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From 2008 to the end of 2016, the Independent Living Network (IL-NW) gave organisations from German-speaking countries a chance to discuss the issues of independent living and active and assisted living (AAL). It encouraged various stakeholders and disciplines to apply a degree of forethought and lateral thinking to a range of converging issues including research, health and social provision, property and finance, welfare associations and service providers, senior citizens, and IT/technology. The network was founded in 2008 by the University of St. Gallen and was run by Careum Research from 2015. The Independent Living Network met twice a year at a two-day workshop. A total of 15 workshops were held, and these provided fertile ground for a wide range of exciting projects and collaborations.

Uberisation of care

The last workshop in autumn 2016 focused on the “Uberisation of care and support”. Uber taxis and Airbnb have long been a fact of life, with people ordering an Uber taxi on the spur of the moment or booking their holiday flat online. And the principle behind these digital matching businesses has also reached the areas of assistance, support and care. The members of the network all agreed how important it was to identify at an early stage the opportunities and risks the platform economy presented in terms of social and health care and understand the possible impact. The workshop produced a mission paper (in german), which was also published as an article (in german) in the Swiss trade magazine Krankenpflege. In collaboration with Careum Continuing Education, an evening event was also held on 21 June 2017, which asked “Is the Uber and Airbnb Principle Taking over Care Provision?”.

Director and sounding board

Richard Züsli was the Director of the Independent Living Network until December 2016. He was supported by a sounding board made up of Prof. Dr. Andrea Kofler (Zurich University of Applied Sciences, ZHAW), Prof. Dr. Ing. Christophe Kunze (Furtwangen University) and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Otto (Head of Careum Research).

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