“Houston we have a problem. New York we have a problem.Cleveland,Birmingham we have a problem.” The list of cities and towns with this problem goes across America. The problem is we see no value in older people. No value in Boomers either. Achieving this Moonshot is about revealing evidence that there is financial, and social value to being older. And Boomers are coming back to make sure this happens. I can hear their rockets firing from way over here. Retiring = Death. In more ways than one.
A Sneak Peek.
Recently a friend retired from an organization that calls her back for special projects. “Tuck, I’m helping the company’s franchisees sell their businesses and making the succession transition easier. They don’t have anyone around anymore that has the experience.” This brain drain she tells me will come more and more apparent. Look at the studies and evidence from Kaufman Group to Wharton College that note individuals over 55 are almost twice as likely to launch high growth startups. And have sustained success.
The Challenge: Value in Being Older.
Right now we have no set standards of why older people are of any value ?
Our societal declaration in advertising and media communicates to women in their 40’s that they are almost toast. Gray haired is colored in by a lot of worried men in their 50’s. Since the 1960’s the accelerator of thought has been floor boarded that Youth is the gold standard. So how do we show worth in older individuals?
There are 3 fronts of attack to answer this Moonshot of Value for being older.
1)Self Awareness- People have to understand and believe that they are worth value to society and business. 2) Society has to recognize the value. 3) Business has to see overwhelming value. There are a lot of moving parts here.
As an advertising guy I see part of it coming as a robust public service campaign. Cities across the U.S. were finally successful with their communication campaigns against trash and litter. From “Pitch it in the basket” to “Don’t Mess With Texas” and the “Truth” campaign was spot on in diminishing the attractiveness of cigarette smoking. An “Age Value” campaign with smarts, clever execution, and real evidence needs to go forth.
Why It’s Better Now.
Some scientists are engaged in the fight. You’ll find my book Design Your Age offers some tools of showing how people are more valuable, but we can always use more bang for the boomer here. Meet Dr. Nancy Morrow Howell a brilliant, Gerontologist and Professor at the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at Washington University in St Louis. Nancy is looking at communication, guidelines to help older adults and getting a wide spectrum of ages to team together on solutions. The same goes for the work of Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes with the Institute of Aging at Boston College. Or the work of Mick Smyer, Former Provost at Bucknell University and others. Their work and classes are building newly recognized foundations of value.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ? BE IN MY MOVIE.
Help me and email me why it’s better now. Tell me what is better now that you are older. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’d like your words, your iphone video or your skype call. I’m going to film it. Help me plant this flag. This Moonshot isn’t about hanging your bare bottom out a car window. It’s about reaching for something higher. Showing how value for older people is truly out of this world good.