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Nordic Business Forum 2017

My take-away’s from the 2-day event

a.k.a. #NBForum2017

  • 7.500 persons attending on-site,
  • almost 20.000 streaming-tickets,
  • by 2021 aiming to be the #1 international business forum

My #1 take-away

My absolute #1 take-away was:

“Interesting is not your story, interesting is your customers’ story.”

Meaning, the ability to see what is interesting from the customer’s point of view. And, to bridge this with something already known.

My pitch would then go like this:

“My noise-dampening panels treat soundwaves like a discoball treats light. It scatters it all over the place.”


About the art of bridging, tells speaker Rachel Botsman.

Day 1

Speaker, Stéphane Garelli

Tells about the banker who said “Don’t confuse me with facts!”

– this describes very much the status of peoples perception in many areas. Seldom do we base our decisions on pure logic and facts, more often so based on feelings. Gut feelings.

Globally, there’s an enormous amount of money, in institutions and people’s pockets, waiting to be spent.

For the first time ever, there’s a synchronized growth worldwide. However, inflation is flat in most places, production doesn’t move, and wages go downwards.

Problem areas are: China is buying everywhere, Brexit, and oil prices is holding discovery back.

We will see a lot more of: Mergers & Acquisition, and Consolidation. Foreign banks are buying shares in private companies.

Major areas of opportunity are: Clouds, adverts, batteries, watches, electronic payment.

“Now that robots master the art of lying (poker), where’s our (human) added value?”

Solution: you can always unplug a robot.



Speaker, Adam Grant

How non-conformists rule the world, i.e. Originals.

Professor in organizational psychology.

About being afraid to take action.

  1. Originals put their worst foot forward.

    -> creating interest, for example, by stating reasons of why not to invest in the company. Two things happen: a) most people get interested because the unknown is lifted forward, and b) some people reflect upon that ‘hey, these things can be fixed’ (and thus there are less problems being ‘on the list’).

  2. Originals make the unfamiliar familiar.

    -> repetition is the solution. Build a bridge of recognition (the Hamlet theme in Lion King movie).

  3. Create a psychological safety.

    -> A negative, however common trend, is to say “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions”. We talk about building the business around Comforting lies, or being open to be confronted with Unpleasant truths.

    -> Carolyn from Facebook set the bar when she posted her bosses review of her to her team, with the snowballing effect that the rest of the organization (middle management)  followed her example. In other words, how to work on your negative issues by asking your team for help. Being vulnerable, open for criticism.

  4. Fight group-thinking

    -> Instead of typical exit-interviews, when people leave a company, rather the practice ought to be to hold entry-interviews. Meaning, about 1 week after first work day, review the newcomers view of what is good, and what should change. To gather reflection on the organization and the products.

    -> The top executive can also speed-date the employees, in order to gather this feedback. Or, at least 2 times per year, hold mini-seminars with small groups, on the subject of “How to best kill our company”. This way, gathering the opportunities and real threats.

  5. Originals rethink culture fit (CF)

    -> The more a company thinks about CF, the slower they grow. A growing company needs a continuous change in CF approach.

    -> A bit more about giving, than taking. Selfish behavior; what are your underlying intentions. Agreeable vs. Disagreeable behavior. A disagreeable giver: Batman.

    -> If you are afraid to share your ideas, think about where you want to be in 5 years, and whether you would regret taking action now.

Day 2

Speaker, Selina Juul

Fight against Food Waste

If you throw away food, you waste both your money and time. About 900€ per year, and 20 hours. Per household! Let it sink in… this takes a while to digest.

First action that Selina recommends: always keep your oldest things in the front of the refrigerator.

Second action: UFO = Unidentified FROZEN Objects… You always have something in the fridge… which is probably getting old. Remember that left-over, that you put away for that special day.

Third action: learn how to mix a set of many left-overs. Plan ahead.

And this one you probably already know and have very well implemented into your behavioral spine: only put on the plate, what you will eat.

2017-10-03 10.26.54
Selina Juul with Richard Quest

Speaker, Rachel Botsman

Trust, the collaborative economy

The global authority on the power of collaboration and trust, enabled by digital tools.

Key message: While trust in institutions decline rapidly, it prospers between individuals. Especially in this digital era.

We see this exemplified in several areas:

  • UBER
  • AirBnB
  • BlaBlaCar

We observe a move from:  Local -> Institutional -> Distributed

Meanwhile, in extreme cases we see the trust broken, and corporate leaders failing to take corrective action or the appropriate message to the customers.

The bottom line, the driving factor, is the platform, connecting the ‘I need’ – person with the ‘I have’ – person.

2017-10-03 10.53.28

Speaker, Patrick Lencioni

A cohesive leadership

Patrick states the positive effects of being able to disagree and confront each other, when held upon a solid platform of trust.

Being an Italian Catholic, he mentions that this is very true in a marriage, where his own cultural background is one of disagreement and confronting – and the result is a long marriage – if you trust each other.

This is also true for any well performing company.

Two requirements for success:
  1. SMART

    -> Strategy, Marketing, Finance, Technology

    -> Yes, it is much easier for an executive to look for the answers in this section, however this area is not as useful for the purpose.


    -> Minimal politics, minimal confusion

    -> High morale, high productivity

    -> Low turnover (staff)

Four disciplines of a healthy organization:
  • (Build) a cohesive leadership team
  • (Create) clarity
  • (Over-) communicate clarity
  • Reinforce clarity

“I told you I love you when we got married. If anything changes, I will let you know.”

Sketchnotes of Patrick Lencioni's speech
Linda Saukko-Rauta @saurau
The five dysfunctions of a team:
  1. Trust – vulnerability-based, interpersonal trust. (asking for help, saying sorry)

    -> The leader must lead by example.

  2. Conflict

    -> Conflict based on trust is a whole another game.

    -> To disagree passionately, is a healthy team builder.

    -> If not disagreeing in time, issues will turn out to become personal.

  3. Commitment -> Especially in a consensus-culture, a leader must ‘break the tie’ and make a decision. Everyone wants a decision, within a certain time-frame, therefore it is dangerous to wait for everyone to agree.
  4. Accountability. Behavioral accountability

    -> team-mates need to be able to tell each other ‘hey you messed up here, we need your help’.

    -> To be able to confront each other. To avoid politics, speaking behind backs, and instead be direct.

  5. Results.

    -> The best teams work on getting results as a collective. Team members must care for/love/give feedback to other areas of responsibility (than their own).

    -> When you find an individual who stands up only for ‘self, not for the team, you know whom to let go. Even if it is the CEO.

Question: Stereo-typically, the pyramid is based on vulnerability – also linked with weakness.

Answer: The era of the “Hawaiian Iron-Man” competition is over.

Speaker, Nick Vujicic

Looking for purpose – Your story

Key message: it is the values of your…

  • heart
  • mind

… that will hold you back.

In addition, you will never see the full picture until later, and

FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real.

It is true the fires that you (together) take off from ground. And, its more about giving, than receiving.

Sketchnotes of Nick Vujicic's speech
Linda Saukko-Rauta

The other speakers where:

Severn Cullis-Suzuki – environmental activist

James Hansen – Climate change expert, identifies ineffectual policies

Petteri Taalas –  Climate change expert, atmospheric sciences

Mika Anttonen – private entrepreneur, built a diverse energy company, CO2-aware

Sir Richard Branson – here I have to ask, what does he need from space, that he can’t find from within himself? He speaks warmly about the gift we pass on to our kids, but what about the C02 footprint of getting into space and human onto Mars? Ridiculous, if you ask me.

Boyan Slat – Ocean cleanup, company creator, funding finder.

Will Smith

Moderators where:

Sally Bundock

Richard Quest (CNN)


About the author

Martin R.C. Andersson started out as a mechanical engineer, slowly developing a soft spot for project management in which he worked 10 years.
Although having resigned from a corporate career within project management, the soft spot he keeps alive through a keen interest in room environment treatment. By control of sound and light, looking to tweak for that noise-free listening… which should be a norm.
Values silence, and now and then solitude.
Thinks Mindfulness is a ‘state of being’ when work really gets done.
When thoughts flow – without disruption – to reach either a creative state or finish what’s at hand.

When the outside world is tuned out, performance is tuned in.
Feels best when Minimalism, Functionalism and Art come together, crossing their paths.

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