A jar of hope
I placed a handful of Lego blocks in a jar and asked my kids to describe to me what they saw.
Different colours. (Well, that’s the obvious one.)
Then my six-year-old daughter said: “A jar of hope.”
There. She nailed it.
These Lego blocks represent all of us as a human race. While we might be from different backgrounds and families, with different life journeys and different outlooks in life, we are all part of the universe.
When we look at diversity, it needs to and must extend beyond gender. Diversity of thoughts, age, ethnicity, social economic backgrounds, and beyond; these are all factors, visible or not, that make us who we are as a person. They influence the decisions we make on a daily basis, whether consciously or subconsciously.
We are all different – just like the Lego pieces.
When I look at the innovators in our ecosystem, the same story unfolds. We have a founder who is a baby boomer and a three-time entrepreneur, whose solution is inspired by his caregiving experience for his mother. We have a Wall Street banker turned entrepreneur, who pursued a master of science degree in artificial intelligence (AI) and founded her fintech company, inspired by her father’s financial needs. We have a former US attorney and a former senior executive, who joined forces to form a fintech company focused on leveraging technology to fight financial exploitation, inspired by their own life experiences.
While we may be diverse, we are committed to innovating to meet the needs for all as we age, putting our collective intellect and passion together to make the world a better place. And to change the perception and realities of aging – one person at a time. A new normal is upon us. Since the early 1900s, we have added extra thirty living years. By 2020, we will have five generations working side by side. We are all living longer, healthier, and more productive lives. How we take advantage of this opportunity to learn and to grow is upon each of us.
Much like the blocks that are used to construct different creations, diverse minds are the cornerstone of innovative solutions. Aging is not homogeneous; neither should our solutions. By leveraging the bright minds and life experiences from all communities, collectively, we can create a more empathetic society to address the challenges and opportunities of longevity.
There is much we can learn from each other, especially the youngest amongst us. And just like the jar of hope, if we keep our minds and our hearts open, magic happens.
By Theo Lau
She is the founder of Unconventional Ventures, which focuses on developing and growing an ecosystem of corporates, entrepreneurs, and VCs to better address the unmet needs of consumers, with keen interests in women and minority founders.