Nicola Palmarini  Nicola Palmarini photo         

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Global Manager AI for Healthy Aging
IBM Research - MIT/IBM Watson AI Lab Cambridge, MA USA



Nicola is a researcher, teacher, entrepreneur, writer and TEDx speaker focused on reinventing what it means to age and exploring the impact of technologies and their application in the society at scale and in the life of aging population and persons with disabilities. His proved international expertise in emerging technologies and digital disruption has been augmented by his global studies and research on cultures, society, policies, language and communication which helped him to quickly read complex global social scenarios and contextualize people wants, putting the end-user always first. His primary field of research is within aging-related scenarios where personal dignity, human needs & wants, economic factors, business processes optimization and technology converge. In details his age-related areas of research are:

  • AI for Healthy Aging - Since 2009 he developed a broad experience in leveraging the Internet of (Caring) Things to improve the quality of life of older adults and their stakeholders, supporting them aging in place independently with a first-of-a-kind IBM project for the Aging Population in the city of Bolzano (Italy) in 2009-2011 and others in EU and USA. Last IBM reference he contributed is the project for Cooperativa Sole (2017). He is also the author with Lilian Myers of the "Periodic table of technology-supported ageing.”
  • Loneliness as accelerator of physical and cognitive diseases - He is the author with Sheila Zinck, Heather Fraser and Rebecca Wu of "Loneliness and the aging population: how businesses and governments can address a looming crisis" published by the IBM Institute for Business Value (2017), and he is actively involved in the UK campaign to End Loneliness.

  • Ageism - He is leading the global table "Localizing ageism" within the COST Action IS1402 on Ageism and cooperating with Professor Liat Ayalon at the School of Social Work, Bar-Ilan University in Israel. This work aims to apply language analysis techniques to raise awareness of age-related discriminations at the local & national level. He also delivered his TEDx speech on “Ageism: the discrimination of XXI century.

  • Aging & economic factors - He has been Head of Digital Strategy at the fintech start-up powered by Italian private bank Banca Profilo established to introduce innovative mobile digital practices in the traditional investment asset market, creating a cross-generational link of capital between older adults and Millennials.
  • Aging women and workplace - He is founding board member of the non-profit which aims to support women over 55 in their life-career transitions and transform the false narrative about aging by redefining workplace inclusion, one woman at a time.

He has been solution architect for aging in place & ambient assisted living solutions, part of the team for the 2016 Aging data-driven insights and led the first-of-a-kind IBM project for the Aging Population in the city of Bolzano (Italy) in 2011.

He is former Adjunct Professor in Social Communications at the Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan.
The work of his team has been awarded two times with the ComputerHonors Award and the Disability Matters - Market Place Award.

His principal domains of interest are:
Aging Population behavior, Gerontology and Longevity studies, Social data, Social Communication, Cognitive Data, Social impact of technology on human behavior, Internet of the Caring Things, Co-working and Collaboration, Inclusion and the Gender gap.

He is the author of the books: Le Infiltrate (a research about the gender gap and STEM careers, Egea/ Bocconi University Press, 2016), Boomerang (about the importance of research in technology and its impacts on humanity, Egea/Bocconi University Press, 2014), Lavorare o Collaborare? (about social networking and crowdsourcing principles in modern organizations Egea/Bocconi University Press, 2012). And of the report Outthink Aging Study, edited by IBM Research.

He is Co-founder of TAG innovation School and external advisor to Stentle.

He is the member of:

  • Board member of International Scientific Advisory Committee at McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA)
  • Board member of GIMI (Global Management Innovation Institute)
  • The Gerontological Society of America;
  • Gerontechnology
  • Women in Technology (WIT)
  • Women in Technology International (WITI)
  • The Scientific Board of Political Sciences and International Relations at Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan

and former member of

  • the European Commission DG Enterprise and Industry Unit (name Co-operatives, Mutuals, CSR and Support of Tourism Industry)
  • ShareExpo Committee, for the 2010-2015 World Wide Exp


Before that and more recently he served as head of digital strategy the fin-tech startup (This is Not a Bank) based in Milan.

From 2006 to 2014 he was Director of IBM Human Centric Solution Center where he developed his experience in emerging technologies for aging people and Persons with Disabilities. In this role, he has been Smarter City subject matter expert with knowledge of Ambient Assisted Living.

In addition to this role, from 2000 to 2014 he was Creative Director first and then head of IBM Italy Communication Center of Excellence and Manager of Social Digital Marketing & Brand Systems Italy. He was responsible for the IBM Italy social and digital communication strategies, dealing with media, journalists, advertising and pr agencies, influencers, content makers. He worked every day to invent an innovative way to extract marketing and communication meaningful interactions and insights from big data and emerging technologies.

From 1990 to 2000 he served as creative director in several Italian and American advertising agencies like Ogilvy and JWT. As the creative director at McCann-Erickson Interactive, he led the 1997 launch of Telecom Italia Internet brand ( growing the customer base from 40k to 4 millions active users and curated the entire Microsoft off/on-line communication portfolio activities.

His writing on communication, human-machine interaction, and innovation appears in publications such as Harvard Business Review, Austin Chronicle, Wired, Linkiesta, Collaboriamo, UXmagazineItalia, Sonar.

He has spoken at venues including SXSW, M-enabling summit, RSI-Radio della Svizzera Italiana, ShareItaly, CNBC/Milano Finanza, The Research Council of Norway, Italian Marketing Forum, Unesco, AreaScientificPark of Trieste, RAI, RAI Italia, The Forum Ambrosetti, TAG, The European Union.

He gave talks or run workshops at companies including Banca Popolare di Milano, Castorama, Lactalis, Fiat, Pfizer, FedEx, Carige, Telecom Italia, Triumph Lingerie, Algida Unilever.

He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Political Science at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milano and attended classes in Mass Communication&Society with Professor Don R. Pember at the UoW in Seattle. 

Today he works and lives in Boston.