Head of new UK longevity think tank thinks big

Health is wealth and expect the unexpected – surely the two most apt truisms of these crazy days on so many fronts. Both ring truer than usual for guest Catherine Foot.

She’s been a year in her post as head of Phoenix Insights, a new UK think tank set up to transform the way society responds to the possibilities of longer lives.

It’s a workplace milestone fate served up with the kind of surprise we can all do without – a long recovery ahead after a freaky accidental stumble that has her  calling herself “a bionic woman…with Frankenstein scars”.

You’ll hear the full rundown of her ambitious plans for maximising social and policy impact in her new role, “my dream job”.

“Funding is critical but my experience of working in the think tank sector is that everybody  needs to try these things for themselves and own the solution. You can’t go around selling even the solution that works 30 miles down the road and expect them to doff their cap and say good then we’ll copy that.”

Central to her team’s mission is finding ways to engage the public to open closed mindsets and influence behaviour: “Thinking about where people are and how to reach them is the perennial problem of social policy when trying to do something with working age adults”.

The hope is to spark many more living room conversations about longer lives. She aims to “break out of the delightful but cosy longevity bubble and begin to stretch our fingers of influence into the decisionmakers and policymakers who have yet to see ageing and longevity as their business.



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