Pass The Line

A concept to prevent elderly from social isolation by keeping them engaged in society. Pass The Line brings together three generations of neighbours – students, adolescents and elderly – through the medium of a dog.



Lokaal+ is a community centre for elderly that provides activities like cooking, fitness and bingo for relatively low prices. Apart from those intramural activities, they offer extramural home care, including chores, groceries or just company. At the same time, Lokaal+ is a internship n opportunity for care students. Ranging from level 1 students without any experience or education to level 4 students who will be social workers, they gain experience with elderly care in and outside a controlled environment. During multiple exploratory visits it became clear that not all students were satisfied with the internship. ‘Not really challenging’. The students did not feel to be taken seriously by the supervisors and especially the level 3 and 4 students were given too little responsibility.

Our goal is a design that enables sharing experiences – general wisdom, state of well-being or feedback on care. To arrive there we would long-term co-create and end up with a solution that is widely applicable and focused on technology.

Within that vision I defined my direction. Solution can be found in improving one’s self-image and encouraging contact. On the students side, there are opportunities to give the better students more responsibility. My goal was to address these issues: prevent seniors from isolation by improving their confidence and social contact, with the use of increased responsibility for students.



Value Proposition

Pass the line is a service that meets the needs of three user groups: elderly, students and dog keepers. Therefore, the value proposition is threefold.

Elderly The security during a walk, provided by the students, will enable elderly to expand their limits. The responsibility they get from the dog keepers increases their self-image and meaningfulness. Both factors contribute to overall confidence. Besides they can enjoy contact with animals and being in nature.

Student Walking with an elderly gives the student responsibility and a real-world learning experience. From the dog keeper they earn recognition and money. Both factors ensure confidence and security for their future situation.

Dog Keeper The walking service provides the dog keeper and the dog with some freedom in a busy life. By engaging elderly and helping students, the dog keeper will be an active participant of the neighborhood.

service system

The core of the system is a platform where dog walks are planned and each user group has its own role and tasks within the service. With those tasks they provide value for the two other user groups. In a successful run the outcome is a completed walk. At that point the value streams are exchanged.



To clarify the operation of the system, we will walk through a scenario of where persona Tom the dog keeper makes use of the service. Elderly Elizabeth is guided by student Susan.

Booking Tom walks into the living room and takes a seat. He sighs. It has been a busy day at work and all he wants is dinner, a nice glass of wine and the clean, welcoming sheets of his freshly made-up bed. As he pours himself a glass, his blonde Labrador Fang enters the room, happily wagging her tail. ‘Dear lord’, he thinks to himself. ‘If there is anything I don’t feel like doing tonight…’ Then he suddenly remembers the dog cookies he bought the other day. He quickly walks to his cupboard and searches for them. After throwing out some expired pasta sauce and mouldy rice, he finds the package with, fortunately, a few cookies left. He now digs his phone out of his pocket and opens up the Walk the Line application, and selects the ‘instant walk’ option. He fills in his address and starts to wait.

Planning The ‘Wijkleerbedrijf’ receives his request and checks for available elderly and students. One of the elderly, who was very enthusiastic the first few times she got to walk a dog with a student, was sitting on her active touch-sensitive pillow, sending a signal to the Wijkleerbedrijf, so they decide to call her to see if she wants to get some exercise. Meanwhile, Elizabeth sits on her favourite spot on the couch, happily re-thinking her life. Just as all the beautiful vacations she took and pretty nature she has seen passed the revue, her phone rings. She gets up and slowly walks towards the phone. When she picks it up, a voice asks her whether she is available for walking tonight. She quickly answers ‘Yes of course, with pleasure! I’ll be ready in ten minutes!’ and lays down the earpiece. She smiles as she thinks about the client and the dog she can make happy and the nature she will see again.

Student At the Wijkleerbedrijf, Susan confirms that she wants to walk Fang. She gets in her car, rushes to Elizabeth so she doesn’t have to wait, and drives to Tom’s. After a friendly introduction and Tom giving Elizabeth the dog cookies as a payment, Tom hands her the leash and Elizabeth and Susan, all the while cheerfully chatting with each other, start walking the dog. Tom, while cooking dinner for himself, opens up the application to check up on his dog. He sees that Fang is getting plenty of exercise, due to the old tennis ball Elizabeth brought and is satisfied with Elizabeth and Susan. After walking Fang for over thirty minutes, chatting, playing, walking through forest and graze, Susan decides it is did, and they lived happily ever after.


Business Model

The goal of the business model is to arrive at a solid concept with closed value loops. When the revenues cover the running costs, the service can run as a non-profit company This will enable the service to be independent from Lokaal+; it can be implemented in other WijkLeerBedrijven.

Mapping In the business model canvas on the right, the dog keeper (DK) and elderly (E) are both included as customers, with future developments in mind. The student is not mentioned, but has the tasks described under activities. Other aspects of the concept can be mapped on the business canvas as well.

Costs Apart from the running costs there are the investment costs. Those are not covered by the business model, but have to be invested by a third party. The investment can be recovered with a percentage of the revenue, but in the most unfavorable situation it will be recovered only after the service is fully grown. At that stage, there is an extra money flow from the elderly. (see ‘Future’ in chapter ‘Evaluation’) Especially the money parts and the partners are elaborated and play a bigger role now.