Amplify in Australia -- A Trip for the Ages

If you're over 50, or ever will plan to on it, Australia is the place to be the first week in June. Quite remarkably, one of Australia's most important and successful companies -- AMP, an Annuities Financial Services Company -- is transforming its Sydney (national capitol) and Melbourne corporate offices into "learning campuses" for the nation and the world. And chief among its "learning paths" will be how to transform our longevity -- the most massive and transformational megatrend of the next 40 years -- into a driver of business creativity, innovation and economic growth. Wow, and you thought growing old was about gloom and doom. Turning the received wisdom on its head, AMP has been breaking ground with its Amplify Festival.

What's really cool about AMPLIFY is that it's about business innovation, market disruption and the virtues of economic growth from which a thoroughly optimistic view of population aging is born. They're of course not alone as we see companies from Intel to GE, AEGON to Nestle Skin Health, Home Instead to Bank of America Merrill Lynch increasingly putting this "aging thing" at the center of their considerations for growth strategies. No doubt each of them paid some attention to the S&P 2010 Global Aging Report, which after all is a basis for S&P Rankings and not an inconsequential barometer.

Of course, there is context in all this, with Australia itself at the cutting edge of this demographic shift. A small country by population of roughly 25 million, when 5.5 million are today, you know there is a need for profound and fundamental structural shift from what was so comfortable in the 20th century. Not surprising, therefore, that as the nation continues to benefit from longevity it will get to the point where by mid-century we can expect close to 40% of the population to be over 65. No wonder the Australian government is beginning to prepare: by 2035, it will raise its official, national retirement age to 70. Or that the government has also recently passed a law that gives cash incentives for employees who employ those over 50 and out of work. This is not social policy, but really good economic and fiscal policy -- what seniors across the globe want and need. Policy many of their Asian neighbors - China, South Korea, Singapore and Japan might well want to have a closer look.

Getting to Australia is a wonderful vacation. But if you're interested in healthy and active aging, this June around Amplify would be a great time to go. You'd have lots of fun, learn something, and be part of one of the most invigorating national innovation forums anywhere on the planet. And if you're over 50 you'd be particularly welcome, as is clear from AMP's Chief Customer Officer, Paul Sainsbury so clearly says, "As older people leave the workforce they take with them their skills and experiences, while many younger people are struggling to find work. As a consequence it might mean that young people are not getting the experiences to do their jobs in the future". Not if Amplify has anything to say about it!