Ton Koper is the president of the board of the Swiss powerAge Foundation, an organisation that is looking to be the first trading platform for experience. As an end-user and panellist at the AAL Forum, Ton’s voice resonated advocating his knowledge on the importance of repositioning AAL’s unique pool of skills and talents to ensure the idea of age and ageing well changes immensely.
“Changing the way we age is a must,” said Koper when asked what he thought of AAL beyond 2020. “And so we need to change how we, how AAL position’s itself.
“There are so many baby boomers and they are living longer that there is, or will be, no country rich enough to pay for them. We need to start really thinking about the possibilities the baby boomers offer with regards to their own skill sets and how we age well in the digital age.
“We need to move away from thinking we need to go to Google or Facebook – the big companies – with ideas saying, look we have something for you for your older users. Baby boomers are anti-authoritarian, it’s in their DNA to do things themselves, and this is the idea of the prosumer. The end-user should become the producer – and AAL should listen. This is the shift in power and possibilities that will change how we age and prevent us becoming an adult in a disastrous surrounding.”
The powerAge Foundation is a market-ready example of how we can do this and think outside of the ageing demographic box and effectively use the resources available to us to make a positive impact to society. powerAge Foundation’s Experience Bank is at the beginning of its 2019 take-off with the belief that, “our ageing society has a huge fortune of experience which is growing and yet very few of us know how to deploy that fortune – that wealth,” said Koper.
“We’re living in a digital age that offers so many new possibilities and so we have founded a joint bank of baby boomers, each with 40% of the shares, where we – end users – can put our experiences, our human capital together and exploit this age wealth asset.”
The Experience Bank is for citizens aged 55 to 80 and rewards them for actively getting involved in the community and benefiting the silver economy. The first task was to make an asset allocation on experience-based skills, which have been split into three sectors: art skills, soft skills, passion skills.
“These sectors allow end-users to think, now I really want to do things! It’s a bucket list for participation, actions and jobs that I never thought of but now I really want to do,” said Koper. “Second, this bank opens up and makes the market place more accessible for end-users and finally, end-users have a wallet to decide what they want to do with their experiences on the market.
“They might think that with this wallet I have the opportunity to donate money, with another one I am going to ask for payment for something, another I am going to exchange for two-hours experience working as a book keeper, and this one I don’t need money but instead I want to be among people sharing experiences and ultimately staying in contact with society,” added Koper. “That’s the trick, giving control back to the user.”
Koper is aware that concept’s revolving around end-user involvement is poorly underused, however believes that by allowing end-users to play a bigger role and helping them find their unique set of art, soft and passion skills they are not only given the reins to their own independence, they are actively living healthier lives whilst strengthening an otherwise suffering economy.
With AAL beyond 2020 as a key action for the 2018 AAL Forum, Koper’s Experience Bank and the concept of the age wealth asset is an opportunity Koper believes AAL should not miss to be a part of but is currently lacking vision. He said that, “AAL should know that its large community of knowledge and experience all focused on active and healthy ageing is unique world-wide and should not be pushed away. However, to go forward, AAL should reposition its target.
“It could do this by focusing on the European identity by giving meaning and purpose to everybody, not just technologies. We shouldn’t talk about ageing instead we should talk about longevity – it’s less discriminating and far more positive. Then there’s the need to be more active in using the exclusive skills and talents of those in the AAL ecosystem 365 days of the year.”
At this year forum however, Koper has seen change, he said, “People are reacting, questioning more things and there’s a lot of playful interactions. But AAL disrupts – that’s what we need to hear for things to change not just in AAL but in how we are ageing.”