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Inspired: Movie theaters, senior living, and farmers embrace technology to foster community

Seniors who met through a virtual community take in a movie together

Seniors who met through a virtual community take in a movie together

It’s exciting to see a plethora of companies across industries scooping up new technology and innovating to grow and enhance a sense of community. Here are some of my favorite recent examples:

Subscriptions
For a long time I’ve wanted a subscription to a movie theater that would give me unlimited access to one of my favorite pastimes. I came up with all kinds of ideas why this wasn’t possible – impossible to predict when / if a movie time was sold out, crowd control, and the question of profitability all came to mind. Much to my surprise, and delight!, AMC Theaters is giving it a go with MoviePass. Starting in Boston and Denver, the movie chain will offer a movie-a-day subscription for $35 – $45. I can’t wait for them to get to my city. With my movie going habit, this subscription will be well worth it. Of course the chain hopes that this type of program will lure people out of their comfy homes and back into the immersive world of big screens. I hope so, too!

The sharing economy
We have a number of services that allow us to share durable goods such as cars, lawn equipment, and power tools. But what about delicious, local, and healthy perishables? Is there a way to reinvent the barter system of food among farmers so common in the markets of a long ago age? Crop swaps are popping up from the Bay Area to New Haven, and they’re growing in popularity. Coordinating events online, farmers, professionals and hobbyists, swap their homegrown goodies, stories, and tips, and delight in a homemade life.

Senior living
If the idea of a nursing home or a retirement community makes you cringe, you’re not alone. Now that so many seniors are healthier much further into their golden years, they want to stay in their homes. But they also want companionship and purposeful ways to spend their time. Enter Virtual Villages—robust online spaces that have a relatively low yearly membership fee for seniors to meet other seniors who are interested in getting together in the real world, to get advice, and to find resources that can help with tasks like walking the dog, getting the gutters cleaned, and weeding the garden.

These examples provide ways to think about technology, new and not so new, as a means to build community, drive revenue, and delight customers. Technology is a catalyst for change. With insight and the genuine desire to serve, it can be used as a force for good for all.

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