Ever had trouble opening a pickle jar? We tried to give undergraduate students an understanding of this problem through the eyes and hands of senior citizens! Last spring a marketing class session was devoted to a unique exercise – a relay-type race called the “Pickle Olympics” where each student donned a tie-dye jacket, translucent glasses, and clumsy gloves then attempted one of 30 challenges. Challenges included finding the proper medication on a table full of pill bottles, throwing a frisbee to a ‘grandchild’ mannequin, opening a band-aid and applying it properly, dispensing a precise amount of water using a measuring cup, … and the finale, of course, required them to open a pickle jar with their large gloves already smeared with hand lotion!
The learning objective of the Pickle Olympics was to develop a sense of empathy among the students and help them discover new product ideas and innovations for the senior market not considered before. A student’s experience with everyday activities is very different from an elderly person’s, mainly due to differences in physical strength, vision, and mobility. The students came away from this experience with a fresh perspective – and a long list of new product ideas designed to assist senior consumers with everyday hassles!
Have you tried something like this with students? We’d like to hear about it!