THE BLOG

Baby Boomers Offer $8 Trillion Dollars to Boost US Economy

09/28/2012 06:59 pm ET | Updated Nov 27, 2012

Over a billion man-years of experience is overlooked in the effort to improve America's economy.

A better future can mean many things to many people. You may think you are having problems, but you could be having solutions instead.

You already have everything that is necessary to improve our economy by trillions of dollars. You have everything you need to create jobs. The issue is how you utilize the resources at your disposal, how you go about it.

You do not yet take advantage of the immense amount of wisdom and experience of your existing workforce. You still think of workers as elements in a machine that shouldn't be listened to and haven't much to contribute outside their normal hourly work. But the truth is that the same problems that existed decades ago persist today, because no one listened to those who spoke of them, so no one could bring them to the attention of those who had the capability of generating solutions. As a nation, we can learn to listen to one another better.

You probably could notice things several times a day that you might know how to improve if you put your mind to it. Everyone does, but these bits of knowledge are rarely collected and consequentially drop through the cracks and are lost forever. Once an employee has made a few suggestions, hoping to be helpful, and their efforts have been ignored, they shut up, never to be heard from again. Our experience cost a fortune to create, yet we turn ourselves and others off, like putting an old hard drive in the closet that is full of valuable information.

Since so little of these bits of knowledge are collected, most all are lost as potential technological improvements that might lead to product improvements, new products, new industries, new jobs, new companies, new tax revenue, new schools, better health care, less pollution, more resources, lower costs, and a myriad of other benefits. You know what I mean, for your ideas have been treated this way countless times, probably so many times that you have shut down your observational and creative ability.

The numbers are astounding. There are more than 80 million baby boomers in the U.S. Over the last 10 years that is 800 million man-years of experience that is not being tapped to the full extent possible. If each one had only observed one problem opportunity each year that they could make a contribution to solving that would make available 800 million potential solutions. If you value the experience a man gets each year at only $100, the baby boomers' experience is worth $8,000,000,000,000 (that's trillions), and it is largely wasted, because no one has noticed it or developed a way to capture and capitalize on it.

This is not a trivial amount, but instead, a sufficient quantity to make all the improvements we want in just about everything, whether jobs, social conditions, financial assistance, education, you name it.

As it turns out, many of the suggestions common people make are quite good. At Toyota, it is said they gather over a million suggestions a year and have implemented far more than half. That is one company implementing more than 500,000 improvements a year.

If Toyota can come up with and implement 500,000 improvements a year, what do you think 80,000,000 baby boomers could come up with to help solve America's problems, create jobs, and get us back on track? But could we? Would we? Will we?

YOU MAY LIKE