Programa + 60
Instituto Tellus

The Problem

Biblioteca de São Paulo went through a hard time with their staff. Many were discouraged and the turnover was high. With these problem, the library made a partnership with Instituto Tellus to capacitate 40 attendants. The main propose of the agreement with Instituto Tellus was to stimulate and motivate the attendants trough innovation and creativity workshops.

The Workshop was made with the goal of work tools for innovation and improvement of cultural services in the library. As a result, 40 attendants developed 6 new services for the library. Among them, a group suggested to create a special service targeted to the elderly, since this audience is growing worldwide and in Brazil.

Initially conceived by a group of attendants, the Program +60 was born.

The “Biblioteca de São Paulo”, located in the North of the city of São Paulo, instinctively noted the opportunity to create a specific program for the elderly population. Studies showed after that there were at least 32,000 seniors in the region of its surroundings with few options specific cultural services. São Paulo’s city has a population of 1.3 million elderly.
The main reason for creating the service cultural +60, an opportunity to offer a high quality in cultural services.

In Brazil there is no specific guideline that promotes equity in cultural services specific to the elderly population. This is a big problem because Brazil has 23.5 million seniors (PNAD 2011) and will be 64 million according to the projections for 2050 (IBGE). So the Library has created a reference service that can be replicated by various cultural organizations in Brazilian.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The solution was the implementation “Programa +60”: a set of cultural services offered to the public with over 60 years of age by the “Biblioteca de São Paulo”.

The goal of the program is to increase the wellbeing of people over 60’s, strengthen their role in society, giving a new meaning to aging and enhance the positive points of this stage of life.

The program includes a schedule specifically designed for this audience, a space adapted to their needs, as well as a team of attendants selected and trained for specialized care.

The implementation and development was possible through a in partnership with:

SP Leituras – A NGO of Culture that disseminate reading among general public, with special attention to handicapped, youth and seniors. Through a contract with the Secretaria da Cultura do Estado de São Paulo, SP Leituras is the managing director of Biblioteca de São Paulo.

Instituto Tellus - An NGO that help government agencies to develop and implement public services with a focus on citizens.

The period was August 2011 to July 2012 and had the involvement of 100 people, including attendants, managers, directors of the “Biblioteca de São Paulo”, SPLeituras and library’s stakeholders.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
As previously mentioned, the idea of create the “Programa + 60” came from a workshop with librarians. The direction of the library believed in this opportunity and, together with the Instituto Tellus and SP Leituras began to put into practice.
Instituto Tellus had the lead role in the process, being hired as a “consultant” who facilitated and promoted the link between library and other actors.
By having the co-creation as one of the principles which guided the program, various actors were directly and indirectly involved with the challenge, as:
- employees from different departments of the Biblioteca de São Paulo and SP Leituras;
- Agents of Parque da Juventude (Park that the library is located) and Escola Técnica (neighbor library);
- Specialists areas of knowledge (such as Gerontology, Librarianship, Geriatrics, Sociology, etc.).
- Members of Secretaria da Cultura de São Paulo
- Members of local police
- Non-governmental organizations (Projeto Velho amigo and Associação Saúde da Família);
- Private partners (Journal of the Elderly of São Paulo),
- Representatives from the surrounding communities (such as the churches, taxi drivers, local merchants)
- Nursing homes nearby (Sítio das Alamedas)
- Seniors (Biblioteca created a focus group of 6 elderly library’s members so they could create solutions and get good and quick feedback)

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The goal of the program is to increase the wellbeing of people over 60’s, strengthen their role in society, giving a new meaning to aging and enhance the positive points of this stage of life.

To achieve this mission, a 2 step plan was follow: Dive and Construction.

Together with the various stakeholders directly and indirectly involved in the challenge, research was learn difficulties, needs, and the dreams of the elderly. After diving and empathize with their reality and their challenges, the opportunities and problems were identified.

With the main problems identified, over 400 solutions were created, along with the various stakeholders. These solutions were organized, prioritized and selected to be prototyped. Prototypes were developed aiming to simple and cheap solutions, that provided fast feed-backs. After some tests improvements was incorporated to prototypes. This cycle of developing, testing and improving was repeated several times for each prototypes. Those with good results were implemented and became part of the service offered by the “Biblioteca de São Paulo”.

During the process, three principals were followed:

A-Using co-creation and collaborative processes, involving multidisciplinary teams and several agents. There was various actors directly and indirectly involved with the solutions, as employees from different departments of the Biblioteca and SPLeituras; specialists; representatives of government institutions and non-governmental; potential private partners, representatives from the surrounding communities (such as the churches, taxi drivers, local traders, etc.); people over sixty years and their families.

B – Act from the focus of the user: to create solutions that was relevant the team had to understand deeply and empathetically reality of the seniors - their needs, dreams, challenges and difficulties. Ethnographic researches were made to complement interviews with experts.

C - Working with prototypes to have solutions: the choice of working with prototype models that embody and communicate solutions could generates significant gains to test them and improve in a quick and cheap way.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The Creativity workshops occurred in August 2011. For 3 Mondays of the month, 40 attendants developed 6 new services and enhancements to the Library. One of them was “Programa +60”.
In January 2012 the project was initiated, with the step PREPARE. The goal was to connect people who would be involved and inform them the idea, the roles, agendas and the method.
A headquarters of Instituto Tellus was set up in the Library, so the work could be done in parallel to the operating activities of day-to-day library. In addition, the "Innovation Team" was composed by some library staff who had dedicated 5 hours a week.
Between February and April it was the UNDERSTANDING / WATCH stage: a long period of research to learn about the context, difficulties, needs and dreams of seniors.
Interviews with experts, elders, library staff, similar cultural agencies were made and compiled with analysis on our Blog. Conducted visits to nursing homes were important to empathize attendants for the purpose of the Project.
A highlight was the uses of an experiential outfit to public servants feel the what is like to be an elderly. These clothes simulated a number of limitations of elder people by having weights, elastic, neck brace, goggles and gloves. The experience was valuable and created a very strong connection with the purpose of developing special services for the elderly population.
The workshop of DEFINING the Challenge was in April. The initial challenge of the project was to create a cultural service for the elderly population. But after diving into studies and experiences, the team could have the real understanding of the public. From this new insight, the challenge has been redefined to create services that stimulate and promote participation of people over 60 years.
Also in April, the staff move to the stage of CREATING IDEAS. The workshop brainstorm was the big event of co-creation of the + 60. It gathered a large number and variety of participants representing various stakeholders and resulted in more than 400 ideas created.
In May, everything was organized following the library’s user journey, and 92 ideas were prioritized.
Between May and July, the team co-implement ideas with the mindset of making mistakes fast and cheap and getting the maximum learning from mistakes and successes. This was the phase of PROTOTYPING, TESTING AND INCORPORATION. During this stage the ideas became actions. Of the 92 ideas, many evolved enough and were implemented. Others have been discarded. As a final result, a set of interdependent and cohesive solutions were implemented. Not just a silver bullet single solution.
In July the “Instituto Tellus” handed Programa +60 for the library staff.
The "Innovation Team" has become the "Attendants Team +60", responsible for continuing the project internally. Between July and November the Library staff manages the program and is achieving better results.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
In the initial phase of the program many surveys, interviews and readings were conducted. A major challenge was to share all information with the extended design team (Library, Instituto Tellus and SP Leituras). To overcome this, a BLOG was made with conclusive analysis from the content. Besides having posts in text format, videos on youtube were made using the same format of Kahn’s Accademy (with 2 to 10 minutes). The Blog is confidential and it is available at:

Another major difficulty was to announce and communicate the program to the elders. This is a difficult audience, resistant to news (in both senses). So the current strategy was to form partnerships with institutions that already work with the elderly, like: SESC Santana, NGO Old Friend, Society for Family Health, Journal of the Elderly of São Paulo and the Reference Elderly Center of Santana.

In addition to the partnerships, another major difficulty was the lack of continuity of schedule programs. At the beginning of the program it was a test of what were the best time and activities to be undertaken with the elderly, implying different schedules each week. So the library staff prepared a long-term program and all activities of 2013 are already defined in the activity plan.

One difficulty that emerged after the implementation was the lack of staff ability to deal with elders. To address this barrier, a partnership was made with a health center in the region, where a specialist took the course for the entire library staff about "How to care for elderly and how to deal with the aging process". Besides the lecture for the whole team, two library staff will have in December 2012 a course about "elderly informal caregivers".

A major difficulty was to keep the leadership of the library lined with all the activities that were performed. The whole process involved co-creation in a very deep way and to let the process flow the leadership had to support the ideas co-created. For this, biweekly status meetings were held with the project team (Library, Tellus and SPLeituras).

A major barrier that was mentioned by the elderly focus group was the lack of security on the front patio of the library. In this court, a group of young people gathered noisily, smoking cigarettes and consuming alcohol. Besides the youth group, the number of burglaries increased. With this, the solution was to organize a local committee to make a partnership with the police in the region. After this meeting a police patrol began to park a police car in front patio.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
The main resource was paid by SPLeituras to hire 5 consultants of Instituto Tellus working 6 months.
The total amount is R$ 22,773.75 (or USD 10.862,22), which include the following expenses:

- Office supplies
- 3 Elderly-Simulating Outfits: weights, elastic, drawstring neck, goggles and gloves
- Video +60 ( )
- Adaptation of a special room for +60’s: special books, magnifying lens, lamps, protective rubber corners, supportive book for armchairs, alcohol gel devices, computer keyboards special accessibility, special adhesives location, bike rack

- Instituto Tellus: 5 consultants working during August 2011 and between Januray-June 2012
- Innovation Team: 5 attendants who had 4 hours per week to assist with tasks of the programa + 60 during Januray-June 2012
- Attendants Team: 4 attendants and 1 coordinator from July2012 until now

Workshops and courses held or by attendants or through partnerships. An example of a workshop held by attendants was the yoga lessons, where one of the librarians was already a yoga teacher, but never had the opportunity to teach at the library.

In the case of workshops with partnerships, the seniors interest were listed and then partners were mobilized. With “Associação Saúde da Família” was held a special workshop about "Seniors and their sexuality”. Along with the SESC Santana dance activities and an elderly “Sarau” (translate: cultural and music event done BY and FOR the elders) was made.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The initiative proved to be sustainable:

1 - Institutionalization of a team responsible for managing the Program + 60,
2 – A special 2013 budget for “Programa +60” approved and
3 - Inclusion of “Programa +60” at 2013 goals, along with the SPLeituras and Secretaria da Cultura do Estado de São Paulo.

The implementation of the program showed the importance of matrix structure within the Library. The leadership had this perception barrier and in November 2012 changed the organization to make a team of attendants leave their care activities and do the planning and communication of activities of interest to several audiences: the elderly, children, youth, and disabled students physical.

On the principles of co-creation and focus on people, an important story of a librarian translates the sustainability:

“It was really great work and it was very enriching for my professional and personal experience to see a project be created who will actually act on it. Since we know that generally receive the plans and we have to turn to make it happen.

One thing I can say now is that we appropriate the work methodology of you (cheap errors, co-create, know better the target audience) in my routine I'm even trying to listen to the ideas of team without "repelling" them (yes, it's an effort for me).” Luciana Marques

The dissemination effort was:

1- Video + 60 (

2 -Blog of knowledge management of the entire project (

3 - The case was described in a book called Libraries Notes, produced by the System of Libraries of State of São Paulo and the SPLeituras. This book will be distributed in 2013 to all libraries in the State of São Paulo (approximately 930), with 3,000 copies published

4 – A Presentation of “Programa + 60” in the International Seminar on Public Libraries and Community (

There is still the possibility of holding 10 workshops within the State of São Paulo where Instituo Tellus will teach some of the practices of “programa + 60”. These workshops will be held to an audience to librarians of different country cities and Libraries Notes will be used as lecture reference.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The Program + 60 introduces a new concept of how to make public services, seeking the delivery of high quality public service for the elderly population. Given the resource constraints of governments and the increasing demands of citizens, it guaranteed high quality of services delivered.

The involvement and contribution of various agents was a crucial point. The whole process was based in co-creation and mobilizing, making WITH them and not TO them. This translates by lots of partnerships that occurred naturally and still continues.

The initial challenge of the project was to create a cultural service for the elderly population. But after diving into studies and experiences, the team could have the real understanding of the public. From this new insight, the challenge has been redefined to create services that stimulate and promote participation of people over 60 years. This paradigm shift had its symbolic transformation from the logo of the program. Before the signs of elderly in the library had the image of an elderly man with a cane and hunchback (a pejorative image of the elderly), then it passed to a positive imprint with the image of +60.

A new concept that “programa +60” introduced was the use of Elderly-Simulating Outfits. This was very innovative because it gave the staff the opportunity to learn beyond the listening and reading. The experience led to a very strong connection and understanding of the importance to have a special cultural services for elders.
The use of prototypes allowed a greater understanding of ideas and it was a differential to offer a range of solutions. This procedure permitted rapid tests, improvement and learning. We learn by doing, with rapid failures, low cost and interaction of various parts.


Most of the attendants were touched by seeing the difficulties that elderly pass in nursing homes. For many it was the first time visiting asylums. This was an important activity to rescue the purpose of public services and fight the problem of staff’s motivation.


The Leadership comforted the attendant's team with autonomy to do what needed to be done, since the results were achieved. That made the difference to have an enthusiastic group, able to generate innovations and not an exhausted team, delivering only versions of existing ideas.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Instituto Tellus
Institution Type:   Non-Governmental Organization  
Contact Person:   Marcos Silveira
Title:   Public Manager  
Telephone/ Fax:   +55 11 38655330
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   Rua Professor João Arruda, 190, ap 102
Postal Code:   05012-000
City:   São Paulo
State/Province:   São Paulo
Country:   Brazil

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