On 17 November 2016, Dr Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of directors of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, visited the newly opened EY ALTER exhibition at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.
Mobility, digitisation, demographic change, and good relationships between generations – these are all topics that are relevant to us all. Which is why Mercedes-Benz Cars chose to focus on these aspects in their “YES – Young and Experienced = Successful” initiative. The initiative was started by Markus Schäfer, member of the divisional board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management.
Testing, experiencing, and comprehending – above all, EY ALTER is about a mental paradigm shift. The goal is to move away from the notion that the older you get, the more your productivity drops – also known as the deficit hypothesis – towards recognising that getting old may lead to changes but by no means to a general drop in productivity. New scientific findings, presented in a model of difference, confirm that age does not necessarily mean a drop in productivity. There are also plenty of people that only begin to come into full productivity in old age. Age – an overall relative term.
What gate did you go through to enter the exhibition, Dr Zetsche? Through young or old?
I went through “old” – even though I feel young. But I stand by my chronological age: getting older is not a deficit. It is something very natural and has a great deal of advantages. We initiated this exhibition for one reason in particular: we at Daimler do not want to be influenced by negative age stereotypes. We want to appreciate the potential of each age and take advantage of it.
Did visiting the exhibition change your view of age and demographics?
Together, young and experienced are a powerful team. That’s true for Daimler – and it’s true for all of society. And this is something the exhibition taught me most vividly and entertainingly.