Rapid cycle innovation to scale Aging Mastery Program

Rapid cycle innovation to scale Aging Mastery Program

Posted on April 28, 2015 by Deborah Gauvreau, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

Extending change and impact beyond a single act of philanthropy is a basic intention of The Patterson Foundation’s approach. When the National Council on Aging (NCOA) shared a new initiative to help older adults age well, the opportunity for an expanded collaborative engagement with NCOA was a chance to build upon an existing relationship.

The Patterson Foundation and NCOA previously worked together around the Self Management Alliance. NCOA was already vetted as an organization that shared key tenets and qualities necessary for successful partnership work. The organization's bold mission is to “improve the lives of millions of older adults.” With the leadership of James Firman, president and CEO of NCOA, the organization has already achieved a profound social impact through programs such as its Economic Security Initiative, its Center for Benefits Access, its National Falls Prevention Resource Center, and much more.

NCOA is seeking to improve health and reduce disability through greater access to proven community-based and online programs and enhancing capacity of adults to live independently in communities. To contribute to the fulfillment of these outcomes, NCOA developed a program to achieve these results: Aging Mastery Program® . Their goal is to reach more than 5 million older adults by 2020 through a nationwide network of local programs and online resources.

What is Aging Mastery Program® (AMP)?

The concept of AMP is quite simple. NCOA identifies and curates the best possible content into a core curriculum embedded into a program delivered by community-based organizations by engaging older adults to improve their physical, financial, and emotional wellness.

Aspiring to take a strong core program and integrate it into hundreds of communities throughout the nation, a strategy was need to scale from a single location to hundreds of locations. Wisely, Firman and his team employed a strategy for focus, speedy and agility. They are using an approach called Rapid Cycle Innovation.

What is Rapid Cycle Innovation?

It is an innovation and market-testing process that assesses market potential for new product and service innovations simultaneously. It’s an iterative process of rapid and cyclical experiments. It’s not very linear. It is partially structured, and has more local flexibility. And last, interventions with evaluation take 4-6 months rather than years.

How does it work?

There are five basic steps: 1. Identify the changes to test 2. Implement and experiment 3. Examine data to identify impacts 4. Develop additional changes 5. Test again

Rapid Cycle Innovation has enabled NCOA to achieve a collaborative advantage with this innovation strategy. It invites funders and service providers to enhance the use a strong core program while aligning with local uniqueness leading to multiple local initiatives that are of national significance.

Why is Rapid Cycle Innovation being used to scale Aging Mastery Program®?

It is a more fluid and flexible approach to program development and growth than other traditional approaches. Rapid Cycle Innovation allows a core intervention (in this case the AMP program) with different objectives for different projects and sites and different populations.  Each project makes a unique contribution to overall knowledge and allows a local project to contribute to national significance. Learning is more cyclical than linear. And it’s fun! Service providers can be creative.

What is The Patterson Foundation's focus and interest?

Having advanced from its alpha testing in five communities in 2014, to 48 communities in early 2015, and 120 plus communities in late 2015, the goal for AMP is to a reach national scale with more than 5 million older adults by 2020. TPF’s focus is in supporting the dialogue and application of knowledge, strategic focus and business acumen to assure that along with the interest, excitement, and success, a strong business foundation supports lasting change.

To contact Deborah - dgauvreau@thepattersonfoundation.org

Join Deborah on Twitter: @DeborahGauvreau

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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