Why co-create the future of aging?
Technology could do more
For a technologist today, there is a feeling that almost any product you can conceptualize can be developed, thanks to astonishing advances in communications, computing power, robotics, 3D printing and other futuristic technologies. As yet, we don't think people have done a very good job of leveraging these advances to make products and services that improve the quality of life of people as they age. We want to help change that.
With yesterday's supercomputer now packed into the form factor of a phone; processing power doubling every 18 months; robot vacuum cleaners in millions of homes; and advances like 3D printing making cheap custom prototyping available at home, it becomes quite hard to dream up a new idea that seems "impossible". It's often just a matter of time and money, and whether the result justifies the resources.
And with respect to aging, there is no shortage of problems that need solving. Whether it's fall prevention technology; ways to avoid social isolation; techniques to avoid being stuck at home when you can't drive anymore, many people around the world need help. Our Explorer circles are already surfacing many meaty problems that need solving, and a handful of interesting potential solutions. And so far we are just scratching the surface.
A great example
Solving the problem of eating with tremor. (We had no role in developing this. We wish we did though.)
We want to be useful
Society seems to have decided that once people pass some arbitrary age (eg 65) they are good only for a life of leisure or of volunteerism. Yet with people living well into their 80's and 90's, many of us want to continue to create and be useful to society well past the age of 65. The Longevity Explorers is designed to make that possible.
While some people may have lost a few steps compared to how they were in their prime, for many of us, this slowing down is more than offset by the accumulated experience and wisdom of a lifetime. It seems a waste not to take advantage of this amazing talent pool.
Need different engagement model
Perhaps we don't want a conventional full time job anymore. But we sure would like to have the meaning and sense of purpose that accompanies deep involvement in an activity that adds value to society.
And maybe we would like to feel our work is valuable enough that we should get paid for it. After all, that is how our society keeps score, and measures the value of things.
Let's do it
We are finding a lot of people feel like this, and that this represents a gold mine of untapped potential. We hope to leverage this vast pool of underutilized talent to make a positive impact on society, while:
- giving people back their sense of purpose;
- giving them a new cause they can identify with; and, if we are successful,
- opening up a new income stream for them.
Roles for everyone
The thing about getting older is that it happens to everyone. This is important because it means that almost everyone we meet could add value to our movement if they wished. You don't need to be "old". You don't need to be a technologist. You just need to have interest and enthusiasm and the desire to make a difference to the quality of life we will all experience as we grow older.
A critical first step in solving the challenges of aging is identifying real problems that need to be solved. The only qualification needed to take part in this part of our work is to have personal first hand experience of aging. Either yourself, or from watching a loved one growing older.
Evaluate what exists today
After problem identification, one needs to learn what exists now, and what works for which types of people. This requires some more specialized background, or first hand experience trying out existing solutions to solve a problem you have.
Conceptualize new solutions
Anyone can have a good idea. But until now, there was noone to tell and no way to turn it into reality.
Create new products and services
This is more specialized and we are convening "Maker teams" with the right experience and interest to tackle this part.
We are calling our co-creation community the Longevity Explorers.