, unwanted, and burdensome.

OPPORTUNITY

Making growing old awesome! Redesign AARP's model to offer exclusive dating benefits, not just financial discounts, turning VIPs into VIOPs.

ONE-WAY IN

Seniors enter the dating pool in the same line as 20-somethings. There's no merit for experience, history, or knowledge.

OPPORTUNITY

What if Seniors could accrue "Love Capital" allowing them to enter the dating process at stages that match their "skill level"?

FIRST IMPRESSION

Senior women observe that men are poorly presented, poorly kept, and poorly behaved. Men skip emotional well-being and go straight to a search for a care-taker.

OPPORTUNITY

What if "beauty" could be regendered to actively include men, and at a younger age, teaching them to take care of themselves today in order to create a healthier tomorrow?

THE WAITING

Senior men have a tendency to ghost, while senior women are seeking and ready for authentic, face-to-face engagement.

OPPORTUNITY

Imagine a system in the senior dating space that rewarded honesty and transparency in - and after - first dates, a real-time score for the behavior of daters.

NOSTALGIA

Missed opportunities, lost loves, bygone eras, and abandoned identities color the dating experience at every step of the process.

OPPORTUNITY

How can lost loves be rekindled or reunited? Or, what support can be offered to affirm that today offers much better than yesterday.