Design for Longevity (D4L): Service Innovation through System Thinking


People now not only live longer but also want to be healthier when they age due to more advanced emerging technologies, socioeconomic changes, education platforms, healthcare systems, and other socioeconomic factors. In addition, the meaning of time for the public has shifted and the concept of retirement has been redefined. We no longer just look at people’s age to discuss their needs; instead, we are focusing on the stage of life people are in to understand their desire dynamically and to improve their quality of life.

For most people, the term age can mislead them to view it merely as a number. However, the term stage might more precisely describe people’s lifestyle: their life conditions and life span. But what does longevity mean for designers and design leaders? The concept of design for longevity (D4L) has recently played a critical role in our society. D4L is not about adding labels for older adults on the products we design. D4L is also not only talking about how the new fabrication technologies can make the material last longer. D4L is an experimental research topic that contains more than we can imagine.

Collaborating with MIT AgeLab and MIT Ideation Lab, we explored using tangible design artifacts, service design frameworks, and system thinking to transform financial planning services to make them more inclusive and enjoyable as an example to discuss and reflect the concepts, applications, and value of D4L.

Learning Takeaways

  • Understand and appreciate the concept of Design for Longevity (D4L)
  • Leverage the value and process of applying human-centered design through four core stages: inspiration, ideation, prototyping, and implementation
  • Demonstrate how to combine the typical design process with the applied research and system thinking.


Session Track: Keynote
Experience Level: Everyone
Date: Thursday July 20
Time: 01:00-02:15
Room: Ellison