A New Term for Quarters - Is that really Necessary? Interview with Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Schildhauer

The DUCAH Forum on April 20, 2023 in the ChangeHub of the Evangelische Bank revolves in large parts around the concepts of a quarter and the "DUCAH Better Living Quarter". We asked Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Schildhauer (aka Thoschi), the initiator and Scientific Director of DUCAH, why the topic is so essential for the DUCAH cooperative.

1. The quarter concept is the focus of the upcoming DUCAH forum. Hasn't the topic already been thoroughly explored?

Thoschi (laughs): Yes and no. The topic of quarters is an important one - especially in the social economy. The concept of the quarters is based on the holistic approach of improving the living conditions of the residents in quarters. So far so good. But what exactly is a quarter? In Germany, quarters often refer to neighborhoods in certain districts or city blocks. But not always. And even among the cooperative members, we now want to work together to develop and adopt a definition of a quarter that is generally binding for DUCAH and suitable for the DUCAH innovation transfer.

2. Are the previous definitions not sufficient? Why yet another variant?

Thoschi: It is not so much about a new definition, but about one that is generally binding for DUCAH and the participating organizations. This is very important to us at DUCAH, because the Quarter is the foundation for something completely new: the "DUCAH Better Living Quarter". And here, the foundation simply has to be properly established for once. Only in this way can we all start from the same conditions.

3. That sounds exciting. Even though it's yet to be finalized at the DUCAH Forum, what is your vision of a DUCAH Better Living Quarter?

Thoschi: DUCAH was launched with the aim of enabling people to live longer, better lives, supported by social and digital innovations. However, this also requires places where these innovations, ideas and applications can be tested - and that ideally in a facility that is prepared and well integrated into a surrounding quarter. This would then characterize a DUCAH Better Living Quarter.

This can be explained quite well with a fictitious example: Let's assume a company wants to bring a new type of "fall radar" to market. In a final trial, it is to be tested under real-life conditions. And this is exactly what a classified DUCAH Better Living Quarter lends itself to. Here the seniors are prepared and open for new things, here the relatives are highly pleased about the advanced care of their relatives, the nursing staff is also prepared and pre-informed about this new device. Well informed, everyone is very keen to try out things that make everyday life and work easier. And last but not least, the care organization is pleased that it can use a modern and future-oriented solution and thus market itself even better as a social enterprise. Finally, the scientific monitoring and preparation of the quarter by DUCAH is ensured. Ethical questions have also been clarified in advance.

On the one hand, it is a matter of the corresponding facility being classified in advance and, in particular, of the integration of the facility in the surrounding quarter. Therefore, in the fictitious case described here, the fall radar could also be installed in the village store, the pharmacy or in the park. A real win-win situation for all involved. The local people benefit from an innovation that makes their lives "better" and safer . The care provider uses innovative solutions and thus gains a competitive edge, and the company offering the radar gets valid research and test results very quickly and easily, which they would not otherwise get in this form.

At the DUCAH Forum on April 20, we will work together with participants from the DUCAH network on the parameters that ultimately make up a DUCAH Better Living Quarter and how such a classification can take place.

Personally, I am already very excited and looking forward to the result. With the DUCAH Better Living Quarters, we are creating an important prerequisite in Germany for digital and social innovations to reach residents, caregivers and doctors more quickly and in a people-centric manner, and to be used in a way that benefits them.