Innovation Brief

Vincles: a Solution to Isolation

Barcelona’s initiative using new technologies to combat the isolation and loneliness of the elderly is a prime example of the city’s emphasis on social innovation. The program won the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ European Mayors Challenge in 2014.


A user-friendly
digital platform

The Vincles Barcelona Care Net digital platform is a program designed for tablets and smart phones. An idea hatched up by dreamers at Imagine Express and Imagine Silicon Valley 2014, this operating system allows the user to create a collaborative trust network made up of professionals, voluntary workers, family and friends. Vincles is user-friendly technology providing the elderly and disabled with greater independence and security.

Solving the problem
of isolation

Loneliness and isolation are two of the many challenges facing modern societies. While life expectancy has increased in the developed world, this has brought with it the need to improve the quality of life of the elderly. In large cities there is less sense of community and with age, people become distanced from their neighbors, family and friends. Vincles provides an answer to these problems, using new technologies to create trust networks.

For the elderly
and isolated

The original inspiration for Vincles was the elderly and the challenges faced by an ageing population. Challenges such as isolation, loneliness and a lack of support networks. But this digital platform benefits not only the elderly but also people suffering from chronic illness and other isolating conditions. The program also helps family and friends by increasing their connectivity regardless of distance, and health workers by improving the quality of their care without increasing their workload.

Vincles won the first Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge in Europe

Barcelona-born technology
for the world

Vincles is a Barcelona-born project, directly inspired by the city’s demographics – Barcelona has over 300,000 inhabitants over the age of 65. But the phenomenon of an ageing and isolated population is far from unique to the Catalan capital. Large modern cities all over the world are faced with this problem and one of the aims of the team behind Vincles is for other cities to adopt the same program.

A project for the present
and the future

The program was officially launched in February 2015. Currently working on the prototyping phase of the project with twenty people, by October this year 200 people will be testing Vincles. Barcelona City Council, in collaboration with social partners such as the Suara Cooperative is also looking to other NGOs and private companies to come onboard and help them reach their goal of more than 20,000 Vincles users.