Meals On Wheels

Council on Aging

During the studio of Summer 2022, the Live Well team was tasked with evaluating the current COA Home Delivered and Congregate Meal Program and identifying pain points, opportunity areas, and service gaps. This project was created to help COA determine its strategic plan for the next five years and how it can continue to serve Cincinnati’s older adult population in an innovative and valuable way.

The Design Management Institute (DMI) is a global organization dedicated to integrating design with business, society, and the evolving world. The Awards recognize teams that have achieved exceptional value through their Design or Design Management initiatives. These accolades uniquely underscore the strategic role of Design and Design Management in driving innovation, creativity, cultural transformation, agility, and revenue growth.


Surveying Stakeholders

The Live Well team spent time understanding the current home delivered meal program and congregate meal program and benchmarked competition within the meal and grocery delivery space. We also reviewed data on the current system and counties served, sent to us by COA. The team then worked to visualize the data and information gathered during the secondary research. In addition to secondary research, we also conducted a total of 29 interviews (six COA team members, nine providers, eleven older adults, one driver, and two design researchers), observed the Meals on Wheels facility, did a ride-along with a meal delivery driver, and conducted a home delivered meal taste test within the office.

To analyze our research findings, the team created a journey map of the current system (from the produce/provider and older adult perspective) with pain points plotted along each step. And conducted an affinity mapping exercise to consolidate insights from interviews and research into topic areas for the ideation phase. We also created seven unique personas based on the older adult interviews. Finally, we used the combined insights from the research, interviews, observations, taste test, journey map, affinity mapping, and personas to make a SWOT analysis diagram.


Exploration and Framework

We focused on using insights from the journey map and pain point diagram, affinity mapping exercise, personas, and SWOT analysis to inform ideation sessions.

First, we conducted a brainwriting activity using the topic areas generated during the research phase. The concepts from brainwriting informed our final topic areas: packaging, food variety, partnerships, older adult wellness + education, and database + systems. We held two more ideation sessions before refining and plotting concepts along a near, mid, and far graph.

From here, our team did a series of refinement and iteration sessions before organizing the concepts by topic area and conducting further research on them (based on COA’s level of interest). We concluded this phase with an exploration into a packaging example and creating the initial framework for the database.


Testing Effectiveness and Future Planning

The team collected feedback on the concepts from ten older adults and the COA team. This input was used to add more detail and refine the existing ideas. The concepts expanded upon during this phase were local partnerships (with chefs, restaurants, farms, and grocery stores), Energy Meal Packs, food truck services, provider/partner/older adult summit, meal companion, delivery strategy, Meals & More program, packaging, and overall systems. Each concept was outlined in the implementation strategy document.

The team also created several system maps and diagrams explaining the new system and all services included under the Meals & More name. Three additional documents were created outlining the Meals & More Program, proposed summit, and research links for future reference. Discussions with COA lead to the idea to host a summit that would bring together local voices and experts to ideate with the COA team and COA providers. This summit will then inform further partnerships and the expansion of this semester’s concepts.

Work With Us

Experience our design thinking process by becoming a partner, accepting a cooperative learning position, or participating in one of our user-centered research sessions.

As a Partner

Are you looking for design solutions? Join the Live Well team as a partner to run studios that match your unique design needs.

Learn More
As a Faculty Advisor or Co-op

Push ideas and methodologies learned in the classroom to new levels by working directly with stakeholders and partners, from the research phase to final outputs.

Learn More
As a Research Fellow

Fellowship at the Live Well provides an unmatched opportunity to advance your career goals and design skillset through growth and leadership.

Learn More