Ageing Studio (2010) Dossier
Ageing Studio Summary
A scene from the final presentation of the Ageing Studio. Photo: Ivo Corda.
The profile of the coming generation of the aged in Finland will differ significantly from its predecessors. As a consequence of both accumulated wealth and an increased life expectancy, the retiring Boomers will represent a sizable concentration of individuals with high levels of time, health, money, and wisdom. As a group, they look forward to the freedom and independence of their post-retirement lives. Against this backdrop, the Studio set out to articulate a new understanding of the ageing population based on 3 core tenets.
1. New Wealth and New Health
Measured by net wealth, 55–64 year-olds are the wealthiest age group in Finland. In 2004, their net wealth was approximately 1.5 times higher than the national average. The Studio team saw this as a great opportunity for society: the baby boomers will have the time and resources not only to demand new categories of products and services, but also to invest in and advise new businesses of the younger generations, extending the active stages of their life and economic participation.
2. New Social Contract
Present-day professional culture pushes individuals to maximize productivity, often at the cost of their personal lives. This inhibits employees’ ability to form social networks outside of work. This general underdevelopment of personal economies in society has far-reaching implications in terms of low levels of entrepreneurship and activism in Finland, whether as hobbies or volunteer work. Through interviews with retired citizens, the Studio team found a need to ignite deeper desire to contribute to society beyond professional roles. Thus, the need for a new social contract emphasizing individuals’ participation in, and contribution to, society became evident.
3. Systemic, Institutional Innovation
Finland is an institutionally led culture with a strong public sector. Recognizing this, the Studio set out to sketch new solutions that would respect the role of institutions and support innovation at their core, while opening them up for greater engagement with society. Systemic, institutional innovation is needed beyond current “problem/solution” service innovation and optimization.
Whole life Solutionscape
Sketching an ecosystem of integrated opportunities
Based on this framework, the studio proposed a set of 10 “hunches” that are areas of opportunity which work together to offer a strategic impact. Importantly, these ideas span from birth to death and are not bracketed by typical “elder” timelines. They are presented here in a highly abbreviated format.