The international SHIFT Business Festival will once more gather thousands of future- and technology-oriented business influencers together. The event has been organized three times before, each time bringing the visitors to unexpected places – a medieval castle and an abandoned prison. This year the event will be organized by the picturesque archipelago, in the old shipyard of Ruissalo island in Turku, Finland. The program consists of world-class keynote speakers in business, tech, and innovation, as well as round-table discussions and hands-on workshops.

“We started to curate our program right in the middle of the AI hype. Sometimes it felt like the tech itself had become the purpose and the wider scope about business benefits or the impact of technology had been forgotten. During the next SHIFT in August, we want to encourage people interested in the business potential of breakthrough technologies – including AI – to think more holistically. We don’t want to _only_ preach about AI, but to promote a wider perspective of an intelligent business.”, explains Mari Männistö, CEO of the festival.


In addition to technological intelligence, a holistically intelligent business thrives also e.g. on the potential of human intelligence or swarm intelligence of the organization. It also recognizes that change is imperative and instead of top-down change leadership and compartmentalized r&d departments, the thirst for innovation and disruption comes from within.


Intelligent business has also a profound positive impact on society. It embraces the ecological, ethical and social sustainability while making a profit at the same time. According to the SHIFT philosophy of intelligent business, these traditionally opposite viewpoints don’t exclude each other, but rather make each other stronger.


“Many companies are of course already implementing intelligent strategies, but we argue that a more holistic and systematic way of examining the intelligence level of a business will reveal opportunities for development. In the near future, we will provide tools for this in our digital channels and of course at the festival gathering.”, Männistö promises.


The theme for the festival in August is Shapeshifting Intelligence. The program will provide glimpses of the future of intelligence and its business applications. The first published speakers include the man behind the African impact startup ecosystem Jumane Rajabu Mtabalike, one of the fathers of deep learning Ph.D. Yoshua Bengio, and a neuroscientist and serial 100M founder and entrepreneur Dr. David Bach.


The work Mtabalike has been doing in Africa is a perfect example of intelligent business; how to make a positive impact on society while making profit. He has been developing the African startup ecosystem to cultivate investment-worthy companies as well as to develop the skills in the community. Yoshua Bengio, on the other hand, has done pioneering work with deep learning. According to him, intelligence is an ability to make “good decisions”. Good decisions and intelligent business are based on research, but it doesn’t matter how well the research has been done if the possible impact is overlooked. Impact requires always a careful thought: for example, some of the latest advances in neuroscience are presented at SHIFT by Dr. David Bach. He has been upgrading his own cognitive capabilities for years to better his chances for success in business. This makes one wonder if technology-aided cognitive improvements have had something to do with the several 100M enterprises he has built.


SHIFT Business Festival


Ruissalo Shipyard