Entrepreneurs are restless thinkers, impatient doers, and intuitors who hear the wants of those without a voice. They see resistance as opportunities to challenge accepted assumptions, operational rules and unexamined routines. More than most, they understand that their only work role is to add value.
Rich Feller, PhD, Past-President, National Career Development Association
November 13 - 15, 2017,
Monday, November 13, Aging2.0 held a Start-Up Bootcamp in San Francisco, bringing together leading aging-focused entrepreneurs from around the world. "Our biggest challenge is to find techies outside the field of aging to talk with us," said attendees. The 115 participants in the morning Bootcamp and 160 participants in the afternoon Roundtable did not appear to have any problem talking with each other.
In Monday's day-long workshop, new start-ups learned from venerable entrepreneurs how to navigate the industry and reach their growth objectives. They gave and received support, introductions and mentorship and experienced educational tours of multiple senior care communities.
In the next two days, conference speakers made it very clear that the field of aging is booming, open to innovation and contributions. Eight hundred real estate developers, elder community administrators, non-profits, and related professionals joined techies to learn about new innovations in the field of aging.
Highlights of the Conference
Chip Conley, www.chipconley.com, American hotelier, hospitality entrepreneur, author, and speaker, founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality when he was 26. Now at the age of 57, he is author of an upcoming new book on "Modern Elder." Conley believes "we're on the precipice of a comeback of the elder" in a modern form in which the "older advisors and employees are not just mentors, but they're interns as well."
Yves Behar Founder and Chief Designer of Fuse Project, https://fuseproject.com/, designs products for home security, babies, individuals with disabilities, elders, and the general population. One of his designs, Aura Powered Suit, is innovative wearable technology that reacts to the body’s natural movements, adding muscle power to naturally complement the user’s strength in getting up, sitting down or staying upright. He also designed August Smart Lock, available at Amazon, and much more.
Dr. Bill Thomas, author, entrepreneur, musician, teacher, farmer, physician, co-created The Eden Alternative, founded The Green House Project, and recently conceived and designed Minka House. His concept of aging in place is homes that are totally accessible, small, and SMART., https://changingaging.org/blog/minka/.
The workshops on age-friendly communities throughout the world were especially inspirational.
Simon d'Entremont, Deputy Minister, Nova Scotia Department of Seniors, a civil servant for the past 30 years, has implemented many interesting and innovative practices. Like many communities in the United States, Nova Scotia has a high percentage of older residents, https://novascotia.ca/seniors.
A session on "Daily living and lifestyle: Cities as incubators for successful aging," highlighted model cities driving innovation in aging and best practices for collaboration between cities and tech companies to accelerate healthy, productive, and purposeful aging. The session featured case studies from Virginia and Colorado. Richmond, Virginia's autonomous vehicle pilot program is designed to promote engagement, mobility and social connectedness for older adults in a historically underserved neighborhood.
Centennial, Colorado recently established a city innovation team focused on aging services such as mobile and virtual senior centers, technology ambassador programs, universal design guides and a demo house/test-bed for senior products and services. Caroline Servat, Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, http://successfulaging.milkeninstitute.org, described Mayor's pledge for SMART cities includes planning and partnerships, inclusion strategies for people with disabilities. Paul Gunther, UX Designer, City of Centennial, discussed the city's mobile senior center, http://www.centennialco.gov/uploads/files/About%20Us/Centennial%20Annual%20Report_2016.pdf.
Panelists emphasized not just aging in place, but "thriving" in place. They noted that our cities and communities, generally designed for and by the young, are under-equipped to serve society across the lifespan. Enabling people to thrive, not just survive, where and how they want is a major challenge for our age. Topics covered by panelists ranged from thoughtfully designed products for everyday use to the rethinking of public spaces and communities.
Some of the leading Israeli tech companies in the aging space explained how Israel is leveraging an innovation ecosystem for aging. They shared specific opportunities for partnerships, and explored the R&D support structure (Aging2.0 Israel, incubators, accelerators, bi-national funds, grants, and investors) that help these startups find the essential support they need to move from concept to scale. The session featured companies bringing smart sensors paired with AI analytics, innovative care management systems and cognitive diagnostic data analytic solutions to aging and senior care.
The conference ended with presentations by five Global Startup Search Finalists, who will compete to become the 2017 Global Startup Search Winner. Finalists were from OnGuardian, Richmond, VA; SilverBills, Palo Alto, CA; SteadiWear, Toronto, Canada, Uniper, Tel Aviv, Israel, and Unforgetable, London, UK. The winner will be announced on the Aging2.0 website, https://www.aging2.com/global-startup-search/.
The real winner are age-friendly cities and individuals of all ages throughout the world.
About the author of this article...
I continually connect new businesses with communities of elders and pave the way to make their experiences mutually rewarding and beneficial. As former Engagement and Education Regional Director of a group of elder and assets living communities in the SF Bay Area, I have hosted several Aging 2.0 events. I connect entrepreneurs who recognize the importance of testing their products and services with aging-related organizations.