Nordic Business Forum

Events, Kouvola

Vol. 25, Issue 04, 30 September 2022 

The eleventh Nordic Business Forum was held in Helsinki, Finland, on September 20 and 21. The main annual event gathers more than 7,500 participants from more than 40 countries, 17.4% of whom are company executives.

This event is a unique opportunity to listen to well-known speakers, listen to their opinions on quite important and exciting topics, and make your opinion on this matter. The main topics of the speakers were the companies’ business, their sustainable business, leaders at the core, and most importantly, the consequences of coronavirus for many companies. I will cite the speeches of the speakers who inspired me.

Jitske Kramer

The central theme of Kramer’s philosophy is the question of human interaction. She is interested in the methods of adapting societies to sudden changes in living conditions (culture shock).

The main idea is “People shape cultures, cultures shape people”. Kramer believes that all companies should organize metaphorical campfires where people can exchange ideas, share thoughts about goals and just talk about various topics. This improves the corporate culture and each employee will feel more relaxed, laugh with their colleagues, tell stories and get to know the team better.

The second idea is liminal spaces(how we shape cultures). Culture changes constantly, that way companies need to change alternative, behavior. We cannot go from one change to another, because there’ll always be space between the two changes. The main thing is to learn how to make micro-decisions. When a society is relatively homogeneous, that is, consisting of people relatively closely related through shared ancestry as well as shared language, of course, that is less likely to happen; but when people who are familiar with and comfortable with a homogeneous society are suddenly brought into a pluralistic, multi-cultural society, they have a choice: either retreat into the preservation of their own separate culture against others or, learn to assimilate to at least some degree by adopting some or all of the fundamental values and principles of the larger society they have joined.

The third idea is leadershipWithout a leader, it is impossible to build a sustainable business company, develop the business according to a strict plan and prevent a crisis. It’s a significant role and it helps us to go through change. A modern manager not only manages but also competently delegates authority, sets an example, communicates correctly with the team, and goes one step ahead of competitors.

Most of all in her speech, the topic of rituals made me think. Sacrifices, cultural customs, and the main question of whether killing an animal are necessary for human happiness. Kramer felt terrible sitting with the goat’s corpse, she was constantly tormented by thoughts of what she was doing here and why all this was necessary.

Speaking about the future development of culture, if there is no power, then nothing will change. Everything changes very quickly, It was very difficult to get used to remote work, but soon everything will return to its place. The main thing is not to lose the “soft skills”, that is, to communicate banally with colleagues, observe eye contact, follow the customs established in the company, and be polite and good-natured and open (try to feel the other, without our own opinion continuously running through it.

Amy Edmondson 

Edmondson studies teamwork, psychological safety, and organizational learning; her articles have been published in numerous academic and industry management journals

The main thing in her conversation-psychological safety — the belief that one can speak up without the risk of punishment or humiliation, is a critical driver of high-quality decision making, healthy group dynamics and interpersonal relationships, greater innovation, and more effective execution in organizations. Fearing punishment or the anger of their superiors, people hide their mistakes, do not analyze them, and step on the same rake again. They gloss over difficulties and problems so as not to get into a hot hand and not create an extra headache for themselves, and instead, they stick out achievements. This creates a gap between the managers’ assessment of the situation and the real state of affairs, which can lead to the most serious consequences.

She also mentioned that conducting psychologically safe discussions on work-life balance is a difficult task since these topics touch on aspects of identity, values, and employee choices. Organizations with psychological security are less likely to make mistakes and generate more innovation. When people are not afraid to be vulnerable, admit their mistakes and ask for help, they have the opportunity to learn from their own and others’ mistakes and prevent them in the future. If all team members are united by the belief that discussing mistakes and difficulties is a valuable opportunity for learning and development and sharing even the riskiest considerations is necessary and safe, this becomes a powerful incentive for accumulating knowledge, rethinking, and finding new ways and more innovations. Thus, psychological security becomes a necessary condition for an innovative economy, a knowledge economy.

Amy also mentioned leadership and that we need to focus on making the world work for everyone. But the truth is, this will require such leadership so that they can manage. And yet I believe that leaders’ ability to focus on what matters most will require engaging people – at all levels and with diverse backgrounds – on fearless, evidence-based journeys to find the new solutions we need for a sustainable future.

The main key in her speech was the phrase “Simple doesn’t mean easy“. Although this principle is simple, it is not always easy to live by it. This requires a focused understanding, strict discipline, and a desire to experiment and take risks. You should be ready to closely monitor your actions and their results. You should establish feedback, and to do this, ask yourself, family, friends, colleagues, bosses, teachers, coaches, and clients: “Is what I’m doing effective? Can I do it better?”

Often people mistake simplicity for lightness. So tell people about how simple and relaxed everything is, just assuming that you have it, the main thing is to believe in your words and strength.

Yuval Noah Harari

The most exciting topic around the world is how new technologies will affect work in the future and it was on this topic that Harari was arguing. And first of all, the future of the work market will be different from the current one, many professions will disappear, but the speaker stressed that we must learn to get used to changes and this will be a huge experiment for society. Automation and artificial intelligence will tightly enter our lives and replace many of the usual worries. What do we need to do?

  • creativity. The most difficult thing to replace for humans. Robots will not be able to replace human feelings and empathy for work. Only a person is taught to identify his emotions of love, friendship, and trust, but the big problem is that human beings do not think about other people, because they have their problems, while computers will recognize our patterns because they have no feelings. Now, all we can do is create machines that reproduce what we imagine. We are not able to teach them what we do not know ourselves. But, ultimately, we can create machines that can go beyond our imaginations, smart enough to create our machines without human intervention. Perhaps in the future, thanks to their encyclopedic knowledge and lightning-fast computing capabilities, computers will begin to make similar leaps of imagination, first comparing and then surpassing the creative potential of a person.
  • consciousnesses are not equal to intelligence. Harari mentioned that companies will always develop consciousnesses.
  • financial difficulties. Due to the diligent development of technologies and expensive parts, a crisis may arise, moreover, the provision and constant technical inspections of equipment will be very costly. Innovations appear, and banks are trying to catch up with a certain technological lag, but still, they are used to making money on certain processes, it is not easy for them to decide on steps that can lead to a loss of profit for shareholders. At the same time, banks, of course, cannot ignore the rapid rise of new technological companies that are changing the structure of the financial world.
  • psychological difficulties, pressure. Due to the departure of many professions, many people will become unemployed. To provide the entire population with a good income, it is necessary to retrain and learn new technologies. Many people will not be able to do it because of their capabilities. Recently, it has been increasingly said that technological progress has psychopathological consequences, contributing to the development and chronification of mental diseases, especially diseases of the neurotic plan. There is an increase in psychological stress, an increase in stress.

Dunkan Wardle

Duncan spent 25 years as a senior executive at Walt Disney Co. In his most recent role as Vice president of Innovation and Creativity at Disneyю

  • “River of thinking”

According to forecasts, by 2032, artificial intelligence will eliminate 20-30% of the current roles that we perform today, and now we must prepare our teams for work that does not yet exist by connecting the brain and knowledge and start thinking differently. 
Don’t be afraid of grandiose ideas. “You can always take a great, well-thought-out idea that is ultimately too big and “redesigns” it in a smaller way, but you can’t take a small idea and make it bigger later,” says Duncan Wardle. With the level of disruption in the market, it is now “destroy or die” for many legacy brands. Everyone wants innovation, but no one has made it tangible — until now.

  • Originality has always been overrated in technology. After the pandemic, we have to think faster and faster, because the whole business seems different. It is also important to keep the tool-tool rule. Creativity is not a significant advantage until it permeates the entire company. What organizations really need are leaders who can cultivate a culture of creativity and innovation in their workplaces, and this only happens by encouraging all employees to access and hone their innate creative thinking skills, regardless of their roles.
  • environment–>control. These are the actions of the management of the organization and its owners, which reflect the general attitude to control, i.e. how important control is at the enterprise. There are the following elements of the control environment: organizational structure, distribution of responsibilities, work with personnel, management style, and influence of external factors on the control in the organization. These elements are highlighted when evaluating the control environment.
  • When you engage different parts of your brain through word association and graphic layout, you can unlock creative connections that you may not have noticed before. This is a process that you can use to creatively approach any problem, regardless of the department or project you are dealing with. I agree with this expression because the human brain is unique, if you constantly develop it from different sides, you can discover new horizons and approaches to different situations.
  • A way to adapt the technology to meet the marketing department’s needs. Encouragement. Encourage people throughout your organization to use existing ideas, technologies, and products to solve problems. I believe even praise will motivate an employee to do a better job. therefore, a reward, a bonus or something like that, will increase efficiency and quality. A tool with which an employer can encourage employees to work more productively and reward them for the results achieved. The complete absence of any awards and prizes, as well as illiterate or unsystematic use of them, negatively affects the motivation of staff.

Thus, the Nordic business forum is a wonderful opportunity to develop your horizons and reflect on the elementary things that surround us every day. Taking a step closer to globalization and technology, many challenges await us, but also an open, sustainable future with priorities.

Special thanks to Xamk, who hosted this event, gave sweets, coffee and a great mood!

Kseniia Parshina
Latest posts by Kseniia Parshina (see all)