Thinkers50 European Business Forum 2018: Making Better Choices

September 26, 2018 at Odense, Denmark (2 day event for Europe's CEOs)

The European Business Forum is the premier meeting place for business leaders in Europe. It brings together the continent’s top business people with the world’s leading management gurus in “the Davos of business thinking”.

The forum is hosted by Thinkers50, the world’s leading network of business thinkers, and located in Odense, Denmark. The home of Hans Christian Andersen, and now one of Europe’s leading robotics hub, is the perfect place to write the story of the future.

Making better choices” is the theme of this year’s forum.

Business leaders face more choices than ever before – there are few limits to the ways a business can grow – any geographical market, any industrial sector, any business model – enabled by technology, partners, people and investment. In fact, in a world of infinite possibilities, the hardest part is often deciding what not to do – to make choices.

In the “fourth industrial revolution” it is the new generation of technologies – from digital networks and blockchain, to robotics and artificial intelligence, 3d printing and biotechnologies – that challenge business leaders to rethink what matters, how to embrace the new capabilities, and what creates sustained economic value.

Yet another challenge – how the business exists within society, and the value it adds to people, local communities and social progress – might have just as much impact on a business’ future success. What is fair, what is good, what is progress, have become huge questions – particularly for business leaders.

At the previous forum, Europe’s business leaders said “Fast change has left business out of touch with people. Leaders are complacent, and innovation is wasted.” Collectively we asked ourselves how can European business rediscover its place in the world. There was a strong and overwhelming message from participants: “Business should be a force for positive progress.” This year we build on your agenda.

“Making Better Choices” is about connecting these challenges and new opportunities – exploring how business leaders can most effectively apply these new technologies for more impact, for both people and profit. This requires new options, new choices, and smarter decisions.

Agenda Day 1

0900 – 0910 … Introduction

As business leaders you attend many events, but nothing like this. The European Business Forum helps you recalibrate how you see the world, explore the best new opportunities for innovation and growth, gives you the opportunity to connect and create new ideas with peers from across Europe, and resolve on how you will lead your business forwards, and be the best leader you can be.

  • Peter Fisk, forum host, innovation and growth expert, author of Gamechangers. He started his career in nuclear physics before moving to business, focusing on strategy and marketing in consumer, travel, and technology markets. He is Professor of Leadership and Innovation at IE Business School, Director of Thinkers50 Global, author of 7 business books in 35 languages, and leads his own consulting business, GeniusWorks.
  • Peter Rahbæk Juel, Mayor in the City of Odense.

0910 – 0920 … The Odense Moonshot

Google pioneered the concept of moonshot thinking – typically ideas that can solve big problems, with solutions that deliver “10x not 10%” impact. Ideas can change the world. How will you change your world?

  • Peter Fisk, forum host, innovation and growth expert, author of Gamechangers.
  • Des Dearlove and Stuart Crainer, co-founders of Thinkers50, business journalists, editors, authors and ghost writers. Former columnists to The (London) Times, their work has appeared in newspapers and magazines worldwide. Their books are available in more than 20 languages and they remain frequent contributors to The Times, Across the Board and many other publications.

0920 – 1030 … The New Technology Agenda

Technology can change our world, not just our business. Digital and big data, AI and robotics, have the potential to transform every aspect of our business, but also offer new ways to do more. AI has the power to transform the speed of business, to anticipate needs before we know them, and to enhance our decision making. 3D printing could transform every aspect of the way we make, sell and consume products, and our relationships with companies.

In this session we focus on the blockchain. Getting beyond the basics, and the hype of Bitcoin, how could it transform our world? What does it mean for the relationship between people and business? How can it enable more business to achieve more commercial impact. We then contrast and add to this with a consideration of robotics, and a look at a business that has its roots here in Odense, one of Europe’s leading robotics hubs. The two sessions will be followed by a Q&A.

  • Don Tapscott is often known as Mr Wikinomics, and is #2 in the Thinkers50 global ranking of business gurus. He has become the spokesperson of the network age – explaining the exponential potential of networks when you make them work for you (like Wikipedia, but equally by turning your customer base into a vibrant community). Now he turns his attention to Blockchain, one of the many new technologies that fascinate and baffle most business leaders. His new book is Blockchain Revolution. How will distributed, network-based transaction systems transform the way money works, and almost every other industry too?
  • Esben Østergaard, co-founder and CTO of Universal Robots, responsible for the enhancement of existing robots and the development of new products. As a researcher in robotics and user interfaces at University of Southern Denmark, he created the foundation for a reinvention of the industrial robot. In 2005, this led him to found Universal Robots together with two of his research colleagues. Fun fact: During his studies in Computer Science, Physics and Multimedia at Aarhus University, Esben Østergaard became world champion in his hobby, robot football.

1100 – 1230 … The New Social Agenda

Dramatic change brings new tensions, not least in how business progress is challenging our ways of life, our society and environment. Global and local, rich and poor, fake and authentic, climate and ecology, fairness and ethics. What is the impact of your business on our world, in your local community and far across continents? At the same time, social issues provide new opportunities for business to do good. How could you innovate your business activities in a way that does more for society, engaging people more deeply and maybe even more profitable too?

Technology is only part of the new context for business – the other part of the story, is how people are affected by these new technologies, and the opportunities they bring to make life better. We live in a fragmented world, with uncertainty and inequality, where social and environmental issues need new thinking.

We see the affects of climate change, extreme weather and rising sea levels, its threat to Pacific islands and low-lying cities, and its impacts on agriculture and food economics. We see conflict and tension, often the result of misunderstanding or intolerance, its consequences in war but also in diverting investment. We see increasing inequality, despite the new opportunities increasingly accessible to all. And in a world of chatbots and fake news, we struggle to know who to trust.

Together with the speakers we ask ourselves three big questions: Why are social issues important and an opportunity for business? What’s the biggest challenge in embracing them? How can we do better?

  • On Sustainable Fashion: Javier Goyenece, founder of ECOALF, a fashion brand that turns discarded fishing nets, post-consumer plastic bottles and coffee into clothes. In 1995 he first founded Fun & Basics, specializing in fashion handbags and accessories. He grew frustrated with the amount of waste in the fashion industry, and created ECOALF, named after his son Alfredo, which combines great design with recycled materials. The company now produces a full lifestyle collection of outerwear, swimwear, casual apparel, shoes and accessories. Recently ECOALF has made collaborations with companies like Apple, Coca- Cola, Will-i-am and Barneys NY. Fun fact: In his younger days, Javier took part in top international equestrian competitions.
  • On Sustainable Finance: Sasja Beslik, Head of Sustainable Finance at Nordea and one of Sweden’s foremost experts on finance and sustainability. He was born in Bosnia and fled to Sweden more than twenty years ago to avoid being drawn into the war in the former Yugoslavia. At the age of 21, he made his way across Europe. With 20 German marks in his pocket and three T-shirts in a plastic bag, he entered Poland, sailed across the Baltic Sea and arrived in Sweden. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and economics from Stockholm University and worked as a war correspondent for several years writing for the Red Cross, Unicef, Dagens Nyheter and more.
  • On Ethics: Alexandra Christina, Countess of Frederiksborg in Denmark, board member of Ferring Pharmaceuticals International in Switzerland, and co-author of The Sincerity Edgewith Timothy L. Fort at Stanford University Press. Their vision for sincerity values corporate ethics in its own right, rather than as a means to an end. In 2017 Alexandra Christina was named a leader-in-residence at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. From November 1995 to April 2005, she served as Princess Alexandra, while married to Prince Joachim of Denmark, the younger son of Queen Margrethe II.
  • On Innovation: Andrew McCarthy, designer, facilitator, consultant, and educator, and teacher on many of IE Business School’s programs, in addition to being the Founding Academic Director of IE’s Master in Customer Experience and Innovation degree program. A native New Yorker, Andrew is fascinated with exploring the current neuroscientific understanding of the phenomenon of individual and team learning, and creativity and the relationship between innovation development and disruptive ideation techniques. Andrew enjoys playing guitar, and his voice has been featured in ads and audiobooks, at his daughters’ bedtimes, and to the startlement of animals great and small.

1330 – 1430 …  Social Innovation

What creates a great business today? Founders have dreams, but successors focus on performance. How do we balance short and long-term entrepreneurship at scale? And how can this deliver social innovation?

Social innovation brings together the challenges and opportunities of technology and society. It is not now. However what is new is the ability to harness the new technologies such as AI and blockchain, robotics and data, to solve the world’s problems in new ways. Businesses add the power of resources, investment, scale and brands, to do this even better – engaging people in solutions that are good for them and the world – potentially to to be more distinctive and commercially successful, and to do good for then world too.

We start by exploring innovation in its broader sense, adding more purpose and passion, as typically found in an entrepreneur, We then add the specific methodologies of social innovation, and how they can be applied to a commercial business.

  • On better innovation: Chris Zook, partner in Bain & Company’s Boston office. He was co-head of the Global Strategy practice for 20 years. During his more than 25 years at Bain, Chris has specialized in helping companies find new sources of profitable growth. A best-selling author, Chris published his fifth book, The Founders Mentality(Harvard Business Review Press) in 2016. Based on a decade-long study of companies in more than 40 countries, he shows how leaders can overcome the predictable crises of growth and set their companies on a path of sustainable growth.
  • On social innovation: Johanna Mair, professor of Organization, Strategy and Leadership at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. She currently serves as the academic editor of Stanford Social Innovation Review. Her research lies at the intersection of organizations, institutions and social change. More specifically, she is interested in how institutions stifle and enable social and economic progress and the role of organizational activity in this process.

1430 – 1500: Big Talk: What do you think?

The European Business Forum is different because it’s about you – your ideas, your applications, and your future. Big Talk is the moment to share your thoughts with peers around your table, and then with the whole forum. Together we shape the emerging themes into a shared agenda, and a message to the wider audience of business leaders across Europe.

  • Peter Fisk facilitates this high-energy co-creation session involving the whole audience to discuss how social transformation can transform our businesses.
  • The question is “How could social innovation transform your business?”

1530 – 1700 … Business for a better world

Do customers want business to create a better world? How do we engage them in solutions that are good for them, and for others, unlocking the innovative power of brands and technology?

Adidas has demonstrated, with its Adidas Parley range of shoes made out of recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets, how a product can be made even better, even more attractive to customers, and could even sustain a price premium. Others like Ekocycle, Toms, Natura, Tata and many more, have shown how to combine a profit orientation with a higher purpose.

And finally, how do we sustain the passion to be creative – the vitality of being human in a technological world, to be inspired and enriched?

  • Introduction: Ricardo Vargasis currently the Executive Director of the Brightline Initiative, a coalition of leading global organizations from business, government and not for profit sectors, including the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the Project Management Institute (PMI). Brightline’s mission is to provide a knowledge and networking platform that delivers insights and solutions to successfully bridge the gap between strategy development and strategy implementation. Ricardo will introduce this session.
  • Consumer futures: Martin Lindstrøm, one of the world’s premier (and toughest) brand building experts – advising Fortune 100 brands from the Coca-Cola Company to Nestle to Red Bull on how to build future-proof brands. Lindstrom is the recipient of TIME Magazine’s “Worlds 100 Most Influential People”. He is a New York Times and Wall St Journal best-selling author of six groundbreaking books on branding and has carved out a niche as a global expert and pioneer in the fields of consumer psychology, marketing, brands, and neuro-scientific research. Fun fact: Martin Lindstrøm refuses to own a phone, and he hasn’t had one for two years. It’s true, ask him yourself!
  • Finding your magic: Tanyer Sonmezer, CEO of the Management Centre Türkiye (MCT) Group, which consults companies in Turkey. Tanyer is trained in mechanical engineering at the Middle East Technical University, but never practiced his profession. Instead, he learned about life working at an amusement park. When he is not consulting, Tanyer take on roles as chef, pilot and magician, preferring to be an ordinary hero for those he loves.
  • Creating a better future: Tania de Jong, Founder and CEO of Creative Universe, Creative Innovation Global and Creativity Australia. Tania is one of Australia’s most successful female entrepreneurs and a global authority on creativity, innovation and collaboration. Tania makes the case that singing together changes the brain. Pushing the idea that creativity is the strategic tool of the 21st century, she says our voices have been silenced. She is concerned about growing inequality and is passionate about creating healthier, happier and more inclusive communities. 

1830 – 2200 … CEO Moonshot Dinner

Agenda Day 2

0900 – 0910 … Welcome back

  • Peter Fisk, forum host, innovation and growth expert, author of Gamechangers.
  • Bjarke Wolmar, Vice President in Thinkers50 Europe and The City of Odense.

0910 – 1030 … “The Invincible Company” Innovation Lab

Design great business models and constantly reinvent yourself with “The Business Portfolio Map”. This hands-on session shows you what it takes to put innovation at the center of your organization and create relevant impact.

  • Alex Osterwalder (and his academic partner Yves Pigneur) are the authors of Value Proposition Design and Business Model Generation. The latter is based on a tool called the Business Model Canvas. The book’s contents were co-created by 470 Business Model Canvas practitioners from 45 countries, and features a highly visual, four-colour design that explains a range of strategic ideas and tools. Trigger warning: You might get addicted to strategy work and post-it’s after Alex’s workshop.

1100 – 1200 … Disrupting your Business for Social Innovation

 How will we make this great vision happen. As leaders what are the biggest obstacles to harnessing these new technologies to achieve more for business and society? What are the challenges in our way, physically and emotionally? And what are the opportunities, both commercially and beyond? How could we disrupt your business inside, and outside?

We explore two perspective – firstly the exponential power of networks – be they physical or digital, customers communities or partner ecosystems, distributed technologies or integrating platforms. What do networks mean for business, compared to the old linear mindset of analogue systems and sequential value chains? How can you reach many more people faster? How can you redesign your business in as asset-light, connection-heavy way? What does this mean in terms of value, you can create and capture?

Secondly we explore how to amplify the potential of people – and most significantly yourself, and your leadership teams. How do you disrupt yourself? To think and act in new ways, to let go of the success model which got you where you are, and to develop new ways to take you further? What does it mean for your team? How can you develop a team that achieves much more, thinks bigger, and amplifies their personal and business impact?

  • Network Advantage: Andrew Shipilov is a Professor of Strategy at INSEAD. He is an expert in the areas of strategy, innovation, and networks. His current academic research examines how social networks, strategic alliances, and partnerships affect firm’s competitive advantage. He teaches and directs Executive Education programs on competitive strategy, collaborative strategy, and Blue Ocean Strategy. He is here to talk about the new book Network Advantagedescribing how you can unlock value from your alliances and partnerships.
  • Disrupt Yourself: Whitney Johnson, former award-winning Wall Street equity analyst and an expert on disruptive innovation and personal disruption; specifically, a framework which she codifies in the critically acclaimed book Disrupt Yourselfand expands on in her new book Build an A Team. Whitney’s research and work in disruptive innovation starts with the understanding that the framework of disruption is at a very high level a framework for managing change – beginning with the individual. She developed her proprietary framework and diagnostics after having cofounded the Disruptive Innovation Fund with Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen. Whether scaling a business or trying to get your people to be more innovative, Whitney’s research helps people become a person people want to hire and a boss people want to work for.

1200 – 1230 … Big Talk: What do you think?

The European Business Forum is different because it’s about you – your ideas, your applications, and your future. Big Talk is the moment to share your thoughts with peers around your table, and then with the whole forum. Together we shape the emerging themes into a shared agenda, and a message to the wider audience of business leaders across Europe.

  • Peter Fisk facilitates this high-energy co-creation session involving the whole audience to discuss how social transformation can transform our businesses.
  • The question is “How will you make better choices?”

1330 – 1500 … How Can Leaders Drive Business as a Force for Good?

Earlier this year, BlackRock declared that they would continue to invest only in companies that could demonstrate a social benefit beyond profits. Yet at the same time, business leaders feel ever more challenged to deliver short term results, to embrace automation as a route to efficiency rather than enhancing humanity. Whilst CSR was seen as a good thing to do, sustainability became more important than a project, initiatives like the “circular economy” became a prerequisite for business. And the questions of trust and authenticity, don’t go away.

“Making better choices” comes in many forms – the choices of where to grow, how to invest, and what to do. In many ways, business leaders are faced with more choices than ever – new markets to enter, new technologies to invest in, new sectors to embrace, new ideas to develop. But the choices run deeper too. In the context of social innovation, it becomes a question of purpose. How is value, who is it created for, how is it shared?

What are the implications and opportunities of all this for business leaders? In particular, in technology and media-based companies? Can business really be a force for good? How do we find a better alignment between business and society? Where do leaders go wrong, and how could we do better?

  • Matt Brittin is president of EMEA business and operations for Google. He’s also an Olympic (Seoul 1988) and world championship rower (he won a bronze medal). He joined Google as director of sales in 2007 and rose rapidly to become MD for Google UK in 2009 and then vice-president for Northern Europe in 2011. Google, despite all its innovation and success, has faced huge challenge from media and governments in recent times, about everything from tax evasion to responsible content. Matt has been the man at the center of defending the brand’s reputation, and finding ways forward to drive the business, and engage society. Fun fact: Today is the 20thanniversary of the Google Search Engine.
  • Jimmy Maymann is an entrepreneur by heart. From 2012 to 2015, Maymann served as the CEO of the Huffington Post based in New York during which time he focused on the transition of the brand towards becoming a profitable, global media company. Until early 2017, he was the Executive Vice President and President, AOL Content & Consumer Brands, where he led AOL’s content portfolio, strategy and OTT operations. Jimmy is currently focused on his own tech-investments and on professional boardwork, chairing, amongst others, TV2 Denmark.
  • Jim Hagemann Snabe is one of Europe’s top business leaders. He is chairman of the Board of A.P. Moller-Maersk and Siemens, and a board member of SAP, Bang & Olufsen, Allianz and the World Economic Forum. His new book Dreams and Detailsis about two things: Dreams are about having a vision – extremely ambitious, but attainable in its nature. It acts as a beacon for the organization and it is the purpose and the goal the employees sign up for. Details is the daily practice that supports those goals. All the single initiatives, that move you closer to the dream. He defines what a dream is and isn’t and why many fail – they forget to dream and instead make financial plans. Jim will be joined on stage by his co-author, Mikael Trolle.
  • Mikael Trolle, CEO of Volleyball Denmark and the head coach for the Danish men’s national volleyball team. He is co-author of Deams and Detailswith Jim Snabe and owner of the consulting company, Trolle and Partners. Mikael’s career has spanned eight years as an international volleyball player followed by 20 years in head coaching positions at club and national level. He is affiliated with the High Performance Institute as a speaker, with Copenhagen Business School’s High Performance leadership programs, and with Copenhagen University as a lecturer and examiner. 

1530 – 1700 … The European Business Lecture 2018

The European Business Lecture is a key moment in the European business world. What’s the big message to the leaders of business in Europe? Bringing together the topics of the last two days… how can business leaders ‘create great choices’?

  • Roger Martin is the world’s #1 business thinker, and tops the 2017 Thinkers50 ranking of global management gurus. He is a Canadian strategist, formerly Dean of the Rotman School of Management. He is perhaps most famous for his “Playing to Win” collaboration with P&G’s former CEO AG Lafley, which defined the key choices to make in developing a great strategy. He has almost dedicated much of his time to social entrepreneurship, and has a new book just out called Creating Great Choices, which explores how “integrative thinking” can lead to solutions which are not trade-offs or compromises, but adopt a better way.

1700 – 1800 … Odense Celebration

Keynote speakers

I will be hosting the event again, and working with my Thinkers50 colleagues Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove to design an event that brings together the best ideas in a fresh and though-provoking. Here are some of this years top speakers who will be working together, and with you:

  • Roger Martin, author of Creating Great Choices, the world’s #1 business guru
  • Don Tapscott, author of Blockchain Revolution, the world’s #2 business guru
  • Alex Osterwalder, co-author of Business Model Generation, and #7 business guru

Together with:

  • Matt Brittin, President of Google EMEA, one of Europe’s top business leaders
  • Jim Hagemann Snabe, Chairman of AP Moller-Maersk, and Siemens AG
  • Martin Lindstrøm, Denmark’s Lego kid, and though leader on consumer insight
  • Whitney Johnson, Harvard executive coach, author of Disrupt Yourself
  • Chris Zook, Bain & Co partner, and author of Founders Mentality
  • Johanna Mair, German social innovation expert from Stanford
  • Erica Dhawan, from Harvard on the power of Connectional Intelligence
  • Casper von Koskull, Finnish banker and CEO of Nordea Bank
  • Alexandra Christina, the Danish countess, author of The Sincerity Edge
  • Tania de Jong, Dutch Australian operatic-singing creative catalyst
  • Jimmy Maymann-Holler, EVP of AOL, previously CEO of Huff Post
  • Andrew Shipilov, Insead professor, and author of Network Advantage
  • Esben Østergaard, founder and CTO of Universal Robots

Video gallery

Here is a preview of some of their best ideas:

Roger Martin, author of Creating Great Choices, the world’s #1 business guru

The former dean of University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, Martin is a strategy advisor to CEOs worldwide and the author of ten books, including Thinkers 50 award winners Playing to Win (with AG Lafley, HBR Press, 2013) and Getting Beyond Better (with Sally Osberg, HBR Press, 2015). His new book Creating Great Choices (with Jennifer Riel, HBR Press, 2017) follows up on his 2007 bestseller The Opposable Mind (HBR Press).

Don Tapscott, author of Blockchain Revolution, the world’s #2 business guru

The Hammond B3 organist in the band Men in Suits, Don also happens to be one of the world’s leading authorities on innovation, media, and the economic and social impacts of technology. He regularly advises business and government leaders around the world.  He has authored or co-authored over 15 books on the digital economy. His latest book, entitled Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World, is co-authored with his son Alex Tapscott, and is, according to Harvard Business School’s Clay Christensen, “thebook, literally on how to survive and thrive in this next wave of technology-driven disruption.”

Alex Osterwalder, co-author of Business Model Generation, and #7 business guru

Alex Osterwalder and his academic partner Yves Pigneur are the authors of Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want (2014) and Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Gamechangers and Challengers (self-published, 2010). Business Model Generationis based on a tool called the Business Model Canvas. The book’s contents were co-created by 470 Business Model Canvas practitioners from 45 countries, and features a highly visual, four-colour design that explains a range of strategic ideas and tools.

Matt Brittin, the Olympic rower who now leads Google across Europe

Matt is president of EMEA business and operations for Google. He’s also an Olympic (Seoul 1988) and world championship rower (he won a bronze medal). His first job was relatively mundane, a surveyor. Then an MBA took him to McKinsey, and into tech strategy as commercial director at Trinity Mirror. He joined Google as director of sales in 2007 and rose rapidly to become MD for Google UK in 2009 and then vice-president for Northern Europe in 2011. Google, despite all its innovation and success, has faced huge challenge from media and governments in recent times, about everything from tax evasion to responsible content. Matt has been the man at the centre of defending the brand’s reputation, and finding ways forward to drive the business, and engage society.

Jim Hagemann Snabe, Chairman of Moller-Maersk and Siemens

Jim Hagemann Snabe is one of Europe’s top business leaders. He’s Chairman of the Board of A.P. Moller-Maersk and Seimens, and a board member of SAP, Bang & Olufsen, Allianz and the World Economic Forum. His new book “Dreams and Details” is about two things: Dreams are about having a vision – extremely ambitious, but attainable in its nature. It acts as a beacon for the organization and it is the purpose and the goal the employees sign up for. Details is the daily practice that supports those goals. All the single initiatives, that move you closer to the dream. He defines what a dream is and isn’t and why many fail – they forget to dream and instead make financial plans. Jim will be joined by his co-author, Mikael Trolle, former head coach of the Danish Volleyball Federation.

Whitney Johnson, Harvard executive coach, author of Disrupt Yourself

Former award-winning Wall Street equity analyst Whitney Johnson is an expert on disruptive innovation and personal disruption; specifically, a framework which she codifies in the critically acclaimed book Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work and expands on in the upcoming book Build an “A” Team: Play To Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve. Whitney’s research and work in disruptive innovation starts with the understanding that the framework of disruption is at a very high level a framework for managing change – beginning with the individual. She developed her proprietary framework and diagnostics after having cofounded the Disruptive Innovation Fund with Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen. Whether scaling a business or trying to get your people to be more innovative, Whitney’s research helps people to harness, rather than just cope with change and become a person people want to hire and a boss people want to work for.

Casper von Koskull, Finnish banker and CEO of Nordea Bank

Nordea, which was formed through a succession of deals involving Swedish, Danish, Finnish and Norwegian banks at the end of the last century, has been praised by investors for emerging from the financial crisis in relatively good shape. In last year’s stress tests of European banks, Swedish lenders led the way with Nordea having 11.8 per cent capital under the most severe scenario, well ahead of the 5.5 per cent requirement. Von Koskull, who started his career at Citibank in Helsinki before working for UBS and Goldman Sachs, is in charge of implementing Nordea’s new three-year plan to boost its dividend and return on equity while keeping costs down.

Martin Lindstrøm, Denmark’s Lego kid, taking us inside the consumer’s mind

Martin Lindstrøm is a fabulous author and speaker on brands, consumers and innovation. From his early days in growing up in Denmark, where he was recruited by Lego for his childhood insights, to a US TV series explaining the secrets of brand marketing today, Martin travels the world, helping his clients structure their brands, products and services by design, to enhance their sales and productivity throughout their businesses. His latest book is Small Data is all about finding the small clues to understand our futures, and drive big innovation.

Alexandra Christina, author of The Sincerity Edge

Recognizing their role as “corporate citizens,” companies are seeking guidance on how to be true to their missions, principled in practice, and well regarded for their contributions to society. As this book reveals, the key lies in sincerity―the sum of values like authenticity, integrity, and trust. Countess Alexandra (née Manley) is the first wife of Prince Joachim of Denmark,  the younger son of Queen Margrethe II. She grew up in Hong Kong with British and Chinese parents, and was married from 1995 to 2005. In her new book, tracing inspirational tales and scandals alike, she shows how leaders can head up companies that more reliably make good decisions and conduct themselves in a trustworthy manner. She concludes with twelve concrete actions that businesses can take to cultivate “the sincerity edge.”

Chris Zook, Bain & Co partner, and author of Founders Mentality

Chris Zook is a partner in Bain & Company’s Boston office. He was co-head of the Global Strategy practice for 20 years. During his more than 25 years at Bain, Chris has specialized in helping companies find new sources of profitable growth. A best-selling author, Chris published his fifth book, The Founders Mentality (Harvard Business Review Press) in 2016. Based on a decade-long study of companies in more than 40 countries, he shows how leaders can overcome the predictable crises of growth and set their companies on a path of sustainable growth.

Johanna Mair, German social innovation expert from Berlin and Stanford

Johanna is a Professor of Organization, Strategy and Leadership at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and the Hewlett Foundation Visiting Scholar at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society.  She currently serves as the academic editor of Stanford Social Innovation Review. Her research lies at the intersection of organizations, institutions and social change. More specifically, she is interested in how institutions stifle and enable social and economic progress and the role of organizational activity in this process.

Erica Dhawan, from Harvard on the power of Connectional Intelligence

Technology has made us the “most connected” society… but how do you make the right connections to get ahead? Move beyond smart networking to a deeper wisdom and learn the secrets of a new wave of leaders: how to connect creatively with the most important people you need to know. Erica Dhawan is the co-author of Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence. She is a researcher, strategist and keynote speaker on the new world of work and advises Google, Deloitte, Fidelity and the United Nations.

Tania de Jong, Dutch Australian operatic-singing creative catalyst

Tania de Jong makes the case that people singing together can change the brain. Pushing the idea that creativity is the strategic tool of the 21st century, she says how our voices have been silenced and that it’s not doing us any good. She explains how singing is a survival mechanism, how it makes our hearts beat together and can help heal strokes and depression.

Esben Østergaard, founder and CTO of Universal Robots, a moonshot in Odense

In the future, robots may take over many jobs. What jobs will the humans do? Meet your future job role as a cloudworker. How can you help the robots? With more than 25 years of experience in robot development, Claus is one of the founding fathers of modern European robotics. He has created the successful robot development company and incubator, Blue Ocean Robotics in Odense. In just three years the company has grown from only being 3 employees to more than 110 and world-wide presence in more than 65 countries.

Jimmy Maymann-Holler, previously CEO of Huff Post and EVP of AOL

Entrepreneur, Former Huffpost CEO and EVP of content and consumer brands at AOL, Jimmy Maymann has learnt a thing or two about how content remains king. Maymann started his internet career in Denmark in the mid-1990s after he graduated from the University of Odense with a degree in Economics and International Marketing  His final university thesis – about the commercial opportunities presented by the internet – was inspired by a fieldtrip he took to the USA in 1994, during which he was exposed to the internet for the first time, and which ultimately laid the foundation for his first business ventures. From  2012 to 2015, Maymann served as the CEO of the Huffington Post based in New York during which time he focused on the transition of the brand towards becoming a profitable, global media company. Until early 2017, he was the Executive Vice President and President, AOL Content & Consumer Brands, where he led AOL’s content portfolio, strategy and OTT operations.

Andrew Shipilov, INSEAD professor, and author of Network Advantage

Shipilov is a Professor of Strategy and the Akzo Nobel Fellow of Strategic Management at INSEAD. In 2014, he received a prestigious Emerging Scholar Award from the Strategic Management Society. He is an expert in the areas of strategy, innovation, and networks. His current academic research examines how social networks, strategic alliances, and partnerships affect firm’s competitive advantage. He teaches and directs Executive Education programmes on competitive strategy, collaborative strategy, and Blue Ocean Strategy. From 2010, he is an Academic Director of the  INSEAD’s Blue Ocean Strategy open programme. Here he talks about the new book “Network Advantage” describing how you can unlock value from your alliances and partnerships:

Nikolaj Coster Waldau, UN Ambassador and star of Game of Thrones (*to be confirmed)

Nikolaj  is a Danish actor, best known for portraying Jaime Lannister in hit series Game of Thrones. He has also portrayed Horus in Gods of Egypt and appeared in Oblivion alongside  Tom Cruise. He made hi US film debut in Black Hawk Down. Since April 2011, Coster-Waldau has played Jaime Lannister on HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones.  In his role as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador he focuses on raising awareness and support for the Global Sustainable Development Goals which are a universal call to action to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change. “My main mission as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador will be to raise awareness and support for the Global Goals for a better future for all, which cannot be achieved without empowering women and protecting our planet.”

EBF is like no other event.

Thinkers50 is all about finding, connecting and sharing the best ideas. Therefore we want you and the thinkers to stop and think … to explore the current ideas, but go further, to challenge each other’s thinking, and do better. Not just on stage. This is not a show. Its about great minds – academic and commercial, working together to think further, smarter and practically.

Here is a short reminder of last year’s incredible two days:

Tickets are available from europe.thinkers50.com

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