I think the world is a wonderful place. I put this up front because I really don’t want to come across as a doomsayer. That being said, I also believe the world could be a much better place. As a global society we are faced with a tonne of challenges: poverty, economic instability, climate change, resource decline, ageing and growing populations and more. These affect (or will affect) us all and it is in our interest to work together in addressing these. Rather than seeing this as humanitarian or philanthropic in nature and as something separate to the every day work we do, there are opportunities to turns these challenges into business opportunities where benefits are spread to those who need it most and innovative business models are used so that we don’t create additional unintended consequences. In doing so we can create greater alignment between the value creation of economic systems and our shared societal needs. I have one idea for how we might do this. It’s called Elderberry. Image a world where the older you get the more you are valued. Rather than being relegated to a place of obscurity in retirement, I imagine a future where older people are valued and they are actively engaged in society for as long as THEY chose. This drives my vision for Elderberry.
Elderberry connects wisdom with businesses by tapping into the latent potential of older people. It provides an opportunity for the exchange of wisdom between elder and younger entrepreneurs as they both strive to do interesting and meaningful work.
Globally populations are ageing. More and more people fall into age brackets where they are traditionally considered to be "too old", "lacking skills" or "less productive". The reality is that this group is living longer and facing the prospect of a longer retirement. Australian research shows that 2 mill Australians >55 years of age and outside the workforce are willing to work, could be encouraged to work, or are looking for work. This group of Australians has untapped potential and these figures are likely to be the same in many other countries around the world...
Globally are also seeing an increase in entrepreneurship and start-ups as people are seeking to work in meaningful ways and master their own destiny. These free agents rely heavily on their networks to exchange skills, knowledge and wisdom to realise their work and personal objectives. This group of young entrepreneurs has a need..
Elderberry's vision is to facilitate the connection between older people who hold wisdom (and are seeking a different, perhaps more entrepreneurial way of working) with start-ups and younger entrepreneurs seeking support to achieve their objectives. Elderberry can create multiple benefits:
- It provides elders with intellectual, social and financial benefits by providing them with an entrepreneurial pathway for continued workforce participation that is flexible and on their terms.
- It provides businesses with an external perspective based on years of experience and knowledge to assist in addressing pressing business needs and strengthening personal and organisational resilience.
- It provides socio-economic benefits through increasing workforce participation, reducing the negative impacts of the changing age dependency ratio, and addressing accelerating skills shortages.
Elderberry can facilitate connections between people with diverse ways of thinking, attitudes and perspectives and help them find common ground through the exchange of their respective experience and wisdom.