SHIFT Business Festival celebrated Finland’s 100th birthday by inviting 100 retired, over 65-years old seniors to the festival for free.
Aira Samulin and SHIFT’s Head of Marketing and Communications Mari Männistö encouraged everyone over 65-years old, retired people to join the SHIFT!
SHIFT Business Festival had planned to celebrate Finland’s 100th birthday by inviting 100 retired, over 65-years old seniors to the festival for free. This way SHIFT would encourage generational dialogue and pass the vast knowledge forward from the older generation to the younger – and the other way around. 100 Grand People was part of official Finland 100 years celebration campaign.
Aira Samulin was the patron of 100 Grand People campaign. The dance legend and lifelong entrepreneur was excited about the campaign because she thoght that there weren’t enough tools to build connections between generations. We asked the always happy and cheerful Aira tips for success, and discussed the borders between generations and how we could break the barriers and improve collaboration.
SHIFT IS A BUSINESS FESTIVAL. WHY SHOULD THE SENIORS BE INTERESTED IN SHIFT?
“I am 90-years old and still an entrepreneur. Actually I have been an entrepreneur for over 70 years. I don´t mean that everyone should work until they are 90-years old, but I encourage seniors to be active in their communities. I respect structures that activate senior people, and that’s why I like SHIFT and the 100 Grand People campaign!” Aira encourages.
One of SHIFT´s program tracks is collaboration between human and machine. Aira thinks that specially the senior people should be aware of where the technology development is going and what kind of possibilities it gives to senior people: “Here at home I have security sensors that through cloud computing let my grandchildren know if there is something wrong. Because of developed technology I can live longer at home independently!”
SHIFT’S 100 GRAND PEOPLE –CAMPAIGN ENCOURAGES SENIOR PEOPLE TO ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE AND CONTRIBUTE TO BUSINESS. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS?
“This campaign is a very good idea. Normally children, students and veterans get a discount to certain events, but this is great idea that every senior has a chance now to experience this unique event for free. I haven´t heard from anything like this before! I always say to the elderly, that you have to keep moving, and now that there is a chance like this that you can get in for free, people should have enough strength and boldness to go!” Aira encourages.
SHIFT IS ABOUT BREAKING BORDERS AND IN 100 GRAND PEOPLE –PROGRAM SPECIFICALLY BREAK THE BORDERS BETWEEN GENERATIONS. HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS TO YOU?
“Very important indeed! Society is full of useless borders, useless restrictions, useless rules, which I have always tried to break. For example, when I was fashion designer in the 60s, I used a miniskirt and that was a real issue in Finland, can you imagine! But to succeed you have to have the capability to change, you have to be brave, do your own thing and stand behind it.” Aira challenges.
Aira herself hasn´t had problems with the generational borders, but she notices the problem in a larger scale: “The youth have always understood me and I have understood them. Maybe it´s because of my cheerful and bold attitude. But the generations are certainly separated in the society. The elderly are put in a nursing home, and the youth don´t get to know anything about them. There has been progress already, for example some students living in nursing homes, but there is still lots of work to do. That´s why this kind of program is a very good thing.”
SHIFT IS AN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS FESTIVAL AND SENIORS ARE ALSO WELCOME FROM ABROAD. WHAT KIND OF GREETINGS WOULD YOU SEND TO SENIOR PEOPLE INTERNATIONALLY?
“The first thing that comes to my mind, is that elsewhere in the world the gap between generations isn’t as big as here. We could really learn from that here in Finland. I invite all seniors globally to SHIFT to spread the culture here too!” Aira encourages.
Picture: Vince Nguyen