Below I've provided some conclusions from my newest book, Generation Reinvention: How Boomers Today Are Changing Business, Marketing, Aging and the Future. This 279-page book explores a growing body of research, arguments, insights, and speculation over how Boomers are impacting aging and commerce. Implications from my book are monetary and personal, local and international, intergenerational and multicultural. To learn why these conclusions are significant for your work and future, you can get a copy from online book retailers, including Amazon. Thank you for following my blog and, of course, your interest in Generation Reinvention.
AGING is a nonnegotiable part of the human condition, a biological imperative that binds, beckons, and bothers. Aging begets elderhood.
These are facts, immutable.
Also undeniable is flexibility of meaning about human aging: social, cultural, and institutional narratives remain malleable.
At this point it must be obvious that a provocative generation is marshalling its population dominance, economic force, and propensities for transformation, and then spearheading constructive change in business, culture, and society. In tandem with the Silent Generation, Boomers are addressing, edifying, and even attacking conceptions of aging, not biological constants but rather sociological and psychological context.
Implications are far-reaching, but here are some of the salient:
1. Boomers embody immense market potential for products and services typically associated with aging, but they expect features, benefits, and branding to address their styles and evolving sensibilities.
2. This generation also constitutes a compelling market for consumables, durable goods, and services traditionally thought of as the domain of youth markets.
3. Their online and traditional media habits are counterintuitive. They watch, listen to and read mass media in persuasive numbers.
4. Boomers sometimes over-represent emerging market segments reflecting the contemporary zeitgeist, such as Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability (LOHAS).
5. They are actively inventing myriad new businesses, large and small, that satisfy innermost impulses for reinvention and control.
7. Boomer hegemony over popular culture continues as generational icons and thought leaders create modern stories about aging and wisdom, portrayed with panache through television, movies, books, theater, and music.
8. Baby Boomer men are searching for greater meaning and opportunities in later life, and their quest creates stirring prospects for businesses, nonprofits, and institutions, as well as strong potential for new products and services.
Generation Reinvention is changing aging, so much so that some of these changes may only become obvious through the lens of historical reflection. But fifty years from now, as pundits and scholars reexamine this time and assess the final few decades of the post-World War II generation, I believe they will be kind in their critiques.
There will be tribulations along the winding path to greater age inclusiveness and lifelong engagement. There will be serious decisions for companies, communities and individuals to consider. Fundamental social changes do not come easily and never have.
But possible disadvantages of so many Boomers growing old simultaneously can be addressed, negotiated, and rendered manageable. In their wisdom, Boomers and older generations will search for optimum balance between life extension, long-lasting social and economic engagement, and inevitable dissolution. This generation will reinvent itself. Social, political, economic, and cultural implications are mostly encouraging.
Generation Reinvention is personal, community, institutional, business, economic, social, and political reinvention — a menu of extraordinary opportunities for those who understand the implications and embrace a reasoned and realistic vision of the future.