When EML started our vision was clear, but the business plan was missing. We knew that global longevity (humans living longer) was bringing seismic change to our world – but nobody seemed interested! 

The early years were dedicated to finding out about longevity and more specifically what each of us could do to prepare for the changes ahead. With research in place we then worked with individuals and groups – our guinea-pigs – to learn from their experience of re-thinking later life. That’s when we encountered the Big challenges.

The first was not ignorance – most people are aware of longevity – it was their own pre-conceived ideas – which, we found, are deeply held and difficult to shift. It seems we see the experiences of our grand-parents and parents and expect the same for ourselves.

The second big challenge was action – how to motivate people to act and take steps necessary to change their future prospects. Experience from our guinea pigs showed that coaching worked but every client is different – requiring bespoke solutions.

One possible solution emerged from an unlikely source – one of this years Christmas count downs. In an idle moment while flicking through the digital channels I came across the last few minutes of a countdown of the world’s most popular toys.  The observation made was that the classic toys are ones that are a means to an end rather than an end in themselves.  Lego claimed top spot, but Meccano, Barbie and Action Man were close contenders.  They were prized by us because they enabled the ‘users’ – our kids – to let their imaginations run free.  

Perhaps this is the right solution for EML.  Coaching enables our clients to see and realise their dreams, but to reach the mass market maybe now we should focus on developing the tools that enable our ‘user’ to plan out and take action for themselves.

Now that’s a thought for the new year…!  

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Written by John Small

John’s business career started in the technology sector working with ICL and Fujitsu before moving to International Finance where organisational change and development has been a constant theme.