Blended Futures of Aging & Business Innovation

Communications and convenience giant (Nasdaq: RIMM) RIM, the maker of the ubiquitous Blackberry, sees a number of defining trends ahead. These reflect the themes of my own research and are cornerstones of the MIT AgeLab


Motley Fool's Dan Dzombak January 26 article, "4 Key Trends RIM's Futurist Foresees," reports on a talk given by RIM's Manager of Innovation & Technology Futurist, Joseph Dvorak, PhD. Dr Dvorak identifies four trends affecting the future of the smart phone:


(1) Aging world: the median age on the planet in 2000 was 26, by  mid-century it will be 36 and the number of people over 60 will triple -- to nearly two billion people; 


(2) Connectivity: smart phones, other devices and wireless providers will blur activity, place, and push trends we already see in social media and interaction;


(3) Empowered consumers: Consumers will continue to adopt tools that help them monitor and manage their relationship with companies, e.g., social media that advises on everything from restaurant choices, to financial services, to 'hey, where's my package?' 


(4)'Values' purchasing (e.g., green consumers). Values purchasing is not just for kids. Where there is a rise in 'color causes' (my phrase) -- buying green, supporting pink, and helping red -- aging baby boomers are increasingly interested in their social impact and legacy. That is, 'what am I contributing and what will I leave behind?'


Insight & Innovations


Alone these trends are interesting and business as well as government must be aware of their possible impact on the future. However, the future of aging and innovation is a blending of these trends - not the extension of any one. 


What happens when older consumers are ubiquitously connected, empowered and make purchase decisions on values beyond cost and quality? For example, what might wireless-enabled health or caregiving services in the pocket of an aging boomer look like? Will ubiquitous computing power, social media, and value purchasing create virtual collaborative networks of service providers for sandwiched boomers today and frail boomers tomorrow? Can you imagine the emergence of a 24/7 on-demand, always 'visible' on your smart phone, green, transportation service for a social network of 'friends?' 


The business opportunity is not to be simply aware of these trends, but to blend them, envision competing realities and to see these alternative futures as drivers of product and service innovation.


Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Scientists just voted to change the definition of a kilogram

The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.

Greg L via Wikipedia
Surprising Science
  • The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
  • Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
  • Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
Keep reading Show less