Discover more from Looking Forward by Stephen Johnston
Healthy longevity conferences. A list and some gaps.
LF94 | Sharing a list of healthy longevity / systems change conferences, and thoughts on what's missing in the space.
The growing importance of conferences
Far from a dying breed, in-person conferences are becoming ever more important. As Zoom fatigue sets in we relish the chance to make real connections, and meeting multiple partners and customers at the same time just makes sense.
The Looking Forward list
Here is a list of healthy longevity conferences that I’ve been tracking which area broadly in the theme of aging, longevity, and systems change. It’s filtered for 2023 and 2024, in reverse chronological order.
If you’re like to submit entries, you can add new ones here.
Impact happens mostly randomly
There are any number of benefits - deals, partnerships, acquisitions, and plain old morale boosts - from bringing together a diverse group of people in a room. These connections are mostly serendipitous, fuelled by food and drink and sometimes structured networking. The classics of this genre are investor conferences, in which capital and projects are expected to connect and collide. NIC and JPMorgan are probably the two leading examples here.
I’m interested to explore ways in which impact doesn’t happen just randomly, but is channeled into specific focus areas.
Two emerging themes
I see two themes emerging for future events: the longevity economy and commitments.
The longevity economy rarely features on mainstream aging and longevity conferences; they are still mostly about the challenges in the aging and healthcare space, not the broader economic impact and impact on other sectors. At OPTIMIZE, some of our better panels where were we had cruise line operators, consumer goods companies and / or financial services discuss the coming impacts of longevity on their business. NICA’s Longevity Cities is starting to head in that direction, with a focus on places and Mayors who have a holistic view of the topic.
I see commitments as another promising development. Conferences that are going to stand out are the ones that go beyond talk and start to map out an agenda to deliver real action. They’ll be where people want to return each year. Today’s complex challenges require mission-driven collaborative approaches that bring together multiple stakeholders around a theme, and events are natural convening points for this. Despite the flak it gets, WEF does this rather well, for example being the forum in which Procter & Gamble committed to reduce plastics in the ocean. Look out for events taking on this more proactive role - not just hosting conversations but ensuring that the commitments made on stage are recognized and helping deliver the follow up. This could be as simple as having corporate or civic leaders make measurable commitments for the following year (e.g. “We’ll have reduced loneliness by 50% in our town…”), or developing collaborative working groups that report back.
Know of a good event that’s not listed?
If you’re like to submit entries, here’s the link again - add new ones here. Hope you find it useful and let me know if you see events in particular that focus on the longevity economy and making commitments.