Over the next four decades, the rapid ageing of populations will be one of the most powerful transformative forces in society. Although this demographic shift first started in developed economies, it is fast becoming a global challenge: while the proportion of people over 65 years old around the globe is currently 10%, it is expected to jump to 22% by 2050. This will have significant impact in areas such as public health and economic prosperity. It is vital that key actors across society fully understand the current and upcoming transformations, as well as the potential risks and opportunities they bring. While the topic of ageing is increasingly attracting attention, much of the debate is limited in scope and often grounded in outdated stereotypes. Concrete strategies, appropriate to 21st-century social and business environments, are urgently needed.