Emma Birchall at Future Talent 2018

Written by
Sarah Wild

24 Jul 2018

24 Jul 2018 • by Sarah Wild

What does it mean to live to 100 years of age?

In a thought-provoking talk about what extended lifespans mean for individuals and organisations, Emma Birchall sounded the death knell for the traditional ‘three-stage life’ of education, work and retirement.

“My hypothesis is that we’re going to break up these three stages in a way that’s so much better for all of us,” she said.

Instead of “front-loaded education”, there will be lifelong learning; work will no longer have a hard start and stop date, and leisure time will be woven throughout our lives rather than combined in a lengthy retirement.

To survive a career that is a “50-year marathon rather than a 30-year sprint”, we will need to take the same rigour we apply
to managing our tangible assets (savings, pensions and homes) and apply it to our intangible assets (productivity, vitality and transformation), argued Birchall.

This, she believes, will involve anticipating future skill sets (as individuals and employers) and prioritising learning alongside current productivity. It will also mean “rethinking the sequencing and pacing of our working lives”.

“Are we taking time to build regenerative friendships?” she asked. “Are we encouraging people in our organisations to do the same?”

Managing transformation will require us to get better at change, developing self-knowledge via diverse experiences and networks.

“My challenge to you today is to think about what’s happening with your intangible assets,” she told the audience. “Where are you on the chart now and in six months?”

To watch an exclusive Q&A, as well as Emma's presentation, click here