Ken Dychtwald, PhD: A World-Renowned Futurist Creating New Waves In A Maturing Marketplace


Dr. Ken DychtwaldFounder and CEO of Age Wave is the foremost visionary and original thinker regarding the lifestyle, marketing, health care, economic, leisure, and workforce implications of the age wave. He is also a psychologist, gerontologist, and best-selling author of 18 books on aging-related issues. His company, Age Wave has grown in leaps and bounds and established a strong footprint in the global market because of his exemplary leadership skills and extensive 40+ years of experience.  

The Inspiration Behind The Inception Of Age Wave 

It all began in 1974 when he was focused on finishing writing his first book, BodyMind, and completing his doctorate in Psychology. He was invited to co-found a pioneering research initiative called the SAGE Project, which came to be funded by the National Institutes of Health. “We set out to see if some of the progressive new approaches to wellness such as biofeedback, meditation, yoga, and nutrition could reverse some elements of aging decline. The project was so successful that it became the model for similar programs all over the world,” shares Dr. Ken. 

A few years later, in 1982, another piece of an emerging puzzle fell into place. The extraordinary CEO became an advisor to what was then called the Office of Technology Assessment, the non-partisan Congressional think tank. For several years, the team of demographers, gerontologists, sociologists, urban planners, engineers, and physicians focused on studying how demographic changes were going to transform the modern world. They looked at and talked about how birth rates were flattening, baby boomers were getting older, and longevity was increasing.

What struck him was that they had constructed the current world to match the form, fit, and stage of life for the young – and that was all about to change dramatically. There would be more 50-year-olds, 70-year-olds, 90-year-olds, and 110-year-olds on the planet than ever before. And we were unprepared – in every conceivable way, from the auditory range in our phones to the focus of training in medical schools. Here, Dr. Ken intended to play a key part in assisting our globe in preparing for the aging of our population. 

To both help midwife this age wave and also capitalize on the growing number of businesses who were becoming interested in these demographic changes, together with my wife Maddy, I started Age Wave in 1986. Our hope was to become America’s leading think tank, and consultancy focused on this phenomenon. The business got off to a roaring start and has continued to evolve and morph ever since (,” asserts Dr. Ken. 

Age Wave’s Mission 

Age Wave is the renowned thought leader on issues relating to an aging population with great expertise in the profound societal, cultural and business implications. Under the wise leadership of Dr. Ken, the company has a unique understanding of the body, mind, hopes and demands of new generations of maturing consumers and workers and their expectations, attitudes, hopes, and fears regarding retirement. Today, the company’s mission is and has always been to build stakeholder value while: 

  1. alerting the world to the power of the coming age wave and the vast opportunities and challenges it holds; 
  2. liberating the marketplace from its ageist perspectives and youth-obsessed orientation; 
  3. preparing both our healthcare system and consumers for the chronic health/longevity challenges of tens of millions of older adults and their caregivers; 
  4. turbocharging global scientific research to beat Alzheimer’s before it beats us. (Why Alzheimer’s? Because this disease could be the sinkhole of the 21st century;)  
  5. envisioning and activating a new purpose for older adults. 

We feel it’s our job to help companies and governments see what’s coming and envision the new solutions required to meet the needs of this unprecedented longevity revolution.

– Ken Dychtwald, PhD

Stellar Services And Products 

The industrious CEO states that since Age Wave’s inception, more than half of the Fortune 500 companies have used its services and products to position and prepare for the new mature marketplace, including: 

  1. Keynote presentations that educate and motivate audiences about the prospects and challenges of a maturing marketplace. More than 2.5 million individuals have viewed its live and virtual presentations worldwide.
  2. Thought-leadership research that reveals seminal key trends and implications of our maturing population. To date, its research, which is usually done in collaboration with its clients, has garnered more than 20 billion media impressions worldwide.
  3. Books, reports, and documentary films that focus on the emerging age wave and its social and marketplace implications.
  4. Education and training programs to educate and enable professionals in a range of fields from medicine to financial services.

Enriched By Its Core Principles and Talented Team

Core principles and Teamwork always play a crucial part in the growth and success of any organization. At Age Wave, Dr. Ken has built a team of highly-skilled, seasoned, and multidisciplinary professionals who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience about the social, lifestyle, marketing, and financial implications of an emerging mature marketplace. Furthermore, team Age Wave is enriched by the core principles they live by

  • Respect maturity and speak with a vibrant, hopeful and inspirational voice
  • Be passionate and continue to learn
  • Be a bit outrageous and have fun
  • Be successful at being the absolute best at what we do

The Role of Innovation in Age Wave’s work

During the past century, breakthroughs in medicine, public health, and lifestyle management have caused two unprecedented trends: declining fertility and increasing longevity. These demographic forces, together with increasing numbers of older adults due to the aging of the massive Baby Boomer generation, are creating an “age wave.” In fact, two thirds of all the people that have ever lived past 65 in the entire history of the world are alive today!

This age wave is an engine that will disrupt and drive the cultural and business marketplace for the rest of our lives. Seizing this massive growth opportunity is going to require a fresh appreciation for today’s and tomorrow’s older adults: what they’ll want to feel, eat, drive, wear, and buy; and how they’ll want to enjoy their longer lives and find purpose in their newfound time affluence. I’ve always been captivated by II – “Imagination Intelligence.” What are we going to look like in the future? How are we going to feel when we’re 90, or 100, or 150? What is the ideal purpose of two billion older adults? What are the pros and cons of six generation families? Will retirement, as we now know it, even exist? Can we begin to imagine all the products and services that are going to be needed by this longevity revolution? 

Flexible To Pandemic Disruptions

Although older men and women have far more health risks when it comes to COVID, we’ve actually seen our business multiply during the pandemic,” states Dr. Ken. He observed that companies have grown acutely aware that the financial and psychological/emotional well-being of older persons has improved overall, whereas the well-being of young adults has had the wind knocked out of them. 

As a result, during the pandemic, various organizations sought Age Wave team’s knowledge, experience, and services to better understand and satisfy the needs, desires, and problems of this enormous population group, which is staying true to their objective to improve the lives of tens of millions of maturing people. “We virtually delivered more than 100 keynote presentations, conducted four seminal research studies in partnership with Edward Jones ,including the highly newsworthy Four Pillars of the New Retirement (which garnered 4.5 billion media impressions), produced and aired the public television special, Life’s Third Age, and I published two books, What Retirees Want: A Holistic View of Life’s Third Age, and Radical Curiosity: One Man’s Search for Cosmic Magic and a Purposeful Life, my sort-of memoir,” optimistically Dr Ken comments. 

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