Finding Mojo from the Nordic Business Forum 2017 Sweden

This blog post is written by Anssi Soinu

This blog post is written by Anssi Soinu

Together with Stefano we participated to the Nordic Business Forum 2017 Sweden. My initial plan was to be there in terms of networking but it turned out to be a really great event in many other ways also. I thought I could blog about it and share my experiences. 

We had VIP tickets so we got a chance to start the day a bit earlier with a great talk by Chip Conley. He works as head of global hospitality & strategy at Airbnb. The talk he gave was titled as follows: “PEAK: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow”. In his talk he very nicely discussed Maslow's hierarchy as seen from customer, employee and investor viewpoints. 

The employee viewpoint somehow touched me the most and I was able to attach my own experiences to that. The employee hierarchy had three levels from bottom to top: job, career and calling. The bottom level was a job. Employees in the job level get satisfied by getting compensated well by doing the job. The talk highlighted this as motivation creator. The next level was a career. Employees in the career level get satisfied by getting recognition for the work they do. The talk highlighted this as loyalty creator. The top level was a calling. Employees in the calling level have found the meaning of their work. The talk highlighted this as inspiration creator. 

I can definitely see these things also when you are hiring new people to your company. If your company is new to a person you are about to hire, it might be that the person is only looking for a job. If your company is more known, there might be better chances that the person is looking for a career or a calling. It is good to also remember that these things do not happen overnight. When you start a company you are seeking people that are looking for a “calling” but the only thing that you can concretely show them is something belonging to the job level, like salary, to motivate them to join. You can tell them about your long term plans but at that stage you don’t have anything else concrete to show. The beginning is extremely hard and extremely important. Once you get forward it will be easier if you have managed to help people to get closer to their calling. People on that level are the best advertisement for the new hires and I believe that the more people you have that are on the "calling level", the easier it gets to hire from that level as well.

In the big picture I believe that having really satisfied people will also have a great impact on the business. People that like their work tend to share their good feeling with the people around them. You never know what great new things the satisfied people will invent. We have already some great examples in our past like the batman or Arado Adventures. These things were just created based on inspiration. We have a lot of examples from our customers as well.

In the Nordic Business Forum 2017 Sweden there were also many other great talks. For example Linda Liukas reminded us how differently kids think compared to adults. It is amazing how creative kids can be and how “boxed” our thoughts can be. You never know what kind of cool new things the next generations will produce if they just keep the creativity. Then there was a talk by Kjell A. Nordström. He put an interesting thought in the in the air about the future:

"There will not be countries in the future. There will be cities.”

That is something that is good to take a moment to think about. You can already identify that big cities are growing and what kind of new things that has already introduced. Sheila Heen also gave really nice talk about feedback. Her talk actually got Stefano really inspired and I have a feeling that we might get a blog post or a session about this subject in the future. This talk definitely got us thinking and we already had some thoughts that we should try to use the ACE (appreciation, coaching and evaluation) method at our company.

ACE = Appreciation, Coaching and Evaluation

Chip Conley had also a second talk about disruption. He nicely demonstrated examples of how the hospitality business has grown through disruptions. In his talk Chip nicely sum up the disruption by quoting Mahatma Gandhi:

“First they ignore, then they ridicule, then they fight you, and then you win”.

Really well summed up!

Between the talks in the Nordic Business Forum there was a really well implemented Brella meeting place. Everyone was able to book short (15 minutes) meetings before and during the event. With the Brella app you were able to browse the event's participants and suggest meetings with them. There were altogether 10 meeting slots between the talks and the whole thing turned out to work really nicely. 

The last sessions in the Nordic Business Forum 2017 Sweden were more like discussions / interviews rather than talks. The first interview was done by Kjell A. Nordström. He interviewed Ida Backlund. The topic in this discussion was "Rapunzel of Sweden". Ida shared the story behind the Rapunzel of Sweden. She shared how she had hard times on getting people to believe in her ideas and how she ended up creating a great success story. The second interview was done by Linda Liukas. She interviewed the former CEO of YouTube Chad Hurley. It was really nice to hear the story on how YouTube got started and how it has grown to such a big service. The third and last interview was done by Sheila Heen. She interviewed Andre Agassi - the legendary Tennis star. It was really interesting to hear Andre’s story about how empty you can feel after winning everything. You target so hard to be the best and once you achieve it, you feel kind of empty. How to get up from that and win again. Really inspiring story!

With Stefano we ended the day in a great way by having a chat with Sheila Heen, Andre Agassi, Steve Miller, several of the event organisers and many other participants. To have a chance to talk with all these great people was definitely something I did not expect to happen when I decided to participate to Nordic Business Forum 2017 Sweden. Great people, great stories and I hope we will meet again someday!

Thanks for the Nordic Business Forum 2017 Sweden organisers for creating such a great event. We already bought several VIP tickets for the Nordic Business Forum 2018 Sweden. Looking forward to it!