Joseph F. Coughlin

Founder and Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab

Translating aging, socio-economic/technology trends into business & policy innovation

The Financial Times profiled him as a ‘guru in global aging’ and Money Magazine dubbed him a ‘retirement game-changer’.

Dr. Coughlin teaches in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies & Planning and the Sloan School’s Advanced Management Program. His research focuses on how demographic change, technology, social trends and consumer behavior drive innovations in business and government.

He was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of “12 pioneers inventing the future of retirement…,” and by Fast Company Magazine as one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business.”

Dr. Coughlin was appointed by President George W. Bush to the White House Conference on Aging Advisory Committee and has advised non-profits, governments and corporations worldwide.

He is writing a forthcoming book with Public Affairs Press examining the convergence old age, business & technology.

Dr. Coughlin conducts research, speaks and consults on the impact of global demographic change and technology trends on consumer behavior, business innovation & public policy.

Below are some past presentation titles.

  • The New Realities of Life Transitions & Well-Being
  • Disruptive Demographics: Transforming the Future of Financial Services & Advice
  • Walking in Your Customer’s Shoes: Consumer-Centered Innovation & the Future of Healthcare
  • Boomers, Technology in the Age of Disruption
  • Technology, Longevity & New Questions for Old Age
  • Understanding the New Older Customer: Transforming the Future of Financial Services and Advice
  • Demography is Destiny: How Population Change Will Disrupt the Who, What & Where of Investment Tomorrow

Current Research Interests

  • How framing influences decision-making across generation & gender, e.g., health, well-being & retirement

  • What impact does the media have on Millennial, Gex X & Boomer trust and use of advice?

  • How does global longevity disrupt the current economy and create new investment opportunities?

  • Impact of generational lifestyles on the future of transportation and community/real estate development?

  • Factors affecting human-machine interaction/technology adoption across age and gender, e.g., IoT, autonomous vehicles, robotics, telecare

Selected 2015 business keynote lectures include:

  • American Appliance Manufacturers Association, Washington DC
  • Fortune 100 Board of Directors Forum, New York, NY
  • Global CEO Forum, London, UK
  • Global Investment Summit, Paris, UK
  • Xerox Health Information Technology Summit, Phoenix, AZ
  • JP MorganChase Real Estate CEO Conference, Park City, UT
  • Life Insurance Manufacturers Retirement Association, Washington, DC
  • Milken Institute Global Conference, Los Angeles, CA
Travels From:  Massachusetts
City: Boston
$30,001 and Up


Joseph F. Coughlin, Ph.D. is founder and Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab.

He teaches policy and systems innovation in MIT’s Sloan School of Management Advanced Management Program and the Department of Urban Studies & Planning. Author of over 150 publications, his research explores how demographic change, technology and social trends converge to drive future innovations in business and government.

Coughlin publishes the online publication Disruptive Demographics and is a regular contributor to Wall Street Journal MarketWatch. He is one of Fast Company Magazine’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” and one of the Wall Street Journal’s “12 pioneers inventing the future of retirement and how we will all live, work, and play tomorrow.” The Financial Times profiled him as a ‘guru in global aging’ and Money Magazine dubbed him a ‘retirement game-changer’.

He frequently appears on news programs including the BBC, CBC, CBS, CNN, NBC & Japan NTK. He is a Gerontological Society of America Behavioral Sciences Fellow and a Fellow of Switzerland’s World Demographics & Ageing Forum. He has served on advisory boards for British Telecom, Daimler, Fidelity Investments and regularly consults and speaks to businesses, governments, and NGOs worldwide.

Coughlin spoke at Falling Walls in Berlin on the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and keynoted the 2014 Nobel Prizes in Stockholm. This summer he spoke at the White House on technology innovations to support a lifespan of 100 years and this fall will address the Annual Meeting of the National Academies Institute of Medicine (IOM).

He has testified before Congress, the National Governors Association and the National Transportation Safety Board and was appointed by President George W. Bush to the White House Advisory Committee on Aging. Coughlin chaired the multination OECD Task Force on Older Adults and Transportation Technology in Paris.

Prior to joining MIT, Coughlin was with EG&G, a global technology company, where he consulted to the Departments of Defense, Transportation, State and the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. Coughlin was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the State University of New York for his contribution to research and policy to improve the lives of older adults. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego (BA), Brown University (AM) and Boston University (PhD)


Areas of expertise

  • Aging
  • Future Trends/Futurist
  • Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Innovation
  • Multi-Generational

Related Speaking Topics

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