May 29th, Satya Nadella CEO of Microsoft invited Nordic customers and partners for a small conference in Sweden, putting forth his ambitions for the future. This was Nadella’s first ever visit to Sweden, since stepping into the shoes of the company’s CEO. He touched upon issues of today’s tech world, but most importantly made Swedish people aware of his company’s firm belief in global digitization and describe what the future holds in store.
Self-discipline & excitement-seeking are two pillars of Satya’s personality, which has made this Indian-origin techy an intellect worldwide; from Asia to Europe we all treat him with the warm welcome.
Dinner with Microsoft’s ISV Team
A day before the Nadella’s address, I was invited for dinner and socializing hosted by Joanna and Martin from Microsoft. ISV stands for Independent Software Vendor and present individual or companies those who develop, market and sell software running on third-party hardware and software platforms such as the Microsoft.
The term ISV is prominent in the tech world, used by most tech companies including Microsoft. To understand this from a layman’s term, when Microsoft was in the pursuit of developing windows, its partnerships with numerous companies/individuals to take their project forward both on the technical and non-technical front.
Next Morning, I had the opportunity to see some of the companies that has implemented their solutions on the Microsoft platforms at hotel Berns. There we received a pep talk to Microsoft and partners on the future and what efforts we need to put to make sure it is heading the right direction.
The Microsoft tech show commenced in style with the tunes of Sweden’s most renowned DJ and Saxophone artist Andreas Ferrronato. His soul-soothing set the mood 🙂
The Volvo Group Digitizing its Operations
Hillevi Pihlblad from Volvo Group talked about how employees hate change and across the globe it is not easy to adapt to changes. Further, she illustrated how the Volvo Group has translated the changes into something positive and made people understand why embracing change can make their lives convenient.
The H&M Group And The Use of AI To Serve Their Customers The Best
A senior executive and business leader of the H&M Group, Arti Zeighami talked about how the company is investing in Artificial Intelligence technology to tailor store offerings. Heading the Advanced Analytics and AI function, he gave a presentation on how H&M Group is implementing advanced algorithms to scrutinize sales an returns. Further, helped them more efficiently predict the needs and demands of their customers.
Satya Nadella, The Man of the Moment Taking The Center Stage
Then, finally came the moment when Helene Barnekow introduced Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella. He was treated with great warm claps from the tech people present.
Nadella who took over the job role of CEO from Steve Ballmer in 2014, is globally renowned for his dynamic leadership and a true passion for technology innovations. Prior to being the company’s CEO, Nadella was Microsoft EVP of the cloud and enterprise group.
His journey as a CEO has transformed Microsoft in terms of technology, also accentuating the company’s business model and corporate culture. His emphatic leadership abilities steered Microsoft from struggling smartphone strategy to focus on other technical aspects such as the Augmented Reality and Cloud Computing.
He was also responsible for the purchase of Linkedin, a network of professionals for around $26.2. Did you know since taking over as CEO, company’s stocks have increased by 150%?
The theme of the address by Satya Nadella was how communities and companies are uniting together for the digitized future of Sweden. This speech was largely about Microsoft’s own digital products and services, and how they can drive the world forward.
On his address to the tech people of Sweden, he threw light on various segments of technology-the Artificial Intelligence, Digital Transformation & Innovation. The American giant was in Stockholm to make a big announcement about setting up data centers in the country.
“We have the ambition that the data centers we build in Sweden should be among the most sustainable in the world, this is another step in strengthening our position as a long-term digitization partner for Swedish businesses”
Key Highlights from Nadella’s Address
“It would be wrong for me not to talk about trust. Because in the end, it is something that will be very important to us – not only to create new technology but to really assure that there is confidence in the technology that we create” he says on stage and continues “We need to create systems that handle personal data and security as a human right.”
Satya Nadella talked about the recent investment his company is making in Sweden. Among all the tech things, Microsoft two centers to be built in Gävle and Sandviken, they will be the most sustainable in the world.
“We will use one hundred percent renewable energy. They will also be completely free from operational emissions. We set a new standard when it comes to the next generation data center. It starts here in Sweden,” said Satya Nadella.
Apart from the data centers, Satya Nadella also highlighted the recent key partnerships during his speech at the China Theater. He further talked about company collaboration with Kiruna, this city makes use of Microsoft Hololens and AR to plan the city’s underground infrastructure.
Microsoft in Sweden
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO Put Forth Examples of Company’s Interest in the Country;
”There have been huge breakthroughs in the last three years, regardless of whether we are talking about object identification or voice recognition. This must be translated into infrastructure. Here we invest heavily.”
“Take Spotify who has a new very cool podcast tool. It lets anyone do their own podcast and they use our speech recognition to convert speech into text. The most interesting thing they do is that for anyone who wants to modify their podcast, they can enter and edit in writing and that the podcast then automatically changes. It shows how to use AI to make it more efficient”
Ending the Visit on a High
Later in the day, Nadella visited the Samhall innovation Days, a hackathon with the aim of “creating the conditions for people with a diagnosis within the autism spectrum to come into operation”, in the company’s press release.
Last summer, Microsoft announced two data centers in Norway to take their cloud computing services to entire Europe.
“By building new data center regions in Norway, we facilitate growth, innovation and digital transformation of Norwegian businesses – whether large companies, the public sector or some of the 200,000 small and medium-sized companies that together create the future of Norway,” said CEO Kimberly Lein-Mathisen in Microsoft Norway when the Norwegian plans became known.
Nadella declared that both the data centers will run on 100% renewable energy, so this project is in the welfare of the country, creating an ocean of newer opportunities for the locals. He also talked about his company’s association with the tech companies/communities in Sweden; one is the Kiruna city and other being the Sandvik Company.
The address at the China Theater in Stockholm by Microsoft’s top boss, Satya Nadella was like a pep talk. He gave his viewpoint on a variety of technology aspect. Most importantly, he announced the company’s program of building two data centers in this Nordic country.
Finally the day is here, and it is time for another InnoTown in my beautiful hometown Ålesund. Ålesund’s Art Nouveau architecture is known far and wide. The myriad of turrets, spires and beautiful ornamentation are like something from a fairytale.
The InnoTown Conference, arranged over two decades has brought speakers that have skilfully entertained the audiences with their unique stories. Their talks contain a rich blend of deeply motivational personal journeys and exceptionally practical business cases. They leave us energized and confident to capitalise on new ideas beyond the tried and tested. Ålesund is also the centre of one of the most innovative and dynamic regions in Norway, with a long history of groundbreaking innovation.
This year Monica Parker moderated and narrated the event. Monica is an ex-homicide investigator, organisational behaviorist, speaker, author, workplace nerd, status quo challenger and founder of HATCH Analytics guiding businesses through change.
Monica has fifteen years experience in understanding the influence of environment and processes on human behavior. Monica specializes in an evidence-based approach to change, using social scientific methods of data collection grounded in a pragmatic and commercial foundation.
“I have always been interested in human behaviour, my background as a homicide investigator in the U.S. gave me an analytical mind and a broad understanding of behavioral psychology.”
What is Creativity?
Fredrik Haren talks on creativity, innovation and idea generation – and on how to develop a global mindset and build a truly global company. His speeches help the audience understand how valuable it is to think in new ways and how difficult this is to achieve. He also speaks on business creativity and human innovation, on embracing disruption and change, and about the importance of having a global, human mindset. Fun fact about Fredrik is that he owns three private islands and he invited the InnoTown audience to join him there 😎
Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. Creativity is a combination force, it’s our ability to tap into our ‘inner’ pool of resources, knowledge, insight, information, inspiration and all the fragments populating our minds that we have accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world and to combine them in extraordinary new ways.
Talking more on creativity, Fredrik spoke about how great nations have been able to remain relevant with amazing ideas. Over the years, USA have come up with grand and great ideas and creative innovations such as Tesla, SpaceX, Microsoft, Apple.
For Japan, creative small incremental changes have been key. All of these incremental changes add up, and make a significant positive impact on organizations. One approach to continuous incremental improvement in japan is called kaizen. In business, kaizen refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers.
China economy find it’s niche in mass manufacturing, and this lead to huge market of copying in Chinese economy. China, copy and copy right has led to a lot of good products and huge revenues for China.
Mongolia nomadic mindset has been very important for the development of such a small nation. The Mongolian people belong to one of the oldest nomadic cultures in the world and still highly regarded as a major part of the fabric which is Mongolia and commercial success of Mongolia. They move to where the business is.
Iceland is probably the most improved nation in Europe this century, and they have gone about this by simply getting out and getting inspired in all facet.
Philippines creativity became widely known in 2010 when inmates in Cebu prison were recorded dancing to Michael Jackson’s thriller. The dance performance took place in a prison on the Filipino island of Cebu and the purpose was to showcase the island’s proud dance tradition
The value of travel, let go of parts of your identity and embrace other cultures and mindsets. That way you might become a fountain of ideas.
He concluded by saying in order to put in the hard work to acquire a skill, you need to believe that the activity really is a skill you can learn. When you believe the activity is a talent then you don’t bother to work hard at it, because you attribute any limitations in your performance to your lack of talent.
What are the structural changes that are needed in the financial industry to align the business models with the Paris Climate Agreement and United Nation Sustainability Goals? Sustainability has become the fundamental to resilient business. It is about trust and the ability to provide long term value creation. Sustainable energy is a form of energy that meet our today’s demand of energy without putting them in danger of getting expired or depleted and can be used over and over again. Sustainable energy should be widely encouraged as it do not cause any harm to the environment and is available widely free of cost.
This energy is replenishable and helps us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and causes no damage to the environment. If we are going to use fossil fuels at a steady rate, they will expire soon and cause adverse affect to our planet
Thina Margrethe Saltvedt is a senior advisor Sustainable Finance at Nordea Bank. Before joining the Sustainable Finance group in January 2018, she worked as a chief analyst macro/oil for 10 years. Thina is a member of the Minister of Climate and Environment’s Climate Council.
Sustainable development gained traction after the Brundtland commission definition statement, created on behalf of the United Nations in 1983 to reflect about ways to save the human environment and natural resources and prevent deterioration of economic and social development: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Also the Norwegian Pension Fund focuses on a sustainable investment profile and how they seek to reduce financial risks associated with the environmental and social practices of companies in their portfolio.
Thina spoke about how Sustainable energy management is a key issue for companies today. She said long-term strategic thinkers and energy entrepreneurs must be closely involved in these practices. They must play an important role in helping their organizations make more sustainable energy choices. Energy entrepreneurs must support energy consumption reduction efforts with their in-depth knowledge of energy costs. And they help steer management towards the right decisions for using renewable energy. She reiterated that sustainability is a business approach to creating long-term value by taking into consideration how a given organization operates in the ecological, social and economic environment. Sustainability is built on the assumption that developing such strategies foster company longevity.
As the expectations on corporate responsibility increase, and as transparency becomes more prevalent, companies are recognizing the need to act on sustainability. Professional communications and good intentions are no longer enough. Also, investors today avoid taking on climate risks. Making short term decisions in the wrong direction might involve costs and risk for the investment.
A Missed Opportunity for the Maritime Community
The super yacht Industry! How did this Norewgian-born end up designing custom motor yachts for an international clientele? What is the super yacht market like and what does this mean to Norway?
Espen Oeino first involvement in yacht design is the popular ECCO yacht, and he hasn’t looked back since then.
For over twenty years Espen Oeino has been hard at work. The world recognized designer, founded his technical and design office specializing in yacht design, naval architecture and engineering related disciplines in Monaco. With a multicultural and multi disciplined staff of 20, based in the yachting capital of Monaco, the studio has left a significant imprint on the new build market and is today considered one of the world’s leading design studios for large bespoke motor yachts.
Espen Oeino talked on the world of interior superyacht design and how it has been largely dominated by a small specialized group of yacht stylists, interior designers and architects. He also gave opinions on the mindset of the yacht designers.
Espen Oeino also gave an honest opinion on yacht designers offering both exterior and interior design, explaining that some clients prefer to entrust their yacht’s interior to a different designer.
Initially, your designer of choice will want to find out your ambitions for the yacht where you’ll sail, who with, and what you plan to do aboard. This information will inform their designs, and these discussions will often involve reference boats other yachts you have admired, and showcase vessels you have seen at boat shows around the world, or in the designer’s portfolio. For constructing each Superyacht up to 1.000 people can be employed for up to four years.
Finally, he gave an insight to how yachts are constructed explaining that no yachts are built from A-Z in the Nordics, even if the competence is there.
The Generation Gap
For the first time in history we have four different generations competing in the workplace and marketplace, all with separate ways of working, communicating and expectations of these relationships. Forget the outdated emphasis on Millennials, the biggest challenge facing business now is how to manage and maintain a multi-generational and diverse workforce and consumer-base. The Generation Gap is becoming an increasingly difficult issue for business. It is a difference of opinions between one generation and another regarding beliefs, politics, or values. In today’s usage, generation gap often refers to a perceived gap between younger people and their parents or grandparents.
Dr. Paul Redmond specializes in ‘Generational Intelligence’, helping companies and services navigate the complex generational developments within politics, society and the workplace.
Paul educates companies on long-term generational trends on how business can adapt, not only for Millennials and Gen Z’s needs, but crucially across the generations. His aim is to smash some of the misconceptions and generalisations that come with speaking about the generations.
Dr. Paul Redmond talked on how Generation Gap is Caused by Collectivism and Individualism: Whether in non-western countries or westerns countries, when there are changes in politics and societies, families and individuals are affected greatly. In many non-western countries such as China, Japan and Korea, collectivism is considered as one of the most significant values in the cultures, whereas in western countries such as the United states, individualism is emphasized. However, from the middle of 19th century, a great number of Asian people immigrate to the United States.
He mentioned how the generation gap is growing for each generation, and every generation has its own approach to life and work. At the risk of stating the obvious, the interactions between generations have profound effects on families and their businesses. Today, Boomers are mostly in charge and getting hit with the new wave of change brought in by the Millennial generation, born between 1982 and 2004.
Change and how to Embrace it..
Monica Parker, the moderator, comes back to talk about change and how it can positively impact lives. Change is a big part of being successful. Not only is change good, but it’s accelerating at an increasingly rapid pace.This means that you need to keep adapting. It’s both a survival skill and a success skill
Monica Parker the moderator talked about change and how it never stands still in real life. It’s not like the movies where characters can freeze-frame and the writer takes the viewer on some tangential story. In real life, change happens constantly. You can fight it or welcome it. It’s your choice. Change will occur regardless.
Monica explained how all companies are tech companies today in the age of IoT. The total installed base of IoT connected devices is projected to amount to 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025, a fivefold increase in ten years.
She told the story of how China uses AI to monitor people and India use AI to reunite orphans with their family, and in 2018, the Chinese government has installed close to 200 million surveillance cameras across the country, which amounts to approximately 1 camera per 7 citizens.
Monica also gave an insight on how change is going to affect employment rate, explaining how Kids growing up today will have 17 jobs in 5 different industries according to a research from McKindle.
She rounded up by explaining how the decisions to vote Trump and Brexit is a backlash for globalization.
What are you Great at?
René Carayol is back and this time he shares the magic and simplicity of the SPIKE philosophy. Spike is the product of some 30 years of supporting the growth and development of individuals and businesses of all shapes and sizes. The vital and essential ingredient of the Spike methodology is that absolutely everyone has at least one inherent strength.Sometimes, it’s hard to see these things in ourselves. Our natural abilities/talents/gifts come so naturally to us that we often don’t even notice them! We tend to assume that our gifts come just as naturally to everyone else, therefore, they aren’t special or unique, nor are they particularly useful. But that assumption isn’t accurate because we allhave multiple gifts and something to offer the world it’s just a matter of getting clear on what those things are so that we feel confident in sharing what we have to offer.
Rene gave his opinion on humanity. According to him, humanity is plural, not singular. We embrace the diversity of humanity and all it brings to innovation. Because the best way the world works is everybody in and nobody out.
Finally he spoke on the concept of “Challenge up, support down”. “Challenge up” is when people honestly disagree with ideas and policies that come from top management. Once final decisions are made, they “support down” by standing behind the decisions and making them work in the department and the community. This philosophy is important for greatness.
Carayol is one of the world’s leading business gurus specialising in leadership, culture and transformation, drawing from his own unique experiences on the boards of the biggest British and American organisations. He has had the privilege of working closely with some of the world’s prominent leaders; from former US President Bill Clinton to the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Sir Richard Branson.