The Amazings

Older people with special skills are teaching the younger generation via an online marketplace


“We learn from the life experience of elders. We’re comforted by wisdom. Captivated by stories. These are special moments. Amazing, even.

The world is moving quickly and spinning ever faster towards the Next. New. Thing. But loving the new doesn’t mean neglecting the old. There’s value in knowledge that has been hard won; value in experience that has been built up over a lifetime.”

They are billed the Amazings: a band of men and women fighting against the idea that older people should go quietly towards the dying of the light. A novel enterprise aimed at ensuring the unique skills possessed by Britain’s senior citizens are not lost is poised to launch nationwide.

It is touted as an online marketplace for wisdom. Those over 50 who want to be one of the Amazings can post on the website the skills they have built up over a lifetime. It could be anything from bicycle repair to embroidery, and if enough people click to say they are interested, a class is created. Once listed, they decide a fee for their wisdom – typically about £20 for a two-hour evening class.

The social enterprise has been developed in London over the past year and will now be launched around the UK. The next location will be decided by the public. Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Cardiff are in the running.

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Adil Abrar, who founded the social business, said: “The new old don’t want to be passive receivers of public money. Older people have skills, knowledge, wisdom and time. We wanted to reimagine public services and we realised it wasn’t about what we could do for older people, but what they could provide for us.”

At 52, Judith Paris is one of the Amazings’ youngest teachers. She runs a class in making cosmetics and has the full attention of six women in their twenties and thirties who have come from across the capital. She said: “A lot of older people feel they’ve got nothing to offer, but this is a way of using everyone’s talents. I think we’ve forgotten how to mix the generations.”

Tania Roque, 22, who attended the class, said: “It’s really important that older people are valued. In advertising and everywhere else you just see young people, but this is making a merit of older people. I also think it’s great to learn to be more self-sufficient; all these skills mean you don’t have to depend on money to get someone to do something for you.”


Website link:

“We wanted to enable elders to share skills and bring generations together. But taking a step back we realised that one-off experiences wasn’t the way. The connections we were creating were too shallow. We needed to stop thinking about ourselves as a ‘nice day out’ and more about being in the business of providing education, developing skills and helping people really learn. ‘Try something old, learn something new’ – that was our new motto. This was a poster ‘made’ at our designer’s house. All items original and pre-loved.”






BOOKS TO LOOK AT, (RE:Motivation):


Bandura, Albert. 1977. Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change.

Dance, Gabriel, Tom Jackson, and Aron Pilhofer. 2009. Gauging Your Distraction. New York Times.

Dweck, Carol S. 2007. The Perils and Promises of Praise. Educational Leadership

Fogg, BJ. 2011, 2010. Behavior Model ( and Behavior Grid (

Mueller, Claudia M. and Carol S. Dweck. 1998. Intelligence praise can undermine motivation and performance.

Rogers, Everett M. 1962. Diffusion of Innovations. Glencoe: Free Press.

“Design For How People Learn: Design for Motivation” Julie Dirksen

“Design For How People Learn: Design for Motivation  Julie Dirksen




There are two kinds of motivation that learning designers need to consider: motivation to learn, and motivation to do.

When you hear “I know, but…,” that’s a clue that you’ll probably need to design for motivation. “I know, but…” frequently comes up when there is a delayed reward or consequence.

  • We learn from experience, but it can be a problem if we learn the wrong thing from experience.
  • Change is hard.
  • We are creatures of habit—irritating for the short-term learning curve, but potentially useful if we can help learners develop a new habit.
  • You may be able to influence your learners, but you can’t control them.
  • Learning designs should show the learners how something new is useful and easy to use.
  • Try to ensure your learners get the opportunity to observe and personally try new processes or procedures.
  • Learners need to feel a sense of self-efficacy with the new challenge or skill.
  • Use opinion leaders as examples.
  • Visceral experiences may have more impact that abstract ones, although the research on this topic is ongoing.




“Excellence in Motivation”. Kevin Stephens


““Motivation without learning is not very effective.”  “Motivation without learning; you end up with energized incompetence. And similarly, learning without motivation you end up with inert brainpower — a stagnant brain swamp instead of a brainstorm.”

Switch. How to Change Things When Change is Hard



Switch asks the following question: Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives? The primary obstacle, say the Heaths, is a conflict that’s built into our brains. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people—employees and managers, parents and nurses—have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:

  • The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients.
  • The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping.
  • The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service.

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.



Ted Talk. Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation

Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation

How managers motivate people? Are they doing it right for the 21st century?

Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think, says social science. Rewards narrow our focus, they don’t work in abstract/ complex problems.


Candle Problem Experiment

Cognitive performance test. (Task : Attach the candle to the wall so the wax doesn’t drip.)

WHY they don’t want to learn?

school bus


Reasons They Don’t Want to Learn… and Suggestions. RON EDMONDSON