Future of Aging ThinkTank
â€œFuture of Agingâ€? ThinkTank powered by:
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FOREWORD At Accelerate, Wentworth Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center, interdisciplinary engagement drives us to convene industry and academia in ideate and co-creation solutions addressing systemic large scale challenges impacting our collective futures. A sense of urgency to respond to the global rapid rise of aging populations catalyzed the November 2018 ThinkTank on the “Future of Aging”. Over 70 participants from academia and industry embraced radical collaboration and serendipitous collisions, demonstrating the value of exiting our comfort zone to interact with individuals we otherwise may never meet. Our partnership with Boston University showcased the connective tissue we can create among students, faculty, and the external world across Boston’s higher education landscape. We also partnered with the CIC, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Elder Affairs, AARP, GE, and others to bring the spirit of innovation and disruption to life. The “Future of Aging” is a topic we have to solve for today. Populations globally are aging at much higher rates. People are living longer. How can we change our mindset towards aging and how can we create a future where people live fulfilled, healthy and integrated lives across generations?
Solving these types of problems requires a unique methodology. At the ThinkTank, we intentionally remove hierarchies allowing students to work alongside industry thought leaders. The audience is curated. The event invite-only. We blur the lines across disciplines equalizing the playing field towards raw idea generation to solve real challenges. Participants drive the magic - every time. The ThinkTank can shift mindsets and approaches to services, products, and building resilient communities across generations, creating a tremendous impact. How people think about the future of aging shapes what the world will become. In the end, the human connection is at the core of what we do and how we shape the future of how we live and work. Feel free to use any and all of the materials in this booklet to advance the conversation around Aging and let us know, if we can help in any way. All the best, Dr. Monique Fuchs Associate Vice President Innovation + Entrepreneurship Wentworth Institute of Technology Founder, Accelerate
PARTNER VOICES On behalf of the entire Boston University community, it was an honor to be a part of the “Future of Aging” ThinkTank. Our methodology at Innovate@BU has always been very simple; we try to inspire, educate and connect people. The “Future of Aging” ThinkTank allows us to do all of the above by providing a unique forum for the BU family to interact with individuals from around the Boston area. Playing an active role, taking insights around a critical topic, and turning them into impactful ideas that can influence how we think about our careers and our communities is powerful. We are grateful to Accelerate for this opportunity to collaborate and hope you get the chance to use this booklet to encourage additional dialogues in your neighborhoods, schools and workplaces around the topic of Aging. Sincerely, Dr. Gerry Fine Executive Director Innovate@BU Director, EPICenter
AGENCY@CIC was envisioned as a place by bringing professionals, communities and institutions under one roof who are committed to building an age-friendly world. That is why we were thrilled to partner with Accelerate, Wentworth Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center, to connect bright minds from a variety of disciplines to design at the “Future of Aging”. It is our hope that this day served as an inspiration for participants to further explore and investigate opportunities to create new ideas that can help older adults flourish in their lives for years to come. Danielle Duplin Global Launch Director, AGENCY@CIC
CHALLENGE | FUTURE OF AGING
CONSIDERATIONS AROUND AGING Mindset Shift + Generational Perceptions Language Matters Design For Life, Not For Decline Universal Responsibility Economic Security Employment And Volunteering Opportunities Access + Mobility Senior Care And Housing Technology Integration Overall Consideration
16 18 22 24 28 29 31 36 37 41 43
FINDINGS Mapping Of Opportunity Spaces
All-Generation Environments Sans Ã€ge Living Library Co-Living + Learning Intergenerational Innovation Centers
47 50 54 58 62
Purpose Lucy On Demand Mobile Companion Storytelling + Inspiration Time Travel Bus Magic Wand Storytelling Bench
65 68 72 75 78 82 86
METHODOLOGY Converging Disciplines Big to Small | Scenarios to Solutions Design Thinking FINAL THOUGHTS Where Do We Go From Here Taking it to the Next Level
PEOPLE Speakers Participants Graphic Facilitator Facilitators ThinkTank Team Content Contributor Organizing Team
90 92 97 101 108 110 114
116 123 125 126 130 141 144
â€œOne of the challenges in our world is that we seldom have the opportunity to come together and connect with people who might also be thinking about the issue of aging. This ThinkTank gives us the chance to have important conversations with people who really care about the future of aging and what it means for society.â€? - Gabriel Mugar Design Researcher IDEO
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY On November 3, 2018, Accelerate, Wentworth Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center, convened the “Future of Aging” ThinkTank at the CIC Boston.
across the Boston innovation ecosystem, including healthcare, senior care, architecture, design, IoT, mobile technology, manufacturing, engineering, robotics, VR, government, civic innovation, management consulting, transportation, and trade associations rolled up their sleeves at the same table and got to work. Key partners were the Innovate@BU initiative from Boston University as well as the CIC with their newly formed AGENCY@CIC. Programming Innovation Factory and Stantec. brainstorm with a senior leader from a Fortune 500 company, entrepreneur, and a 70-year old retiree law student side by side.
necessary mindset shifts, and new approaches to building inclusive and age-friendly communities in all aspects of our life. A panel moderated by Stephen Chomyszak, Assistant Professor, Wentworth Institute of Technology, featured Nondini Naqui, former CEO, Society of Grownups; Dr. Anne Lusk, Research Scientist, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Toby Patel, Director of Community Engagement, Rendever; and Dyan Finkhousen, Director of Open Innovation & Advanced Manufacturing/Founder GENIUSLINK and GE Fuse, GE and examined aging from multiple perspectives. The section “Challenge | Future of Aging” starting on page 14 reflects many of the insights the industry experts shared. The remainder of the day was dedicated to participants collaborating, ideating, and prototyping in interdisciplinary groups and uncovering the following opportunity spaces ranging from probable, possible, preferable and preposterous. 2
ALL-GENERATION ENVIRONMENTS Sans Age
Grounded in the belief that the issues plaguing modern societies are too systemic to uproot, this opportunity envisions building a city from the ground up for intergenerational populations to live and work together, creating a sense of purpose and belonging. Taking cues from cultures across the globe provides insights and inspiration to vastly improve intergenerational bonds and build more resilient communities while also rethinking transportation, energy, and food supplies - an egalitarian society that benefits all generations.
Young people rarely engage with community centers. To address this, the Living Library is loosely based upon the structural framework seen in shopping centers, featuring everything an individual might desire under one roof - cafes, healthcare, shopping, entertainment, and knowledge. In the Living Library the emphasis would be on socialization and for people of all ages to engage in activities providing a countermeasure to the isolation that is intrinsic to senior living centers.
Co-Living + Learning
Isolation isnâ€™t solely a problem of older generations; younger generations struggle with loneliness as well. The physical structures of society separate generations into designated places. Combining schools and senior centers encourages interactions amongst generations and fosters the intentional bilateral exchange of knowledge and wisdom.
Intergenerational Innovation Centers
Ideas can come from everywhere, but not everybody has access to turn their ideas into reality. The intergenerational innovation center is built around a core makerspace, with the hope of demonstrating â€œDesign for Allâ€?. Anybody can bring challenges to the table that need solving, seek input from diverse people across disciplines and generations, and ideate more well-rounded solutions that fit all generations.
STORIES + INSPIRATION
App technology connects people of different ages and backgrounds to better understand their differences, ideas, and skill-sets, exchange ideas and support each other. Using Lucy, older adults can provide professional and personal mentorship and young people can help explain the latest developments in technology and culture. The concept was loosely based upon (and thus named after) Lucyâ€™s therapy booth from the Peanuts series.
A team of individuals collect the knowledge, wisdom, and passions from older people through storytelling, travelling from town to town via bus. The collected stories can be shared back out to the community at large evoking a sense of â€œtime travelâ€? and challenging social attitudes towards older generations. Parallels to today can be drawn and lessons learned.
On-Demand Mobile Companion
Grocery shopping, going to medical appointments, visiting a friend or taking care of banking needs are all tasks that individuals need to accomplish. This app is the glue to get the task accomplished. Seniors select a companion, who can help them with transportation and grocery shopping at the supermarket providing intergenerational connectivity while running errands and moving older people out of isolation and loneliness. Intergenerational companionships can form lasting bonds to the betterment of society as a whole.
Time Travel Bus
The invention of a magic wand transports people to a virtual reality that provides any environment they desire. Physical limitations are eliminated thanks to automated forms of transportation and the introduction of zero gravity simulations. Seniors can experience the pleasures of either their immediate communities or societies in different areas of the world without leaving their homes.
Each culture treats the elder members of their society differently. How we understand the concepts of age and aging is rooted in cultural expectations and traditions. Transitions from one generation to the next differ according to culture. Technology may facilitate intergenerational learning. Gleaning ideas from science-fiction and combining them with cross cultural understandings of age could push boundaries of possible tools and propose futuristic applications.
“The Future of Aging impacts all of us. That’s why it is critically important to work towards changing mindsets around aging and actually creating an integrated future for all generations and societies at large.” - Dr. Monique Fuchs AVP Innovation + Entrepreneurship Founder, Accelerate Wentworth Institute of Technology
Accelerate, Wentworth Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center, first introduced the ThinkTank Concept in 2013. We partnered with the City of Boston and successfully implemented the ThinkTank four times as an interdisciplinary, city-wide initiative solving real-world challenges and jump-starting civic innovation and entrepreneurship. The format brought together over 500 students, designers, innovators, community partners and city officials from more than 25 disciplines. In 2018, we evolved the ThinkTank to convene the academic community and industry to challenge assumptions, explore possibilities, cocreate ideas and envision how we may live and work in the future. Our initial “Future of Our Cities” ThinkTank focused on “Converging Generations” and illustrated the need to consider environments, services, and products conducive to all generations. As a result, and as a way to continue to force the dialogue around multi-generational approaches, we focused our next ThinkTank on the “Future of Aging”. After all, aging is relevant to all of us and it is imperative to develop a positive mindset towards life that transcends all generations. The ThinkTank format is highly participatory and promotes co-location. It is critical to provide an informal setting in which participants can build bridges and experiment with being uncomfortable as they are confronted with assumptions, thinking styles and viewpoints potentially foreign to their own disciplines, experience and backgrounds. It would be atypical for an architect, a lawyer and a mechanical engineering student to collaborate as part of the day-to-day office routine. The ThinkTank format thrives on these kind of collisions and encourages participants to celebrate them well beyond the one-day event. The ThinkTank also challenges hierarchies as experts and senior leaders are mixed with young professionals and students. Every comment and every contribution is relevant and treated equally thus democratizing the ideation process. Knowledge is a valuable key-driver, but curiosity, asking questions and making unusual connections is the fuel for inspiration and ideas - something that can be produced by anybody. By creating an environment which ensures and encourages “free thinking”, preconceived barriers and limitations are lifted for the transformation to begin. The vision of any ThinkTank is to serve as a catalyst for conversations well beyond the actual day.
â€œI think of age as the one natural resource that is growing instead of being depleted. We need to learn how to tap into it.â€? - Dr. Charlotte Yeh Chief Medical Officer AARP Services, Inc.
“I’m tired of being categorized by my age so i wanted to be part of something where i could convince people that age is truly just a number - it doesn’t and shouldn’t define people. I’m trying to prove that every day.” - Josephe Cote Chief Strategy & Commercialization Officer Navy Yard IP
CHALLENGE | FUTURE OF AGING
“If so many of us are living longer, isn’t it time we reconsider what it means to be old? Maybe we are defining age too narrowly; age really is just a number, but it’s a number that reflects experience, knowledge, a life’s journey with twists and turns, successes, failures, and lessons learned.” 1 Communities around the world are experiencing a rapid rise in aging populations. This constitutes a seismic shift in the demographics impacting future generations. “In Japan and South Korea, the majorities of the populations are projected to be older than 50 by 2050. China is one of most rapidly aging countries in the world. Germany and Spain, along with their European neighbors, are already among the countries with the oldest populations today, and their populations will only get older in the future. The U.S. population is also expected to get older, but at a slower rate than in most other countries.”2 By 2035, America’s population is estimated to have more citizens over the age of 65 than under the age of 18.3 The fastest growing segment of the U.S. population is people 85 years of age and older, followed by the second-fastest growing segment - people who are 100 years and older.4
As individuals live longer and the aging population continues to grow exponentially, societies must adapt accordingly. Academics at universities such as MIT and the University of Texas are developing robotic devices that can assist seniors who struggle with mobility issues.5 Innovative startups create services to connect seniors with vetted caregivers. Emerging technologies such as voice enabled devices and wearables allow older adults to access help in an emergency.6 Cities and towns are converting old schools and convents no longer in use into housing developments for older adults.7 Colleges are beginning to offer senior caregiving programs so that the next generation is trained to support aging family members. Innovative startups are forming partnerships with senior care facilities to implement emerging technologies such as virtual reality. These devices can connect and engage seniors with family and friends to combat feelings of loneliness and social isolation. While investing in programs and services that benefit seniors is important, our collective perceptions of what it means to age must also be challenged.
CONSIDERATIONS AROUND AGING
â€œThe ThinkTank was an incredibly eye-opening and thought-provoking experience. The world needs more of these events to inspire changemakers and disruptive thought across industries and around the globe.â€? - Sierra Flanagan Student - Applied Mathematics Wentworth Institute of Technology
MINDSET SHIFT + GENERATIONAL PERCEPTIONS How do we view aging? How do our views about what it means to be elderly affect our perceptions, our decisions, and our society? How much does society lose as a result? In order to truly disrupt our views of aging, we need to reframe and challenge cultural conceptions and stigmatizations around aging. How do we shift our mindset about what it means to age?
These perceptions persist across generations and illustrate a critical need to shift the discourse. Some areas to explore include:
According to an AARP survey, 40% of Americans have a negative outlook on aging, fueled in part by stereotypical mindsets such as older adults being “set in their ways,” or having “less energy.”8 This perceived decline in physical and cognitive ability is juxtaposed with the celebration of youth reinforced by media.
• Changing the digital dialogue and media coverage to represent a wide range of age demographics.
• Providing opportunities for seniors to defy conventional expectations, break out of stereotypes, and showcase their interests, knowledge, abilities.
• Reimagining retirement as an anticipated vibrant phase of life as life expectancy continues to increase. • Transform perceptions of seniors as assets rather than burdens, capable of participating in and making physical contributions to their community regardless of age, physical ability or cognitive function • Focus on optimal living across generations Celebrating the journey of aging can shift perceptions and directly impact how seniors view aging themselves. A positive and optimistic view of aging can be a catalyst for a longer life and a more positive contribution to society.
“When you go out and talk to older adults, they want the word aging to be about momentum, wisdom and opportunity. Let’s have a conversation around longevity rather than age and figure out how that can be embraced by society.” - Robin Lipson Chief of Staff and Chief Strategy Officer Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs
“Silver Tsunami” and “Demographic Apocalypse”. Both imply a threat to society at the magnitude of a natural disaster. Mindsets are firmly grounded in language - to shift mindsets, we must alter language. By changing the language associated with aging, we can impact and shape the narrative around how we think about aging. According to Sophie Handler the current conceptualizations of aging metaphorically remove older individuals from society. These conceptualizations include“being over the hill”, “sunset years”, and “on the way out”. These phrases literally move seniors out of the view of society, encourage quiet introspection and literally suggest waiting passively until the end of life. Similarly, typical considerations around aging populations tend to approach aging only as a period of limitation and inability.9 We can begin to shift language by: • Referring to aging in positive terms. • Demanding positive representation of older adults in the media. Encourage the media to cover 55+ competitors in marathons and triathlons. Phone news agencies and ask them to report on accomplishments by senior citizens.
• Focusing on the wisdom and accumulated experience of older adults. Instead of simply saying someone is set in their ways, find out how and why they developed their ways. • Encouraging respectful terms for older adults. • Celebrating the possibilities, rather than limitations, age affords. Lipson agrees that “when you go out and talk to older adults, they want the word aging to be about momentum, wisdom and opportunity. Let’s have a conversation around longevity rather than age and figure out how that can be embraced by society.” Language matters. Language is powerful. Language shapes perceptions and creates the illusion of boundaries and limitations. Changing the language can change the way we view aging and set us on the path of momentum, wellbeing, and longevity. “I want to see possibility and optimism. We have to transform how we see and discuss aging. It is not necessarily decline, there’s still contribution. Stop talking about senior moments, and start talking about senior momentum” said Dr. Charlotte Yeh, AARP.
• Challenging current conceptualizations of being too old or “over the hill”. Ask people to clarify what they mean when they utilize these terminologies and phrases.
“Everyone is designing for safety, we worry about safety, we worry about falling down. Isn’t it time that we start thinking about designing for life? Who says that age is a condition that we have to fix? Why isn’t age an asset that we can celebrate?” - Dr. Charlotte Yeh Chief Medical Officer AARP Services, Inc.
DESIGN FOR LIFE, NOT FOR CARE “A powerful new force is changing the face of America, composed of 106 million people responsible for at least $7.1 trillion in annual economic activity—a figure that is expected to reach well over $13.5 trillion in real terms by 2032. This is the Longevity Economy, representing the sum of all economic activity serving the needs of Americans over 50 and including both the products and services they purchase directly and the further economic activity this spending generates.”10 Americans over 50 represent the third largest economy behind the US and China. Corportions and start-ups are rushing to capture the buying power of this target audience. But the current landscape of products focus on care and the prevention of negative outcomes instead of capturing the imagination with design solutions that promote healthful living, empowerment, and individual expression. Shifting from the preventive to the inspirational would create an impactful paradigm shift since the most meaningful years of our lives take place after the age of 50. Joseph Coughlin, MIT AgeLab, shared in a 2013 interview that “we now have more older people, with more discretionary income, more education, and greater expectations than ever before. [...] The new disruptive demographics of global aging also bring with them endless product and service opportunities to innovate in the name of helping people live longer and better.[...] We will all be ill at some point. The opportunity is to have systems and services that can prevent us from being so sick that we can not work, play or do the things that bring us joy.”11 Something Dr. Charlotte Yeh, AARP Services, Inc. echoed and encouraged to “design for independence, not dependence design for joy, beauty, and connection.”
To design for life: • Focus on enhancements, not problems or prevention. What would make your life better? • Imagine possibilities around connections, human-to-human relationships, and independent living. • Incorporate a wide range of stakeholders in all design processes, not small homogenous groups of middle aged adults. • Incorporate virtual reality into the design process and role play the user experience in order to detect appropriate upgrades. • Allow older adults significant input into the design process, as consultants or lead designers. Acknowledge and appreciate the wisdom they bring to the table. • Create opportunities for multi-generational interactions. Designing for life in a holistic context, accounting for all generations, improves the dynamic and relationships between community members. Changes rarely impact only one segment of society. Curb cuts to facilitate independence by older adults with mobility challenges are used by parents with strollers. Bike paths provide a safe commute and an active lifestyle option to everyone from small children, work commuters, to seniors.
â€œWe are at a fundamental inflection point for how we think about our population and what that means for our institutions. Thinking about aging is not just a job for government. Embracing aging and leveraging the opportunities associated with aging is really a job for all of society, both the public and private sector.â€? - Robin Lipson Chief of Staff/ Chief Strategy Officer Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs
Responsibility for older generations cannot be carried by one stakeholder alone. It requires multifaceted collaboration and synergy between government, corporate, and private stakeholders to empower and support people as they age. Forming strong partnerships can support common objectives and realize real impact toward age-friendly communities “where decisions are made intentionally to enact policies and pursue initiatives that will be welcoming to people of all ages”.12 One by-product of universal responsibility includes rethinking how decisions are made at all levels and how resources are allocated and invested to support all generations equally. The balancing act between taking responsibility for older adults and allowing them to take responsibility for themselves represents a new way of approaching the issue. An inclusive approach encompasses:
• Engaging communities to care for seniors outside of standard nuclear family structures and isolating in-home care systems. • Government and local stakeholder partnerships around healthcare needs, social security and broader community based structures to support the increased demand for these services.
“Initiatives such as the In Good Company Challenge allow private enterprises to utilize their extensive networks and technology solutions on a global scale to work with local partners to solve for issues that older adults are facing in our communities.” -Dyan Finkhousen, GE
• Initiating dialogue with older adults around their needs, wants, desires, and challenges to provide insights around relevant topics such as transportation, housing, care, work engagements, etc. • Investing brain power and support to solve challenges which affect both the aging population and broader society such as affordable and multigenerational housing.
The high costs of housing and basic services such as healthcare or utilities contributes to the economic reality that older adults cannot take care of themselves. Many seniors do not have an adequate form of retirement savings to live independently, making them dependent on their families. Current economic conditions also impact both current and future generations’ economic security, setting up a cycle of economic insecurity. For example, Millennials have lower average salaries and higher debt than older generations13 - while facing increasingly burdensome cost of living and limited changes for upward social mobility. This leaves them financially unable to provide support to their aging parents or grandparents and significantly impacts their ability to save for their own retirements according to Nondini Naqui, former President and CEO of Society of Grownups. Complicating this problem is the issue of retirement. Older adults retiring to make room for younger adults was standard practice, but economic constraints could force them to continue working, and corporations need to develop solutions that enable the entire workforce regardless of age to improve their quality of life, address issues of ageism in the workplace as more older adults continue working into later life.
To address economic insecurity for older adults: • Encourage older adults to consider retirement with bonuses or other financial incentives. • Identify key living requirements and exempt seniors from taxes. • Cover costs of living essentials such as home heating costs for seniors. • Encourage seniors to live in communal arrangements through lower taxes. This will allow older adults to pool economic resources and decrease isolation. • Provide stipends for volunteer opportunities.
“When I talk to many Millennials, retirement feels like it’s 200 years away. There are some really hard financial realities that the Millennial generation is facing that previous generations have not and they want to know, how they can be expected to save anything for their future.” - Nondini Naqui Former President and CEO Society of Grownups
EMPLOYMENT AND VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES Older adults contribute knowledge, experience, and insight to the work environment. However, our society continues to embrace long standing cultural expectations of people to retire at a certain age. This age bracket - typically between 60 and 70 years - was established at a time when life expectancy was significantly lower. Todayâ€™s aging population already experiences the challenge of financial stability and as a result works well beyond the perceived retirement age. Recent surveys have shown that 80% of people over the age of 50 plan to work past the age of 65.14
80% Of employers were supportive of employees working past the age of 65, only 39% offered flexible scheduling options and only 31% facilitated transitions from full-time to part-time roles. A report conducted by the U.S. Senateâ€™s Special Committee on Aging found that while 80% of employers were supportive of employees working past the age of 65, only 39% offered flexible scheduling options and only 31% facilitated transitions from full-time to part-time roles.15
Seniors are a demographic heavily involved in volunteer services and unpaid work to improve their communities oftentimes supporting their families with childcare services, caregiving to ailing partners, or other people in need, and mentoring youth. This is a heavily under recognized contribution to our economy. As of 2015, adults 55 and over contributed an estimated $75 billion in volunteer services to communities across America.16
Another solid option for older adults is to pursue entrepreneurship. The number of entrepreneurs who are over the age of 50 has increased by 50% since 2007.17 Rethink employment by: • Create specialized loan and grant programs for older citizens who want to start new business ventures • Form mentoring organizations for new business owners to work with older more experienced individuals who can help guide them • Create tax abatements and rebates for senior volunteers • Encourage businesses to create consultant roles for older workers or other meaningful integration of seniors into the workforce It is time to reimagine retirement. How can we take advantage of the wisdom, knowledge, and experience seniors provide while enriching their experiences through social interactions. These interactions create joy and happiness in seniors’ daily lives while providing a sense of purpose and possibility that allow for healthier minds and bodies.
“Riding a bicycle is an invaluable source of physical fitness for older adults - it allows for the pumping of blood into the hippocampus while lessening both the risks and symptoms of alzheimer’s.” - Dr. Anne Lusk Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
ACCESS + MOBILITY Older adults face a troubling lack of transportation options. Many older adults are no longer able to drive a car and rely on public transportation, often unreliable or difficult to access. With a crucial change in transportation infrastructure, the end result will be an unfortunate situation in which older adults are increasingly socially isolated and disconnected from their families and communities.
• Promoting physical mobility through bicycles, electric scooters, and walking programs and supporting these activities with well-integrated infrastructure (protected bike lane, bike share systems, etc.). Added benefits of these programs include opportunities for wellness and socialization.
Considerations for rethinking issues of access and mobility include:
“People told us that without access to transportation, they are disconnected and isolated. This makes them believe they have no purpose and don’t matter.”
• Designing all aspects of public transportation to be “age friendly” and physically and financially accessible, including the modes of transit (bus, train, subway), to the infrastructure for accessing them (stations, platforms, schedules, wayfinding). • Developing robust alternatives through alliances between public transit and paratransit programs or ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft. For example, only 554 of the 118,000 active Uber drivers in New York City have vehicles that are wheelchairaccessible. Companies like Uber are beginning to address this shortcoming by forming partnerships with paratransit providers such as MV Transit. These types of alliances will enhance the ability of transportation providers to serve the needs of older adults and all people with disabilities.18
- Robin Lipson, Chief of Staff and Chief Strategy Officer MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs
SENIOR CARE AND HOUSING
According to Robin Lipson the core values for senior citizens are: growing older, where you live, how you live, and aging with dignity. As a result one essential aspect of our communities that requires critical examination, structural rethinking, and design innovation is housing, and our approach to caring for older adults. Tangled up in this issue is social isolation and the connectedness of seniors to their communities. Aging-in-place is often the preferred option for older adults. The decision to remain in one’s home can present a multitude of opportunities and challenges. The benefits of aging in place include continuing to engage within their social groups. Social interactions improve the ability of older adults to feel joy and happiness in their daily lives, combating loneliness while providing a sense of purpose and possibility that can allow for healthier minds and bodies. These connection points with other people can ultimately reduce the risk of stroke, dementia, obesity and heart failure according to Dr. Charlotte Yeh, AARP Services, Inc.
However, currently we organize generations into defined spaces within our communities and from a geographic standpoint, children, adults, and older adults all spend their days in disparate locations. Children are at school, adults are at work, and older adults are typically isolated from both of these environments. Crucial issues to consider include: • If older adults, who are in good health, remain in their homes they may continue to engage within their social circles and get out of the house frequently, receive visitors, etc. • Services such as laundry pickup, ordering grocery for delivery etc can support their lifestyle and alleviate the burden of household tasks. • Once seniors benefit from more regular care and mobility support, oftentimes friends and family may be able to provide this on an unpaid volunteer basis and other options need to be explored. • Financial planning and stability are factors that impact housing choices for seniors. Housing can facilitate some of these interactions, but the definition of “home” can go far beyond the walls of an apartment or house. The integration and care necessary to allow for an engaged and active life calls for innovative approaches.
â€œThe effects of loneliness are equivalent to smoking half of a pack of cigarettes a day.â€? - Emily Shea Commissioner Age Strong Commission City of Boston
Photo: Captured at The Future of City our ThinkTank February 24th, 2018
“I think it’s important for any big topic to have interdisciplinary connections between people so that you can think about the total experience that you are creating and designing together. The ThinkTank was a very rich conversation with new and innovative thoughts that you might not have if there were only one or two disciplines at the table.” - Michelle Davis Chief Marketing Officer Wentworth Institute of Technology
TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION Advancements in technology can provide viable responses to the challenges older generations face as well as play a powerful role connecting family, friends, and caregivers. However, they can go well beyond facilitating interactions.
a massive opportunity for further infusion of technologies across all industries for the benefit of seniors in the future.
Healthcare and caregiving services are transforming through technological innovation enabling seniors and their caregivers to access support services, monitor and manage their health conditions, track health records, medications, appointments, and communicate with family m embers and the medical team. Emerging technologies such as virtual reality are increasingly being experimented with and pose viable options for engagement with older adults.
• Utilizing senior centers, assisted living facilities and councils on aging as product testers.
“Although seniors consistently have lower rates of technology adoption than the general public, this group is more digitally connected than ever. In fact, some groups of seniors – such as those who are younger, more affluent and more highly educated – report owning and using various technologies at rates similar to adults under the age of 65. Still, there remains a notable digital divide between younger and older Americans. And many seniors who are older, less affluent or with lower levels of educational attainment continue to have a distant relationship with digital technology.”19 As the Baby Boomer generation ages, the gap in use of technology will decline. Younger Baby Boomers already demonstrated increased use and ability to adapt to sophisticated technology. This points to 41
Opportunities for technology integration include:
• Imagining AI and robotics as replacements for rudimentary caretaking responsibilities, freeing up people for face to face interaction. • Connecting individuals through distance mediated technology to improve social lives and reduce isolation. • Integrating public health outreach into social media and push devices such as smart watches. “Implementing virtual reality activations to create engaging experiences for older adults in assisted-living facilities is just one example of how we can change societal perceptions around what it means to age. Virtual reality is just one technology that private sector stakeholders are exploring to combat the social isolation and loneliness often widespread amongst aging populations.” - Toby Patel, Rendever
â€œWith isolation and loneliness emerging as the most critical challenges that older adults are facing, the question becomes how we can find innovators passionate about improving the lives of older adults to provide potential solutions to these issues both locally and globally through the use of emerging technology.â€? - Dyan Finkhousen Director of Open Innovation & Advanced Manufacturing Founder of GeniusLink and GE Fuse GE
OVERALL CONSIDERATION The challenge of aging represents an amazing opportunity to improve society for the benefit of all. To successfully meet this challenge, we must consciously shift our language around older generations and shift our mindset on what it means to be an older person. Creating opportunities and infrastructure to design for inspiration, not restriction will help usher in new approaches to individual challenges, such as technology, housing and employment, as well as to larger societal changes around transportation infrastructure, city planning, and economic security. Ultimately, we as a society are universally responsible for the well being of all our members, including the older generation.
MAPPING OF OPPORTUNITY SPACES ThinkTank participants split into interdisciplinary groups to consider what the â€œFuture of Agingâ€? may look like. Inspired by the speakers and the panel and overall considerations around aging, each group ideated the probable, possible, preferable and preposterous while aiming to innovate and uncover the unexpected. The themes identified across opportunity spaces included all-generation environments, purpose, storytelling + inspiration. The following pages outline the core of the opportunity spaces and dive deeper into the ideas the groups developed through design thinking methodology and rapid prototyping.
ALL-GENERATION ENVIRONMENTS IIn many communities, generations of people are separated from one another, which is influenced by factors such as geography, housing, and access to transportation. Dr. Anne Lusk noted that assisted living facilities are typically constructed on inexpensive property on the outskirts of communities limiting the ability of an older adult living in an assisted-living facility to go shopping or socialize with their neighbors. Several ThinkTank speakers noted the effects that being alone has on the human psyche and how this actually expedites the aging process. Traditionally, assisted-living environments try to alleviate this by creating more opportunities to engage their residents through social activities, however, this is applicable only to those who can afford assisted living and removes this population from the larger society. Our ThinkTank groups challenged this easy but ineffective approach. Scenarios were dreamed up in which older adults could interact with an extensive, builtin network of people across different age demographics, placing an emphasis on creating environments in which both young and old would have serendipitous, organic encounters. Creating connections between adults and children emerged as a theme. While some groups decided to prioritize the integration of people of all ages, nearly every group involved in designing a physical multi-generational environment designed space for older adults to interact with children and young adults. If we are truly going to change perceptions of aging, it makes sense to start at the youngest generation. Groups also looked to other cultures for ideas to bridge the gap between generation by emphasizing the contributions that older adults can still make to society. Several groups pointed out that in many Latino cultures, older adults live with and receive care from their families, rather than in an assisted-living center or on their own. While hosting entire families together under one roof or in the same community isn’t always an option, this is one solution that would lead to a more connected older demographic in some instances. Additionally, many Eastern cultures have a completely different view about what it means to age, because among those people older adults are revered for the knowledge and wisdom they possess, rather than looked down upon for their physical limitations. • • •
From Exclusion to Involvement From Seclusion to Interconnectivity From Individual to Community
By reaching people at an early age, and instilling in them the belief that older adults are respected and valued instead of perceived as a burden, we begin changing the societal view of what it means to age. All four ideas presented for physical multi-generational environments help combat loneliness in the older adults. They change the perception of what it means to age for the younger generations and also illustrate the benefit of interaction for all generations in building resilient and effective communities. 47
â€œIt really felt like everyone at the ThinkTank realized the importance of intergenerational interactions and people helping people.â€? - Saffron Mello Student of Biomedical Engineering Wentworth Institute of Technology
“I think it’s very important to understand the isolation that older people feel so that we can find opportunities to give them a sense of responsibility and being needed as they age. This is something that I should always keep in my mind as I get to the point where my parents are going to need that care from me.” - Yugu Yang-Keathley Assistant Professor - Electrical and Computer Engineering Wentworth Institute of Technology
SANS ÀGE Sans Age (“ageless” in French) is the answer for the systemic issues affecting society. In Sans Age, this ThinkTank group envisioned a city built from the ground up where intergenerational populations live and work together with a shared purpose: create a community where citizens of all ages exist with a communal focus on efficiency and equity. Sans Age exists conceptually as a social model providing all generations with access to shared services like education and community support while also focusing on sustainable operation such as buildings powered by renewable energies. The disparity of wealth in communities around the globe has created a reality in which segments of society do not have the financial means for self sufficiency while caring for aging family members. Sans Age represents a new intentional solution to this problem, created from scratch in new geographic areas. Members will be drawn
from existing communities to create a new, intentional community envisioned with all in mind. Sans Age’s ideals are achieved through multiple efforts. Sustainable energy optimizes the cultivation process, leading to more efficient harvest and a much higher yield of crops. Water is clean, and people need not fear contamination in their drinking water. Transportation is democratized, with free communal access to bicycles and a monorail system that circles the city in approximately 10 minutes, making cars unnecessary. Without the need for cars, traffic issues are eliminated and travel becomes painless for the few drivers that carpool. Pedestrian travel becomes completely safe. People that once were limited to a small pool of jobs due to mobility restrictions or age now have a number of available opportunities and can choose any career path.
KEY OUTCOMES Why is this important?
How does this change the future of aging?
• Activating individuals as contributors to a new society re-engages forgotten and isolated demographics and achieves greater heights as a whole.
• With access to more jobs and transportation, the population is enabled to bring about positive change.
• With an emphasis on renewable energies and sustainability, people lead healthier and more conscious lives in a thriving environment. • Jobs are plentiful across all generations thanks to the budding growth of the food industry and energy sectors. People are given equal opportunity and access to these openings. • Communal bicycles and a monorail system make transportation accessible and available to all across generations.
• Older adults are capable of visiting their families and loved ones, and everyone has access to the financial means to provide their loved ones with the proper healthcare they need as they continue to age. • Working on a level playing field, people are happier and collaboration flourishes as new relationships are formed between changemakers both young and old.
“Usually when I’m designing anything, aging isn’t something that typically crosses my mind. That’s why it was helpful to broaden my perspectives on what aging means and how that impacts the ideation process around design for all generations.” - Jasmine Andrade Student of Interdisciplinary Engineering Wentworth Institute of Technology
LIVING LIBRARY The “Living Library” is a structure reminiscent of a shopping mall but with an emphasis on learning and civic responsibility. In today’s world, generations are locally separated - very young children are in daycares, children and youth are in schools and older people are in senior centers or senior residences. In addition, land is at a premium - the population continues to rise. It is not possible to design communities on a large scale from scratch. The Living Library merges communities regardless of age, convening both old and young to engage together in one space, allowing them to enjoy dining, recreation, education, entertainment, shopping and healthcare all under one roof. To foster connectivity in today’s world, we must blend physical environments that already exist to create intergenerational groups to interface with one another on a regular basis. The underlying premise of this idea is the belief that older adults living within assisted-living facilities face isolation. Creating a living-learning environment attractive to all generations within the community, older adults can interact with people without straying far from their
homes. They also have the ability to receive medical care, follow their creative passions, and and meet others right in the middle of a bustling, indoor, miniature metropolis. This environment also creates opportunities to integrate social activities into the care-process. In addition to traditional physical therapy, older adults participate in more creative physical activity with an eye toward amusement. Rather than walking the hallways of a retirement home, elders can walk through an indoor mini-golf course, teaching younger crowds the finer mechanics of putting, or engage in other physical activities, such as dancing. Ample opportunities are also available for older adults to mentor younger populations about their favorite intellectual pursuits: visual arts, creative writing, product development, accounting and more. These are intertwined with the traditional education process as an opportunity to facilitate genuine and meaningful interactions between young and old.
KEY OUTCOMES Why is this important?
How does this change the future of aging?
• Retrofitting current spaces allows us to start tackling the problem now. We can immediately begin impacting and shifting culture.
• Disparate parties convene to create a diverse network of individuals that are motivated to collaborate with one another.
• Creating a more involved senior population will see our society improve and progress across the spectrum. Younger generations benefit from the experiences of their older counterparts, who in turn live a healthier, more enriched existence.
• A dialogue opens that enables the population to understand each other to a far greater degree than is currently possible.
• Combining societal necessities such as medical care, daycare centers, and entertainment under one roof offers a unique opportunity to attract all generations.
• Everyone’s contributions are respected and appreciated equally, and no one feels left out or alone.
â€œ I think we as a society and especially in the U.S. wait to address issues until they become a real problem. We have been ignoring the issue of aging for a long time instead of thinking about how we can make the later periods in our lives more engaging and satisfying as opposed to looking at aging as something to dread.â€? - Tom Chung Principal Leers Weinzapfel Associates
CO-LIVING + LEARNING One of the biggest issues facing both young and older adults is loneliness and a sense of not belonging. Both generations feel lonely, in different ways and for different reasons. Younger adults have a technology focused lifestyle and interactions with peers can be reduced to online engagement. Even with many online “friends” one can feel lonely. Older adults living in senior residences are disconnected from their previous social environment and may not be mobile enough to freely engage with family and friends whenever they like. An emphasis must be placed on “design for all,” which in this case, is reflected in the production of new creative solutions to realworld problems through the combined brain-power and creativity of two generations to combat issues of loneliness. We need our architects, designers, city planners, industrial designers and many more to consider multi-generational needs across all spectrums. This “design for all” mentality should focus on learning opportunities spread across generations. Learning together offers built in opportunities for connecting through interests across generations. For early education/childcare a group of seniors may be able to completely run the daycare or afterschool activities exposing children to reading, arts, history, outdoor
exploration, play and more while at the same time keeping seniors engaged and active. These could be incorporated into our current structures. Preschoolers view aging differently, with the expectation that they will be contributing to society in different ways as they age. Designing field trips with older adults in mind can strengthen the concept of co-living and learning. With school-age children/youth a more focused engagement may happen and a vibrant exchange of knowledge could augment classroom teaching, field trips, and explorations. Older adults are either leading topics based on their interests, background and expertise or work with students as mentors from a topical or social interaction perspective. Children and youth may share newest developments and interests in pop-culture and what challenges they face with social integration, friendships, and generally navigating life. The projects and outcomes of the intergenerational collaboration could be displayed in an exhibition or within an existing museum to share more broadly and for others to get inspired to engage across generations. Young people have so much to learn from their elders, but are rarely put in a position to do so. This solution of designing learning spaces for all changes that for the better and enriches everyone’s life.
KEY OUTCOMES Why is this important?
How does this change the future of aging?
• Introducing very young children and youth to older adults allows for the younger generation to develop an appreciation for senior citizens at a developmental age and in turn allows for seniors to revisit their perceptions about the young generations as well.
• Loneliness has been a well-documented detriment to the health of human-beings, and it sows the seeds of depression. Connecting the two generations mostly impacted by loneliness and allowing them to form meaningful relationships, programs, projects creates a renewed sense of purpose and positively impacts communities and society at large.
• Learning spaces create unique and effortless opportunities for cross generational collaboration. • Working with youth changes how different generations understand the aging process.
• Intergenerational co-creation can be a powerful way to solve systemic challenges.
â€œ Having a multidisciplinary approach to a topic like aging and thinking about how we can maximize human flourishing for this specific demographic and create a more optimal future for our aging population is extremely important.â€? - Jonas Brunschwig Project Leader Swissnex Boston
INTERGENERATIONAL INNOVATION CENTERS In the Intergenerational Innovation Center people work as a team respecting each others’ strengths and experiences. It is intentionally multi-generational: young adults provide fresh insights in the creation of new ideas and projects and older adults provide mentorship, know-how, and problem-solving skills acquired through decades of experience. People of all ages benefit from the ability to create and develop ideas that address a wide-range of real-world problems and challenges. The Innovation Center is comprised of two components:
1 Intergenerational Challenge Hub 2 Intergenerational Makerspace The Challenge Hub invites community members, entrepreneurs, civic stakeholders, and industry as “challenge-bringers” to help initiate dialogue and collaboration on important issues that citizens, organizations, and society are facing - generating a strong sense of purpose and impact that can be felt in the immediate community.
The Hub is both a brick and mortar location as well as a digital environment for those that are not able to visit. No one is excluded, regardless of age or means, and as a result the community experiences a greater degree of connection than has ever been achieved before. These centers exist as permanent structures in suburban locales and pop-up spaces in urban environments where space is at a premium. The natural extension of the Challenge Hub is the Intergenerational Makerspace, where all generations can turn their ideas into tangible products and services and share them back with the “challengebringer”. The culture of building physical products allows for many iterations, skill building and collaborative engagement. The makerspace serves as an ideal setting for this multi generational cocreation, potentially resided in a traditional assisted-living facility. New possibilities open up with time, along with opportunities to contribute across generations toward real solutions and hatching new discoveries and creations that otherwise would never occur.
Why is this important?
How does this change the future of aging?
• Multigenerational challenge hubs and maker spaces will expedite the education of our youth, promoting maturity as they work alongside older adults.
• With “Design For All” achieved, older adults find a new purpose working to educate and collaborate with younger makers.
• Dynamic teams are formed through a built-in network of solvers/ makers young and old.
• Older people no longer reside in secluded senior living facilities but are now immersed in bustling centers brimming with enthusiastic and energetic minds.
• The creation of new ideas would not have been possible without the unique traits, backgrounds, experience levels both young and old bring to the table.
• Friendships are formed, loneliness is diminished, and both the young and old benefit from having new companions with an outlook that is drastically different than their own.
PURPOSE Advancements in mobile technology have created connection points between generations once implausible. Celebrating a birthday or anniversary with a grandparent who resides on a different continent is now as simple as the touch of a smartphone thanks to video conferencing apps. Mobile devices connect us to the world around us at all times. Older adults with a mobile device can request an Uber or Lyft to have someone drive them to a grocery store or medical appointment. So why does a pervasive disconnect between generations still exist? No societal emphasis has been placed on creating platforms that help curate new connections between people of different generations enabling them to share similar interests. Social networking platforms represent the greatest development in recent decades to help us maintain connections with people geographically distant. These platforms allow us to maintain nearly innumerable small connections. Uncharacteristically, older adults have swarmed toward these platforms, particularly Facebook. This illustrates the demand for services that aid older adults to maintain relationships across long distances and keep up with people with whom they have lost touch.
70% of adults over the age of 50 own a smartphone, as well as 55% of those over the age of 70 which was nearly twice the adoption rate of the previous year. The most recent study published by AARP stated that 70% of adults over the age of 50 own a smartphone, as well as 55% of those over the age of 70 which was nearly twice the adoption rate of the previous year.20 These numbers are highly encouraging and provide an opportunity space to create technology based solutions that would bring generations together for different purposes. ThinkTank groups ideated mobile technologies that could identifying caretakers and companions, who could run errands with older adults while spending time together. There certainly is also matchmaking opportunity based on hobbies and interests potentially resulting in friendships. â€˘ â€˘ â€˘ 65
From Isolation to Interaction From Apprehension to Adoption From Intimidating to Accessible
“ Our world is very driven by technology and economics so sometimes we forget that technology and economy are supposed to be for humans instead of humans fueling those other sectors. As you start aging, this starts to flip in your mind and you start spending more time thinking about how you will achieve your life goals. It’s not just about longevity – I don’t want to just find a way to exist to be a 120, I want to live to be 120.” - Stephen Chomyszak Assistant Professor - Mechanical Engineering Wentworth Institute of Technology
“What I like about the ThinkTank is that we’re not only bringing together the facts and figures associated with aging but the real, tangible developments that can be used to spur ideas.” - Jonathan Ablett Director - Economic Modeling IHS Markit
LUCY Technology is an important conduit for connecting older adults with younger populations. The Baby Boomer generation has become more and more technology-friendly, leading to more technologyintegrated behavior as they turn older. â€œLucy,â€? a new app, connects individuals for knowledge transfer across generations. The Peanuts series popularized Lucyâ€™s fivecent advice booth, and it serves as an inspiration for this concept. Young people may find themselves in situations where they could benefit from the advice and perspective of an older, wiser person, who can help them to resolve socially tricky situations, or if they need a confidant beyond their peer group to think through friendships or other personal challenges.
Older adults teach younger people how to succeed professionally and personally while regaining a degree of independence,able to reap the benefits afforded by a vast and powerful technological landscape once inaccessible. Young people instruct seniors on how to adopt new technologies and ideas that they would otherwise not discover on their own while sharing their lifestyle and values.Young adults find themselves acquiring new skills and advancing their careers thanks to the stewardship of their older contemporaries. Lucy enables long term mentoring relationships to develop between generations.
Lucy fills the gap, allowing for younger people to receive advice for business conduct and etiquette and how to navigate workplace politics. The app allows older adults to provide invaluable advice for younger generations just starting out with an internship, first job or dealing with difficult decisions in their careers.
KEY OUTCOME Why is this important?
How does this change the future of aging?
• We learn from people in the world around us, but our preconceived biases often drive us toward the people who seem most like us.
• A new level of connection is reached as the two demographics work together with one another, with each becoming more capable of accomplishing change.
• Sometimes we just have to be willing to listen, or be put into a position where we have the opportunity to do so.
• Knowledge is shared, and with equal access to the knowledge of generations both older and younger, the community begins to co-create solutions that resolve any problems that people still face.
• As we work together to overcome adversity through learning and collaboration, we build character and grow as people, becoming more well-rounded as we enter an active exchange.
â€œWhatâ€™s eye opening to me is that we had a challenge that started at 11:30 AM and by 3:00 PM you have prototypes - some that are more practical and others where people are redesigning the entire aging experience.â€? - Nan Ives Principal Experiential Innovation
ON DEMAND MOBILE COMPANION The goal of On Demand Mobile Companion is threefold:
1 Reducing social isolation for older adults 2 Providing accessible and affordable transportation for all citizens with a disability or mobility challenge;
3 Receiving support with errands and activities. The mobile/web app and voice activation platforms connect citizens in need of drivers or caregivers with members of their communities who serve as their companions. The driving force behind the On Demand Mobile Companion is a bartering system. Caretakers/companions earn through traditional means or they can be compensated in more creative ways, such as the sharing of knowledge or skills that can help them in other pursuits, both professional and personal. With each party standing to gain something from the interaction, the mutually beneficial format ensures a steady supply of users that need caretaking and companions to care for them. In exchange for serving their communities, companions receive service hours that are used in the future as currency to procure goods and services. The service allows an older adult to receive the assistance they need to live in their communities of choice. They plan out
their errands, such as shopping and household chores and accomplish them with a companion who assists and understands them. In addition to accomplishing various daily tasks that are necessary, the On Demand Mobile Companion allows users to plan recreational activities for the enjoyment of both parties, serving as a gateway to a bevy of social interactions that will improve emotional well-being and combat loneliness. Using this platform, an older adult sets parameters to connect them with a caregiver or support resource for socialization while accomplishing their daily tasks such as grocery shopping, doctors visits and visiting family. The parameters are customized to a degree in which you can target a companion who will have characteristics and interests that mirror your own. The On Demand Mobile Companion is not restricted to older adults, it is available to any person who dealing with a disability who could benefit from having a caretaker and companion. Users of the On Demand Mobile Companion match with caretakers uniquely suited for their various health needs are protected through an extensive vetting process for citizens who are interested in working as companions.
KEY OUTCOMES Why is this important?
How does this change the future of aging?
• Companionship is a basic human need and contributes to leading healthy lives.
• Much in the same way that we have used technology to reinvent transportation, through Uber and Lyft, the idea of caretaking is remade.
• People struggle to connect with others. Fortunately, technology allows us to match people based on any number of criteria. • Anyone can be a caretaker and we tap into our emotional instincts to provide friendship to those who need it most.
• People connecting with others around them gradually see the benefits of doing so. They realize that there’s no need for incentivization because the process is rewarding in and of itself. • Social networking technology facilitates the formation of relationships with people and creates a useful infrastructure matching needs and services across generations. • Potential integrations with the storytelling bench can be added to this service.
STORYTELLING + INSPIRATION In some cases it’s a byproduct of being lonely that older adults lose the will to remain mentally active, but in others it’s simply a case of not having access to opportunities in which they can make contributions to their communities. Connecting seniors with people who want to listen to them and their stories will restore a sense of purpose, positively affecting their mental health and helping to curb the aging process. Their stories can build a bridge between the past, present, and future. Stories are at the core of what makes us human. They capture the struggle, the failures, the journeys, and the wins. Younger generations often make suggestions or take actions without understanding the impact of unintended consequences or failing to see how a longer term view may better benefit them. How do we inspire younger generations to see the world from a longer term view? How do we facilitate connections between two groups, one considered not relevant and one convinced of its own relevance? How do we help facilitate conversations that allow for robust debates that account for all viewpoints? How do we help each generation see the value of other ways of thought? True diversity of thought spans generations. New technology developments can support this process and even further augment older adults’ physical ability to expand their reach, experience the world around them and allow them to create more memorable moments with family and friends. In the far future, we may even see the proliferation of zero gravity environments that allow older adults to not only move, but feel as strong as they did in their youth without the pains accrued over a lifetime. • • •
From Afterthought to Relevance From Differences to Commonalities From Incompatible to Inseparable
“Aging is no longer in “the future” for me and it was invigorating to be with so many young people who were interested to collaborate and find inter-generational and inclusive solutions to strengthen the fabric of our communities.” - Sandra Pascal Associate Vice President Community Relationship & External Affairs Wentworth Institute of Technology
â€œ The ThinkTank was a great platform to raise awareness for the challenges presented by aging populations and to find opportunities to invest in making our communities more agefriendly so that we are empowering individuals to live well.â€? - Charlie Pham Assistant Professor - Computer Science and Networking Wentworth Institute of Technology
TIME TRAVEL BUS In the future we cherish interconnectivity and the sharing of experiences. Some of these solutions necessitate the formation of volunteer organizations dedicated to spending time with older adults who find themselves secluded from society due to physical limitations. One solution is a â€œTime Travel Busâ€? roving between communities and engaging with elderly adults to learn their stories. This group of volunteers facilitates discussion and connection points that wouldnâ€™t exist otherwise.
Having a liaison to serve as an intermediary between people old and young mitigates any sense of boundaries felt by the two sides that would otherwise impede that connection. Older adults get to ride the bus themselves, which then parks at museums, community centers, schools, libraries and other gathering places so that they get to communicate their experiences to an assembly of younger generations. The speakers develop different themes based on the location they are visiting.
This idea is shaped by a conversation around tackling isolation by creating community and connecting people to a broader audience, hence a bus traveling to different locations and welcoming aboard older adults interacting with volunteers so that their experiences are imparted to a younger generation that they may not have access to otherwise. Mindsets around aging are shifted as younger crowds are able to empathize with older citizens through the conduit of the Time Travel Bus.
This opens up new avenues for exploration in which people form mutually beneficial partnerships. As people are introduced to like-minded individuals, they get to see how much they have in common besides their difference in age.
KEY OUTCOMES Why is this important?
How does this change the future aging?
• Through the sharing of stories disparate people can begin to see parallels between their lives and develop empathy with others and their journeys.
• Past, present, and future are correlated, appreciated, and connected.
• The perception of aging is altered and outlook of older adults on life altered. • The community is brought together through storytelling and citizens of all ages are entertained and informed by the experiences of those older than them.
• Residents of a community begin to better understand the problems being faced by their neighbors as a forum is convened in which stories are shared. • Barriers are broken and conventional paradigms are disrupted where people of all ages are equally valued.
“Residents understand that these VR experiences aren’t real but they are often so happy to be outside of their homes that they often start to regain memories and cognition. If we bring two people together who both went to France earlier in their lives, they could be chatting for days about their study abroad year or a honeymoon and form a lasting friendship based off that shared VR experience.” - Toby Patel Director of Community Engagement Rendever
MAGIC WAND The societal stigma of aging is eliminated through the introduction of technology that mitigates restrictions that we once faced due to old age. Smart homes have made it easier than ever to maintain our independence as we age. The ability to use voice-activated technology allows older adults who face physical limitations to harness the power of technology. Older adults request services from right inside their homes, whether they need transportation, delivery services (food or goods) or healthcare.
In addition to zero gravity fields being employed, older adults have access to exoskeletons that similarly restore mobility, giving back the ability to move and allowing for the achievement of greater of strength than our bodies would have been capable of alone. Through these innovations, older adults not only have the beach brought to their home but alternatively can go outside and experience the waves and sand firsthand. Any constraints related to mobility are thoroughly eradicated.
Virtual reality allows those confined within their homes to experience the places they dream of but are unable to travel to as a result of their mobility challenges. Any destination and the sensations of that locale is replicated at home and controlled hands-free. All of our senses are engaged as we can see, smell, touch, hear and even taste the intricacies of the destination we are transported to. The introduction of zero-gravity environments allows the physically limited to overcome any pain or disability they face and move freely within virtual environments, experiencing every amenity available without any sort of hindrance.
With the ability to move freely throughout the world once more, the loneliness component also diminishes, and the perception of aging changes as the limitations are removed. An inability to care for ourselves is not only physically debilitating, but mentally exhausting, and we will not have these issues in the future. Older adults maintain all of the benefits of having decades worth of experiences without any of the physical drawbacks that were once attached to the later stages of life.
KEY OUTCOMES Why is this important?
How does this change the future of aging?
• Returning mobility to those that are currently physically limited will revitalize their whole being.
• Older adults are rejuvenated by virtual experiences and real world excursions thanks to technological advancements.
• Technology will be able to enhance our physical capabilities and restore our freedom to experience the world around us.
• They can choose to experience the world with their loved ones right from the comfort of their homes, or see the world firsthand without being limited by pain or frailty.
• Older adults will no longer feel as though they are a burden on their loved ones, and can retake responsibility for their own care. • Future generations can affect change in any number of ways as they find themselves able to choose to remain retired or volunteer their free time instead.
• Engaging across society without fear. • Older adults can once more share in life’s important moments and feel more fulfilled and empowered to bring about good in the world.
â€œ Before the ThinkTank, I definitely thought about aging in a more negative context. This ThinkTank taught me that there are a lot of freedoms that come with aging as well as many insecurities that go away with aging. If you lean into some of those aspects, you actually have a lot to look forward to as you age.â€? - Delson Faria Da Silva Student of Mechanical Engineering Wentworth Institute of Technology
STORYTELLING BENCH Each culture treats their older people differently. Hispanic cultures typically keep their senior citizens integrated within the standard family unit, often caring for their own elders by moving parents or grandparents into their own homes when they become too old or ill to care for themselves. Eastern cultures revere their seniors for the wisdom they possess and impart. Western culture is an outlier from these two examples, likely in an attempt to prioritize independence and autonomy. Transitions from one generation to the next are conceptual and technology could facilitate the learning and implementation on how to get to the next generational level with wisdom and best practices Elements of culture from various regions of the world - such as North America, Europe and Africa - are seamlessly integrated into the design of emerging technology, focused on the shared values of the community, for the betterment of society as a whole. Various generations bring their varied experience to create a place in which all people are active contributors to the betterment of their communities.
One potential new technology is a storytelling bench, in which older adults tell a story that is recorded and then played for younger audiences also using the bench. This leads to serendipitous meetings down the line, with multiple generations meeting one another at the bench to tell and hear more stories. New friendships form and loneliness declines as young and old alike learn together and enjoy each otherâ€™s company. Incorporating these types of stand alone technology elements into other innovations would result in new innovations. For example, integrating the storytelling bend into an uber would allow older adults to tell their stories and younger adults to hear their experiences while doing daily chores. Pulling from various cultural traditions and incorporating these elements into new technology designs can help transfer inspiration from one generation to the next.
KEY OUTCOMES Why is this important?
How does this change the future of aging?
• Looking to other cultures provides inspiration for utilizing technology to integrate important elements of cross generational storytelling.
• Combining technology with cultural considerations of aging creates truly inclusive approach to changing not only our understanding of aging, but also our ability to do so.
• Cross cultural comparisons provide unique perspectives to consider our own understanding of how technology can be utilized to facilitate communication.
• Emerging technology better connects the generations in difficult spaces where time and distance separate people, such as rural locations, or in situations where co-location is challenging, such as icy winters.
• Using technology allows this storytelling and inspiration to be simultaneously convenient and unaffected by distance. We can give and gain inspiration on the way to the grocery store.
• Connections between generations become a routine part of our daily living, such as during commutes and running errands, allowing for regular enrichment opportunities.
â€œThe methodology was thought provoking. With the number of people living longer, we as a society should be thinking about how to embrace aging and realize that older people can still contribute.â€? - Debra Mozill (Retired) Former Sr. Director of Program Management Cubist Pharmaceuticals
CONVERGING DISCIPLINES Subject matter expertise is a valuable denominator for good reason - it allowed society to leapfrog, make discoveries and advance any discipline-specific body of knowledge.
of their disciplines while co-creating new language and a common understanding of what is required to identify problems, outline goals and work towards solutions.
However, the complex challenges we are facing today on a global scale can no longer be solved in one-dimensional ways. Inquiry needs to be informed by questions across disciplines. Answers become the product of recognizing a wider range of possibilities and stepping out of discipline-focused comfort zones. Developing appreciation and openness towards the language, methodologies, and tools of various disciplines allows us to harness alternate insights and viewpoints on a more holistic playing field while acknowledging the multiple facets of complex challenges.
Intentional curation is required for this type of collision since professionals typically donâ€™t intersect with other disciplines on a regular basis in their day-to-day work environments. Organizations aware of creating connective tissue will be best equipped to positions themselves for true impact in this new paradigm.
In order to translate discipline-focused expertise into tangible impact, we need to converge disciplines and create platforms where researchers and practitioners are able to explore the limits
This approach has been at the heart of our work at Accelerate, Wentworth Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center, and is reflected in the ThinkTank format we have developed to convene academia and industry across a multitude of disciplines.
â€œLife is a complex matter and requires the contribution of everybody. No matter the age, the competence, the skills, the knowledge that we have acquired in our lives, we all have something to share from very different perspectives that can help us foresee the future.â€? - Nicola Palmarini Global Manager - AI For Healthy Aging IBM Research
“It’s really important for a diverse group of people to participate in this ThinkTank because it’s not one sector or silo that is going to be able to transform how we reimagine or think about aging.” - Eli MacLaren Chief Market Maker Business Innovation Factory
BIG TO SMALL - SCENARIOS TO SOLUTIONS Conversations about the future are often hypothetical and aren’t grounded or relevant for today. Human tendency is to embrace the equilibrium, the status quo and the present. Both are tangible, impacting us here and now. “The future in contrast, is the field of possibility, uncertainty, and intangibility. Although the future is challenging, we can [...] better prepare, tackle, embrace [it] and even enjoy changes they happen.”21
“Scenario planning is a methodology that uses the inherent human capacity for imagining futures to better understand the present situation and to identify possibilities for new strategy”
intended to set the stage for a future world in which readers imagine themselves as actors and are invited to pay attention to deeply held assumptions about how the world works. What happens at a scenario’s horizon date is not as important as a story’s clarity of logic and how it helps open the minds to new dynamics while making it plausible.”24 We utilized future city scenarios as a context to open the minds of thought leaders and participants across different disciplines and embrace possible alternative futures they might not have previously considered. These scenarios created the backdrop to uncover and ideate towards opportunity spaces anchored within the human lens of different generations and abilities.
Future scenarios are not “about predicting the future. It [helps to] break the habit, ingrained in most corporate planning, of assuming that the future will look much like the present.”23 Future scenarios are important considerations, packaged in “unthreatening stories,” of how the future may evolve. “Scenarios are
Moving from scenarios to more concrete opportunity spaces informs the context for further investigation and creates the launch pad for participants and their organizations to develop strategies and tangible problem definitions that could lead to impactful solutions down the road.
“I like this format because there’s a tendency in any profession for the same people to talk to each other over and over again, so to come here and interact with people who have never really thought about aging and who have a different perspective than my own is really interesting.” - Alexandra Schweitzer Board President Goddard House
Design Thinking is a mindset and process originally attributed exclusively to the design profession. However, it has become increasingly popular in recent decades, being utilized within organizations and across disciplines to create value and competitive advantage in the development of products and services. Design Thinking provides a holistic context and framework to orchestrate and strategize around possible solutions for ambiguous and uncertain future challenges.
Based on Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO the following approaches can provide impact:
Its human-centered approach seeks to understand the underlying needs of consumers, populations, organizations, and systems. The process allows participants to tap into the unknown to uncover opportunity spaces and identify problems while asking questions, testing assumptions and ideating towards possible solution sets iteratively and in non-linear ways.
5 Create a surplus of ideas allowing you to eliminate some
1 Cultivate curiosity and a beginnerâ€™s mind 2 Experiment early and often utilizing divergent and convergent thinking
3 Collaborate across silos 4 Spread ideas packaged in stories along the way
Facilitators from innovation and design firms such as Business Innovation Factory, Essential Design, IDEO, Optum, Continuum, i2i Experience, and others provided expert guidance throughout the â€œFuture of Agingâ€? ThinkTank to ensure that all participants were able to immerse themselves in design thinking mindset and methodology while also experiencing the aforementioned approaches outlined by Brown.
â€œThis was a really interesting day because of the breadth of backgrounds that people brought to the table. I was impressed with the insights that my fellow ThinkTank participants were able to propose in a relatively short period of time.â€? - Greg Blonder Professor of the Practice - Mechanical Engineering Boston University
“If we’re living longer than we need to rethink everything - transportation, food, design, healthcare - an interdisciplinary group focused on a challenge like aging can create a collision of ideas that bring out ‘a-ha’ moments that are truly innovative.” - Carrie Earle Allen Executive Director - Captains of Innovation and Co-Founder - AGENCY CIC
â€œI think itâ€™s important to discuss any growing phenomenon in this world and aging is certainly one of them. With the rise of this older population, you can either embrace it with possibility and think about it as an opportunity or you see it as a problem instead of taking on this challenge with optimism and creativity.â€? - Ela Ben-Ur Principal I2i Experience
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? The “Future of Aging” ThinkTank was just the first step in an ongoing process to reshape the conversation around aging. Our participants brought forward an inspired dialogue about the ravaging effects of loneliness on the body and mind. A number of insightful solutions were formed to alleviate the impact that isolation and seclusion can have on the human spirit. The overarching theme which emerged was the need to make older adults feel valued and included in our society so that they can continue to make positive impacts on their communities. From here, we will need to be diligent in our efforts to continue the conversation and vigilant of harmful attitudes towards aging and older adults. By striking down these misconceptions and rethinking the way we and others around us perceive aging, the societal stigmas pertaining to the aging process will gradually diminish. We must also remember that the ThinkTank itself is only an initial springboard to build momentum for these conversations. Ultimately, it falls on us as a society to continue the necessary work towards actualizing positive outcomes around the “Future of Aging.” Most individuals interact with an older adult on a daily basis, whether it’s a loved one or a complete stranger. Being thoughtful about the way we handle those interactions can be an immediate remedy to a very small part of the problem we face regarding the societal perception of aging. Small gestures from a large number of people create great change, but the changes we must eventually make in the future will ultimately be on a much larger scale. Like many of the flaws inherent in our societies, some of the issues related to the way we think about aging are too systemic to confront on such a small level. We need to start by reinventing the way we think about the various aspects of an older adult’s lifestyle, from their housing and caretaking to their transportation and interpersonal connections. Getting older adults actively involved in their communities and treating them with more respect is a change we can make immediately, but creating more accessible transportation, more desirable senior housing, and perfecting their care will take time. Nonetheless, it is important that we not lose sight of these issues, no matter how many other pressing matters are at hand. Our older population continues to grow, and we can not afford to delay these conversations around how we can accommodate their needs within our communities.
We must continue making technological advancements that positively alter the quality of life for our older adults, and we must improve the accessibility of our current technologies. We can teach older adults about the benefits of the available technologies and how embracing these technologies can make their lives more enjoyable and productive. Beyond that, we should spend the necessary time and energy to consider how we can design for problems being faced by older adults since they are often a forgotten demographic of the population. As much as the same technology that aids young people can assist these older adults, they also face many challenges that younger people are not yet privy to in their daily lives. Our society has arbitrarily designated a certain age range as being fit for retirement but this will need to change as people increasingly are living longer. Therefore, the next generation of older adults might want (or need) to work beyond these accepted milestones. Solutions discussed at the â€œFuture of Agingâ€? ThinkTank that convened minds both young and old to collaborate on design projects produce new innovations and strategies that can positively impact the lives of older adults. The best way to address the current plethora of problems older adults face and foresee future problems is to ask for their input and further diversify our workforce to include people of all ages. Even with all of the great ideas outlining a path ahead, the work will never truly be done. We must continue ideating every day so that as new problems arise, we may address them. A number of specific facets of our society and the lives of older adults were uncovered, specifically loneliness/isolation, lack of mobility/access, and the loss of purpose, but there are many more than we could possibly have pinpointed with additional time. Thatâ€™s why we must continue to be mindful of the ways in which we can improve the lives of our aging population every day. From here, we ask that each of you find opportunities to continue the conversation initiated at the ThinkTank so that you become an active advocate for creating a more promising and meaningful future for people of all ages.
“We are living longer as a society and we have to plan for the future - not only for our parents whom we may be taking care of, but for ourselves and our children. The ThinkTank really makes a difference because you bring together ideas from different generations looking at an old problem and come up with new solutions.” - Kate Donovan Clinical Director of Innovation Boston Children’s Hospital
TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL With your mission in mind, we have a few more parting requests for you. It is absolutely vital that we not only continue the conversations that were launched at the “Future of Aging” ThinkTank, but that we share them with a diverse group of people who can contextualize these conversations using their own unique perspectives. The exercises that we participated in at the ThinkTank and that are detailed in this booklet will ideally provide you with a starting point to continue these conversations in your own communities. It is only through stress-testing these preliminary concepts amidst a network of interdisciplinary minds that we will find solutions to these issues. We ask you to share this booklet with friends, coworkers, colleagues, clients, and constituents so that we can receive their feedback and continue these important dialogues. And of course, please stay in touch with us! Our aims and objectives are taking us beyond this realization of the “Future of Aging.” Our hope is that you will continue to collaborate with us as we strive to create a brighter future for all ages and generations.
“What I participated in today was something I’ve never done before. The range of ideas, the excitement of younger people, the wisdom of the older people and to hear all of these different perspectives was extremely helpful and exciting. I’m really looking forward to the future now!” - Sandra Harris Former Principal S Harris Interiors
Chief of Staff and Chief Strategy Officer MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs
Robin is the Chief of Staff and Chief Strategy Officer for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the state agency that promotes the independence, empowerment and well-being of older adults, individuals with disabilities, and their caregivers. With projections over the next 15 years that 1 in 5 Massachusetts residents will be over the age of 65, Robin works on key initiatives to support what people want most—to age in their community. She has been the lead staff person supporting Governor Charlie Baker’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts and has serves on the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative, the backbone organization driving much of the age and dementia friendly work in MA. Robin is a seasoned healthcare executive and brings 40 years’ experience working extensively at the intersection of healthcare strategy, policy and implementation. She has held significant leadership roles in the public, notfor-profit, and private sectors, including Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Medicaid Program, the first-ever Vice President of Strategic Planning for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Managing Director at SBV Consulting (a subsidiary of a cutting edge eldercare company), Vice President for Partnership Development at Rise Health and was also an Executive-in-Residence at AVIA, a provider led innovation accelerator, focused on helping providers deliver better care and greater value at lower cost. She has also applied her experience by consulting with health care and other not for profit organizations on their strategic, planning, organizational, and business development needs. She worked with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation on Roadmap to Coverage, widely recognized as one of the key drivers in creating a climate to pursue health reform and passage of a first in the nation health access reform law. Robin has a BA from Connecticut College and a MBA in Health Care Management from Boston University. 116
Dr. Charlotte Yeh is the Chief Medical Officer for AARP Services, Inc. In her role, Dr. Yeh works with the independent carriers that make health-related products and services available to AARP members, to identify programs and initiatives that will lead to enhanced care for older adults. Dr. Yeh has more than 30 years of healthcare experience â€“ as a practitioner and Chief of Emergency Medicine at Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Tufts Medical Center, as the Medical Director for the National Heritage Insurance Company, a Medicare Part B claims contractor, and as the Regional Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Boston.
Dr. Charlotte Yeh Chief Medical Officer AARP Services Inc.
Steve was the co-founder and CTO of Mechanology, Inc. which grew to a 30 compressors and expanders along with steam turbines ranging in power from 150 kW to 3.5 MW. Steve has worked on and managed numerous multi-million dollar commercial and government contracts developing technology for automotive compressors, and solar-thermal power generation and is named on numerous U.S. and International patents. Steve joined Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2012 as a faculty member in the Mechanical Engineering Department and was a co-recipient of the William E. Roberts endowed professorship from 2015 to 2018. He is also an Ambassador to Wentworthâ€™s Accelerate center which is focused on developing innovation and entrepreneurship amongst its students and is a member of the instituteâ€™s Intellectual Property Committee.
Assistant Professor - Mechanical Engineering Wentworth Institute of Technology
Dr. Anne Luskâ€™s research has focused on comfortable and safe environments that will motivate women, children, seniors, parents with children on their bicycles, and individuals of color, with lower incomes, and from the world to bicycle. She has over 36 years of experience designing, permitting, and funding bicycle facilities and delivering keynotes, consulting, and conducting research on bicycle facilities.
Dr. Anne Lusk
Research Scientist Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Toby Patel first discovered his passion for helping others while working as an intern at the local emergency department in high school, which eventually led to a leadership role as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). In college, he became fascinated with the use of technology to improve lives. This led him to study the use of virtual reality as an alternative to traditional exposure therapy for veterans, police officers, and firefighters with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Eventually, Toby fell in love with mission-driven applications of technology, which drove him to join the Rendever team. At Rendever, he works hand-in-hand with senior living communities to encourage seniors to continue enjoying their passions and exploring the outside world through virtual reality.
Director of Community Engagement Rendever
Nondini Naqui is the former President and CEO of the Society of Grownups, a learning initiative that’s dedicated to opening up the conversation around money while engaging Millennials around this taboo topic. She led the initiative from it’s early phases of incubation at IDEO, through launch and then ran the business for the past 3 years. She is well versed in building start up brands from the ground up. At the Society of Grownups she was able to garner extensive PR and Media attention (195+ publications), and they were a finalist for Spike TV’s Funniest Commercial of 2015 won the 2015 Webby award and the Boston Globe’s Best of the New 2015. She also received the Ten Outstanding Young Leader award from the Boston Chamber of Commerce in 2016. Her career is varied across Marketing, Digital Product Management and Strategy functions, and she’s worked across different industries (Consumer Goods – KRAFT, Financial Services – ING DIRECT and social- co-founder Ethiopian Empowerment Initiative).
Former President & CEO Society of Grownups
She knows how to build and lead interdisciplinary teams including technology, product management, front end retail, consumer insights, and Brand. Since a strategic consolidation of the Society of Grownups business into the parent company MassMutual she’s been consulting for international Fortune 500 companies and exploring what’s next.
Dyan leads GE’s GeniusLink group, a global innovation service provider helping clients improve speed and performance by leveraging expert market methodology. The GeniusLink Expert Operating System delivers domain on demand. With over 21 million experts in their network and over $6 billion in business impact delivered, the group optimizes work with a better division of labor and intelligent automation. A consistent leader in the design and scaling of expert network business models – GeniusLink was awarded the prestigious 2015 Berkeley-Haas Innovation Award for Business Model Transformation; the 2016 Innovation Champion Award; 2017 Edison Innovation Gold Award, and 2017 Synthesize Business Innovation Impact Award. Prior to this role, Dyan served as GE’s Asset Optimization Software Marketing Leader – leading the launch of the GE Predix brand and coaching business teams on the development and commercialization of GE PredixTM Industrial Internet services. A 22-year GE veteran, Dyan has held executive marketing and product management roles in GE Capital businesses, delivering global strategy, marketing, sales, operational execution, and breakthrough business results. Before joining GE, Dyan led Corporate Marketing for Transamerica Distribution Finance until its acquisition by GE in 2004.
Director of Open Innovation & Advanced Manufacturing Founder of GeniusLink & GE Fuse GE
Dyan is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with an M.B.A. Degree in Marketing and Finance. She also holds a B.F.A. degree from Ohio University.
Jonathan Ablett, IHS Markit Rene Anand, Neurxstem Steve Bercu, LimeLaw and Boston Cyclists Union Jonas Brunschwig, swissnex Boston Kathy Burnes, Jewish Family and Children’s Service Tom Chung, Leers Weinzapfel Associates Joseph Cote, Navy Yard Consulting Leon David, Office of State Representative Dan Cullinane Michelle Davis, Wentworth Institute of Technology Kate Donovan, Boston Children’s Hospital Diane Dooley, DiMella Shaffer Carolyn Dunlavy, Memory.co Sandra Harris, S Harris Interiors Erich Jacobs, Onkol Brian Johnson, MassMEDIC Walter Kuketz, Independent Consultant Alexandra Lee, Sasaki Foundation Anne Lusk, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Jackie McCarthy, CTIA Dishon Mills, Grace Communion International Debra Mozill, Cubist Pharmaceuticals (Formerly) Mark Munroe, STERIS Nicola Palmarini, IBM Jeff Peterson, UG2 Solutions Shiva Prasad, UMASS Boston Alexandra Schweitzer, Goddard House Ariel Sherry, Cake Ali Titiz, Memory.co
Jasmine Andrade, Interdisciplinary Engineering | WIT Ethan Arrowood, Computer Science | WIT Maarouf Barry, Business Management | WIT Claire Boine, Research Scholar | BU Sarah Brewer, Master of Public Health | BU Alyssa Cooper, Computer Science | WIT Delson Da Silva, Mechanical Engineering | WIT Bailey Devoid, Architecture | WIT Sierra Flanagan, Applied Mathematics | WIT Cathleen Hallinan, Biomedical Engineering | WIT Saffron Mello, Biomedical Engineering | WIT Nabil Rabhi, Postdoctoral Associate | BU Joseph Schnackertz, Business Management | WIT Sophia Seltenreich, Business Management | WIT Shawn Toubeau, Computer Science | WIT
Tugba Arsava, Civil Engineering | WIT Greg Blonder, Mechanical Engineering | BU Steve Chomyszak, Mechanical Engineering | WIT Patricia Fabian, Environmental Health | BU Gerry Fine, Engineering | BU Judith Gonyea, Social Research | BU Chuck Hotchkiss, Architecture, Design & Construction Management | WIT Mark Klopfer, Architecture | WIT Michael Mozill, Business Management | WIT Sandy Pascal, Community Relations & External Affairs | WIT Charlie Pham, Computer Science & Networking | WIT Deborah Wright, Professional & Continuing Education | WIT Yugu Yang-Keathley, Electrical & Computer Engineering | WIT
GRAPHIC FACILITATOR During his studies as an industrial design student at Wentworth Institute of Technology, Adam Zapotok pivoted towards his passions in different subjects including sustainable design, social innovation, children’s medical design, ethnographic design research, and service design. Meanwhile, Adam would be introduced to graphic facilitation by Carly Hagins, his mentor and teacher. He currently is an Associate in the Design and Innovation team at C Space where he focuses on research but on occasion, gets to fly around the U.S. to “doodle” for large companies like Exxon and Nissan so that key stakeholders can retain more information from innovation workshops.
Associate in Design and Innovation C Space
Product Experience Manager UnitedHealth Group | Optum
Principal Experiential Innovation
Principal, Innovation Coach + Consultant i2i Experience
Chief Growth Officer Essential Design
Gabriel Mugar Design Researcher IDEO
Former Head of Design Thinking Fidelity
Brand Experience Strategist EPAM - Continuum
THINKTANK TEAM Monique Fuchs is an educator, organization designer, and strategic thinker who promotes the power of design, systems thinking, innovation and entrepreneurship across disciplines. For nearly 20 years Monique has created and implemented organizational change to foster progressive learning cultures and innovation ecosystems. She has acted as an entrepreneur initiating internal startups and new departments, turning around business units and launching new lines of businesses. Monique built a reputation as a maker and visionary, who values ideas, activates communities, enables stakeholders, and thinks across disciplines to discover opportunities and develop the future.
Dr. Monique Fuchs
Monique is currently Associate Vice President, Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Wentworth Institute of Technology. Monique founded Accelerate, Wentworth Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center in 2012 to create a more relevant model of education and to prepare talent for the ever changing work environment. The center serves a blueprint to evolve the strategic direction and expand the innovation agenda organization-wide. In addition to her experience and influence within the innovation and entrepreneurship realms, she supports educating the public about the impact of design and innovation in everyday life, education, and workplaces as an advisory council member at the Design Museum Boston.
Associate Vice President, Innovation + Entrepreneurship Founder, Accelerate Wentworth Institute of Technology
Dr. Gerry J. Fine is professor of the practice, director of the Engineering Product Innovation Center (EPIC) and executive director of Innovate@BU. Prior to his appointment at Boston University, Fine was president and CEO of SCHOTT North America, Inc. from 2008 until 2011. Dr. Fine was responsible for the overall strategic direction of the 16 production facilities and 3,000 employees of SCHOTT NA. His portfolio of businesses included solar, electronic packaging, advanced optics, lighting and imaging, and pharmaceutical packaging. During his tenure, SCHOTT NA revenues increased more than 50%. In addition to his duties at SCHOTT NA, he also served on the board of directors of six private companies.
Dr. Gerry Fine
Executive Director, Innovate@BU Director, EPICenter
Dr. Fine started his career at Corning in 1985 as a research scientist in the research and development division and served as manager, consumer products development from 1990–1992. He held management positions for Corning Asahi Video Products and was named deputy general manager-advanced display products in 1995. He was named vice president and general manager–photonic technologies division in October 1997. In December 2000, Dr. Fine was named executive vice president–photonic technologies. This division manufactured and sold optical components to the telecommunications industry. He was also previously a professor in the Department of Manufacturing Engineering at Boston University from 2003 until 2007, specializing in product and business development.
Danielle D. Duplin is an award-winning public speaking coach and strategic event curator, and innovation catalyst. Danielle combines her unique background in software engineering, executive leadership, and ideas theater to help clients inform, inspire, and influence their audiences. Previously, Danielle served as cofounder of TEDxBoston, an inaugural producer for HUBweek, and Vice President, Innovation and Technology at Fidelity Investments for 26+ years. Danielle currently serves as an advisor for the Federal Reserve Bank Working Cities Challenge, and a mentor for startups in MassChallenge and the FinTech Sandbox. Danielleâ€™s latest venture is co-founder and Global Launch Director of AGENCY: Worldwide Innovation for Living Longer and Aging Better; premium coworking space at CIC international hubs + high-touch programming + concierge ecosystem connections to amplify the work of age-tech innovators.
Co-Founder and Global Launch Director AGENCY@CIC
Eli MacLaren is a Chief Market Maker, leading Business Innovation Factoryʼs development efforts and is responsible for the startup and scale of the Experience Labs. With over a decade of experience in building and leading social ventures, Eli is an accomplished social innovator with a deep knowledge of the new platforms required to catalyze and scale social innovation. Eli joined BIF after serving as the Executive Director of the Maine Women’s Fund, a public foundation creating lasting change by investing in the power of women and dreams of girls in Maine. Eli is a systems thinker with a proven track record building institutions - setting strategic vision and direction, raising capital, managing and developing partnerships and growing and integrating cross-disciplinary teams. Before leading the Maine Women’s Fund, Eli served as Chief Program Officer at GlobalGiving, the first online philanthropic marketplace that enables donors to find and fund social entrepreneurs around the world.
Prior to GlobalGiving, Eli served as the International Director for Ashoka’s Citizen Base Initiative, where she worked with social entrepreneurs from around the world on strategies to finance and scale their work.
Chief Market Maker Business Innovation Factory
Pilar Botana is a Spanish architect and urban planner leading the design visualization group at Stantec Boston. She is responsible for creating images, animations and virtual reality immersive experiences to support the design process and successfully communicate the design intent with clients. She is also leading the DreamLab initiative, an internally funded research study that leverages off-the-shelf technology to create built environments that promote good sleep. Her design and research interests lie at intersection between public health and architecture.
Director, Design Visualization Stantec
David is the Executive in Residence for the Business Management Department at Wentworth Institute of Technology and a Partner at Roadrunner Moving and Storage in Charlestown. David has been fortunate enough to have had unique experiences over the course of his life. From living on the Schooner Appledore studying Humpback Whales, wandering Ireland in search of a story or camping in the Kalahari, all have greatly impacted his approach to business and education. David doesnâ€™t take himself too seriously, enjoys entrepreneurial pursuits, and actively seeks out interesting experiences, people, and communities. It allows him to recite a wealth of stories, connect the apparently disconnected spheres, and help others believe that making magic is possible. He is persistent in his pursuit to improve peopleâ€™s lives, is very active in the community and enjoys partnering people with projects, and building relationships around innovation. He is a graduate of UMass Boston and in addition to Roadrunner, has owned and operated multiple small businesses over the last 25 years.
Executive in Residence Business Management Department Wentworth Institute of Technology
CONTENT CONTRIBUTOR Sarah Gunawan is an architectural and educator whose work explores posthuman theory, diverse subjectivities, and entangled environments. She was the Reyner Banham Fellow 2017-18 at the University at Buffalo where her teaching and research focused on disrupting normative design processes through the lens of human aging. Sarah holds a bachelorâ€™s degree and a Master of Architecture from the University of Waterloo. Previously, she has worked for architectural practices in Canada, the U.S. and Europe including Lateral Office (Toronto), KVA Matx (Boston), and Taktyk Landscape Urbanism (Brussels).
Adjunct Faculty, Architecture Wentworth Institute of Technology
ORGANIZING TEAM Wentworth Institute of Technology Tory Lam Lead ThinkTank Operations Assistant Director of Team Development
Max Rollinger Director of Programming
VIDEOGRAPHER Alena Kuzub Tarah Llewellyn
CIC - Cambridge Innovation Center Carrie Earle Allen Executive Director
Bethany Hull Client Engagement Manager
Isaiah Walker Accelerate Fellow Alyssa Cooper Jake Danehy Misha Kharitonov Saffron Mello Avery Munoz Joe Schnackertz Shawn Toubeau
Micaelah Morrill Director of External Affairs
Kris Price Director of Implementation
Ryan Hathaway Coordinator
Katie Germany Assistant Head of Events
Jasmine Andrade Prarthna Bhaththiwala Christopher Boucher Griffin Campbell Jessica Ngaleu Abbie Ransdell
BOOKLET DESIGN + LAYOUT
Tory Lam Avery Munoz Gabby Pinto
GRAPHIC FACILITATOR CONTENT CONTRIBUTOR Sarah Gunawan
â€œ It was a great topic and a great atmosphere at the thinktank. Everyone had unique perspectives to offer and I had a great time bouncing ideas off people from different industries and other students.â€? - Cathleen Hallinan Biomedical Engineering Wentworth Institute of Technology
“AT ITS BEST, AGING MEANS CONNECTEDNESS. CONNECTEDNESS TO FRIENDS, FAMILY AND THE THINGS THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU IN LIFE.” - Jackie McCarthy AVP Regulator affairs CTIA
â€œI come from West Africa where the average age is going to be 19 by 2020. It is important for me to be at this ThinkTank so that I can think about how my own community is eventually going to respond to the challenges presented by a generational divide as we move into the future.â€? - Maarouf Barry Business Management & Entrepreneurship Student Wentworth Institute of Technology
CITATIONS 1 p.14
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25 p.101 Brown, Tim. “What are the Top 5 Behaviors of Design-Driven Organizations and Why Do They Matter?” Design Thinking, 16 Nov. 2017, https://designthinking.ideo.com/?p=1579. 167
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