Short Biography

Joseph F. Coughlin, Ph.D. is Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. His research provides insights on how demographic change, technology, social trends and consumer behavior will converge to drive future innovations in business and government. Based in MIT’s Engineering Systems Division, he teaches policy and systems innovation and is author of the on-line publication Disruptive Demographics. He is one of Fast Company Magazine’s ‘100 Most Creative People in Business’ and was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of “12 pioneers inventing the future of retirement and how we will all live, work and play tomorrow.” Dr. Coughlin is a Behavioral Sciences Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and a Fellow of Switzerland’s World Demographics & Ageing Forum advising and speaking to businesses, governments and non-profits worldwide. He has served numerous advisory boards including those for British Telecom Health, Daimler, Fidelity Investments, Gallup, Healthways, Nissan, Putnam Investments, Sanofi-Aventis, and Toyota. He was appointed by President Bush to the White House Conference on Aging Advisory Committee. Dr. Coughlin has worked with  governments in Asia and the EU, the World Economic Forum, OECD, and the Council on Foreign Relations on demographic change, technology and strategic advantage. He has been featured  on ABC News, BBC, CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, Dr. Oz, News Asia, Economist, Financial Times, The Straights Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets throughout the world. Prior to MIT he was with EG&G a Fortune 1000 science & technology firm consulting to business and government worldwide.

Full Biography

Joseph F. Coughlin is founder and Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab – the first multi-disciplinary research program created to understand the behavior of the 45+ population; the role of technology; and, the opportunity for innovations to improve the quality of life of older adults and their families.  Dr. Coughlin’s research focuses on how the convergence of baby boomer expectations and technology will shape the future of public policy and drive innovation across global industries — including the financial services, transportation, foods, insurance, health, IT, telecommunications, and retail sectors. He has published his work in a variety of business, engineering, product design, behavioral science and policy journals. Dr. Coughlin’s insights on the impact of technological and demographic change on business and government are captured in his on-line publication Disruptive Demographics.

He is one of Fast Company Magazine’s ‘100 Most Creative People in Business’ (June 2009). The Wall Street Journal (February, 2008) named him one of America’s 12 pioneers inventing the future of retirement and aging. Dr. Coughlin was recently recognized by the Visiting Nurse Association as a Home Health Hero for his research in technology-enabled innovation in home healthcare services for the elderly. Dr. Coughlin is the 2008 recipient of the Gerontological Society of America’s Maxwell A. Pollack Award for Productive Aging for demonstrated excellence in translating research into practical application or policy improving the lives of older people.

A Fellow of Switzerland’s World Demographic Association, he is currently contributing to a number of national and international initiatives examining the impact of demographic change on business strategy and public policy. For the World Economic Forum Dr. Coughlin advised the development of scenarios for the “Financing Demographic Shifts Report” addressing health and pension policies in aging societies. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Demographic Shifts.

In 2005 President Bush appointed him to the White House Conference on Aging Advisory Committee where he served on the group’s Market Innovations sub-committee. Dr. Coughlin was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences Steering Committee on Technology and Adaptive Aging and the Board of the American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Healthy Aging. Previously he served as the Chair of the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development’s (OECD) Task Force on Technology and Transportation for Older Persons. Dr. Coughlin has presented testimony on aging and innovation before the US Senate Committee on Aging, National Governors Association, OECD and at the European Commission.

He is a member of the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board Advisory Committee on the Safe Mobility of Older Persons. He recently chaired for the National Academy of Sciences and US Department of Transportation’s Research & Innovative Technology Administration the national symposium Impact of Changing Demographics on the Transportation System which examined the impact of aging, gender, immigration, and changing racial and ethic patterns on the nation’s transportation system.

Within MIT’s Center for Transportation & Logistics, Dr. Coughlin leads the New England University Transportation Center, a US Department of Transportation-sponsored education, research and technology transfer program that funds an MIT-led consortium of schools that includes Harvard University and each of the six New England state universities. A major focus of the consortium is understand how the disruptive demographics of aging and new technology will impact the formulation and implementation of national transportation policy.

A frequent guest on news programs, his work has been featured in both print and on television – ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, NBC, News Asia, Economist, Financial Times, The Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets throughout the world. Prior to joining MIT Dr. Coughlin was with EG&G, a Fortune 1000 science and technology company, where he led the transportation technical services & logistics consulting practice serving industry and government worldwide. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at OswegoBrown University and Boston University.