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Helsinki Design Labs's 10 innovative solutions around rethinking welfare for an ageing society

10 “hunches” that span from birth to death and are not bracketed by typical “elder” timelines. They include: a National Wisdom Bank, Forty year Trust Fund to replace Pension, Honour Volunteering, From Welfare to Co-Care... etc.

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The Challenge: Rethinking welfare for an ageing society


The Studio set out to articulate a new understanding of the ageing population based on 3 core tenets: new wealth & new health, the revised social contract, and systemic & institutional innovation.

  • 1. Gray Gold

    The elderly have massive investment and purchasing power. How can this be activated to create new markets for products and services? How can the wisdom and capital of the silver wave be folded back into the economy through investments and mentorship?

    • 2. No formal retirement age

      Full-stop retirement is a concept designed for industrial society conceptions of labour and leisure. Why stop all at once? What about stepping down from working life at your own pace?

      • 3. Develop a New Social Charter

        Could Finland be the first nation ever to use a national co-creation event to develop a new social contract?

        • 4. Co-Creation to drive new services

          What if all new public services in Finland we required to be co-created?

          • 5. Ministers of Ageing and Volunteerism

            Building on the model suggested by Israel, could Finland have an interdepartmental Minister of Ageing?

            • 6. National Wisdom Bank

              Use the Wisdom Bank to enable generational knowledge/skill transfer. What would a government supported Time Bank look like?

              • 7. From Welfare to Co-Care

                Finland can be an institutional society. How to enable a transition from the passive receiving of care to an active pursuit of wellbeing?

                • 8. Emphasize lifelong exercise and prevention

                  An active lifestyle from a young age is key. Finland has a record of success with preventative health, how can this be leveraged?

                  • 9. Honour Volunteering

                    Could volunteerism flourish if there were more social rewards for participating?

                    • 10. Forty year Trust Fund to replace Pension

                      Could a Trust create a deeper sense of personal agency and empower individuals to take control of their life stage transitions?

                      (more here: http://helsinkidesignlab.org/dossiers/ageing)

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Photo of Krzysztof

That's an interesting piece of work. I especially like the number 2: No formal retirement age. Work can potentially make you feel useful and help you remain financially independant- both contribute to wellbeing.