26 October 2006

MIT AgeLab

While on a private day-long consult for a major pharma company and their marketing agency, I met Dr. Joseph Coughlin, founding Director of the MIT AgeLab:
Our work is "use-inspired basic research." It seeks to be profoundly practical in everyday living -- transportation, health, communications, business, work & retirement, planning & decision making, play & recreation, and caregiving, while seeking to advance basic understanding of how aging impacts and is impacted by social, economic and technological systems.

Our research is motivated by a shared belief that the appropriate use of technology, along with innovations in delivery, can have a significant impact on the quality of life for older adults, their families and caregivers.

Our activities involve an array of disciplines including engineering, computer science, human factors, health and medical science, design, management, marketing, and the social and behavioral sciences.
As you can imagine, I've 'seen'em all' when it comes to presenters and pundits specializing in age-related issues. Dr. Coughlin's presentation was nothing I'd ever heard or seen before. Mind-boggling technological advances are already here or down the road apiece. Every company focusing on the 50+ market should grab him for a private consultation, every Baby Boomer marketing conference should book him.

The day was productive and fun. The three 'experts' were Dr. Coughlin, John Page from Yankelovich, and you-know-who. The numbers-cruncher wore a very conservative, gray suit, the academic a dark pinstripe and loud bow tie, and the ad guy a mock turtleneck and over-the-top orangey sport coat.

We were straight from central casting.

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