Fung Fellowship featured in Gentelligence, a book about the intergenerational workforce
On June 8, 2021, author Megan Gerhardt PhD launched her book titled Gentelligence: The Revolutionary Approach to Leading an Intergenerational Workforce. Gentelligence, a term coined by Gerhardt, is defined by the following:
- A business method and mindset to transform multigenerational challenges into intergenerational collaboration and success.
- Inclusively leveraging diverse skills, talents, abilities, and experience among different age groups.
- A success factor for recruitment and retention of employees.
The book reveals the opportunities within an intergenerational workforce and provides actionable tools to help leaders build Gentelligent organizations. Unlike other books on generational leadership, this book rejects common stereotypes assigned to different generations, replacing them with a deep understanding of why those who grew up in different times may behave in unique and valuable ways. The book challenges leaders to go beyond simply accepting generational differences to leveraging them proactively to increase engagement, innovation, and organizational success.
The Fung Fellowship and Gentelligence
UC Berkeley’s Fung Fellowship was referenced in the book as an innovative program harnessing the power of intergenerational learning. Below is an excerpt from the book:
“According to former program director Joni Rubin, the program aims to train undergraduates as health and tech innovators to address the health and wellness needs of older adults. An integral part of the training is an intergenerational partnership within the design team. While the students work to use their skills to develop technology that will help older adults live healthier and longer lives, the older adults on the teams provide feedback and mentoring — on both the products being designed and professional skills. This relationship benefits all parties, by giving the students much-needed feedback on their products from the target audience and giving the older adults the chance to coach and train a student as they are developing.”
In 2020, Fung Fellows worked with four project partners — CareMerge, OLLI@Berkeley, SF Tech Council, and Tin Can Associates — to create technologies for improving the lives of older adults. These challenges included intergenerational connections, employment, aging in place, and the role of caregivers. Nine teams, each comprised of 4–6 fellows, share their work in this video.
Continuing Intergenerational Learning
In September 2019, the Fung Fellowship, the UC Berkeley Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and the Lawrence Hall of Science received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant for Informal Learning: Investigating Measurement of STEM Engagement and Advocacy in Older Adults. This grant includes creating an intergenerational design challenge event, pairing older adults with student fellows to brainstorm, ideate, and prototype solutions together. Two workshops and design challenges are scheduled before the end of the year, as the fellowship continues to pursue intergenerational connection and learning opportunities through this NSF grant and inside the classroom.