SHIFT Business Festival 2021 – The return of face-to-face business meetings
On 25-26 August, SHIFT 2021 ended the 18-month long dry period in the calendar of Finnish live business events. It wasn’t interesting to ask, how many attendees there were, but merely the fact that there were attendees. Live. On-site at Hotel Kakola.
SHIFT, now organised for the sixth time, had circa thousand visitors over the course of two days, half of them attending the festival at Hotel Kakola. The full festival program could also be followed and attended on the virtual platform, allowing attendees to flexibly choose whether they wanted to attend in person or virtually.
SHIFT 2021 ended the 18-month long dry period in the calendar of Finnish live business events.
Innovation retreat to be explored further in the future
A hotel as the event venue is a new experiment for SHIFT but likely not the last time people are attending SHIFT in a hotel. “We want to create an experience where you can leave the everyday life behind and make room in your calendar and mind for meeting old and new people in your network”, says Sini Toivonen, SHIFT CEO. “We easily get stuck with the routines of pseudo-efficient everyday life, when a new environment and something out of the ordinary is needed to really get new ideas going.”
A little over a hundred festival attendees, speakers, and partners participated in the first-ever Innovation Retreat. On the second festival day, the atmosphere in the hotel grounds was relaxed and somewhat close to an overnight school trip – just like intended. “This was the first experiment with the retreat concept, but we already have a ton of ideas to develop this further”, visions Elsa Ervasti, Head of Program and Event Experience.
Face-to-face meetings have been dearly missed in the business world. Over the years, SHIFT has proven to be a fertile environment for networking, and many of the visitors return year after year mainly for networking purposes and to nurture the already-existing networks.
Visitors were thirsty for face-to-face discussions, and for example, the roundtable discussions could have continued for much longer than there was time reserved – luckily these conversations could be continued outside the formal program. Sharing ideas with others has a downright refreshing effect on all of us.
“This was the first experiment with the Innovation Retreat concept, but we already have a ton of ideas to develop this further” – Elsa Ervasti, Head of Program and Event Experience.
2022 preparations picking up the speed
SHIFT evolves and takes new forms each year, and the final form of 2022 is still under planning. The dates, however, are clear: 24-25 August 2022. Get ready to get inspired, to get provoked, and to redefine the future of business!
Photo: Anni Savolainen