Enter the Sightlines project with the lofty goal of developing a diagnostic tool to see how Americans are doing on the way to living not just longer lives, but better, longer lives. Last year, we released a report providing an overview of American life in three major domains of well-being: healthy living, social engagement, and financial security. We compared how Americans were doing in each of these domains, at distinct life stages, over time, and by demographic segments. Doing so allowed us to take a step back and reflect on where Americans have done well and where they required support so that we can make targeted strides to ensure every American is afforded the opportunity to reach long, healthy lives.
In under two years, the project has taken on a life of its own. Truly, Sightlines is now a “project” in name alone. Going forward, Sightlines is serving as a guiding framework for everything we are doing at the SCL. Internally, the 2018 Design Challenge topic was inspired by Sightlines to design for promoting lifelong habits in physical, social, and financial health, and the next SCL launch conference will be on social technology, which was in response to our finding that fewer Boomers are socially engaged than their same-aged predecessors. The Sightlines framework and findings are also informing our latest research collaborations with thought leaders from diverse organizations including Fidelity Investments, Comfort Keepers home-based care agency, and the California State Teacher Retirement System, to name a few. Outside of the SCL, media outlets ranging from expert freelance journalists such as Carol Hymowitz to major news publications, including TIME magazine and CBS News, are working to make Sightlines a household name. Think tanks and policymakers such as Brookings Metro and King County, Washington, are beginning to apply Sightlines to inform their own research and development. Next year, corporations such as Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Prudential and Society of Actuaries are supporting new research to gain deeper insights into Americans financial security including gender variation in financial decision-making, generation gaps in home ownership, and dire straits of Boomer retirement.
In the coming decade, we plan to broaden Sightlines’ reach even further. With an interactive website, active social media presence, publicly available survey findings and tools, a series of publications, and several exciting projects underway, Sightlines has gone from a compelling report to an SCL institution. Beyond SCL, Sightlines provides a common, comprehensive language spoken by both public and private leaders seeking to mobilize, enhance and translate research. In doing so, we can work together effectively and seamlessly in the pursuit of all Americans living long and living well.