Love, Evolution and Optimism at Nordic Business Forum

Janne Hänninen
Sz2A5857 Photo Pasisalminen Com 2

Three takeaways from attending the Nordic Business Forum 2018

Us, along with some 7500 others, sat down at Nordic Business Forum with our pencils sharpened, ready to witness bite-sized wisdoms of the brightest business mentors flown in from all over the globe. What was on the minds of these thought leaders? There were a few red threads going through all of the keynote speeches; soft ones, if you ask me. Here are my three takeaways from the conference. 

One: Love

One word repeated in big letters on the huge screens was love. Not profit, winning, control or growth, but love. It was nice to see soft values being welcomed with open arms by leaders all over, although it’s not as if they have an alternative. Since the fundamental social and economic revolution brought upon us by the internet, the power has shifted to consumers and employees – and what a great shift it is. The modern-day CEO no longer takes the role of a leader, but a social architect of sorts.

Two: The speed of evolution

The human race is facing new challenges as technology has shrunk our planet and brought us all closer together. Organisations of all sizes — everyone from governments to corporations and entrepreneurs — are having a hard time keeping up. This rapid acceleration of change brings about new theories on how to adjust to this phenomenon. As we learnt from Aswath Damodaran, even the life cycles of companies have become compressed and the entire cycle—the journey of a company from a startup to a mature company and then either decline or success — has become faster. The business climate of the digitised time has been a big catalyst for change.

Three, and the most important of all: Optimism

Our world is in flux. Things are dwindling and we are living on credit. The only difference between us and previous generations is that we are more aware of the problems caused by humanity. We have more reasons than ever to care and share the wealth that we accumulate. We have the tools to make this change; tools that can have a real-time impact. Although we know that a quick fix doesn’t exist, it breeds optimism. We are now aware of a need to invest in long-term leadership and ways to create an impact on the world. As Barack Obama put it: We should focus on investing in the youth, as all change will come from below, not from the leaders of the past. Dissatisfaction with the status quo combined with an aspiration to have an impact will be the key driver for this change. In the long run, the good will outnumber the bad as the power shifts to the people, who are all connected through transparent networks based on trust. In the end, good will surface and prevail.

I will end this with the words of Gary Hame, my favourite speaker of the whole seminar: “The future is indifferent to your preference”. So, we’d better be prepared and open to some serious change.

Photo by Pasi Salminen, courtesy of Nordic Business Forum.

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