For Impact


The Encore Generation

Blog | | Nick Fellers

The Encore Generation is one of those phrases like Tipping Point or The World is Flat. It’s sticky, captures a huge concept and has real staying power.

This phrase comes from Wilford Welch and Tactics for Hope: How Social Entrepreneurs are Changing the World. The book is strong bid but this one small nugget about the Encore Generation really stuck out for me.

"Something new and… powerful is happening with men and women of retirement age who are addressing many of challenges around the world. Unlike their grandparents, they can expect to live longer and stay relatively healthy and active for twenty or thirty years past retirement age. They have skills as a result of years of professional work, and may also have considerable financial resources. They know much more about the state of the world than did previous generations, are concerned and want to collaborate with others than did previous generations."

I like the Encore Generation because it captures those on the talent spectrum looking to move from success to significance. We all know the boomer population is turning into the boomer senior population… what an encore!

We’re also seeing more and more Encore Generation involvement in the social sector:

  • As organizational mentors: At a level more engaged than ‘board member’ but not one of executive staff.
  • As transitional leaders: Stepping in 2-3 days a week to right the ship for an organization in lead.
  • As ‘sales officers’: Particularly those that came from a sales field – driving funding.

What I also see happening is the pairing of Encore Generation and Gen Y. The first of Gen Y grew into adulthood under the dot-com bust, 9/11 and Enron. It’s a population that doesn’t know or understand ‘stability’… it only knows change. Gen Y’s are also the first generation to be completely proficient with the web, openness (globally) and technology – and while it has a stigma for being coddled I think any young generation has unparalleled ambition. The Encore Generation teaming with Gen Y – tons of ambition plus the wisdom to fail fast – will have an incredible impact.

Tactics of Hope: Book | Blog | Website