How to Make the Most of Longer Lives

This past September, I traveled to China for a meeting of the World Economic Forum, the so-called “Summer Davos.” It was a remarkable gathering–a non-stop global ideasfest, involving some 1,500 science, technology and business leaders, along with an impressive cadre of social entrepreneurs.

For all its uplifting features, the experience was also unsettling. Notwithstanding the brilliant efforts aimed at extending longevity and health represented at the gathering, it was hard to find even a handful of organizations working to make these longer lives something to genuinely look forward to. Indeed, the disparity at the World Economic Forum reflects a wider innovation gap in aging–too much effort aimed at extending life, too little at making that a good thing, for individuals or for society.

In this piece in today’s Wall Street Journal, I offer six concrete proposals to help close this distressing gulf–innovations that I believe have the potential to leverage the immense possibilities of a rapidly aging world and thus, transform it. I believe that such innovations–including new models for education, work, housing, even faith–comprise the necessary foundation required to meet the needs of all Americans, young and old alike. Ambitious as this may sound, it’s also essential.

My hope is that this piece will serve as a call and spur to action–to realize the true promise of longer lives. If you find the essay stimulating or useful, I would be very grateful if you would share it with friends and others you think might find it of interest. As always, I’d also love to hear ideas, thoughts and reactions.

Many thanks for your time–and for your leadership in the encore movement.