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Major shifts are transforming the business environment. Companies across the globe are ditching the five-year plans and long-term strategies. It's time to expand the spectrum and experiment more. Business leaders and politicians play a key role in changing the future.

"In this world, we are bombarded with information. You can come for one day and get clarity. You have a list of skillful, distinguished speakers, each an expert in their field, who can give you an overview of what to pay attention to." - Lillian Kretz

In this article, we have gathered the key takeaways from all the presentations at the Main Stage at Oslo Business Forums conference, Beyond 2020 on September 25, 2019.




How do established companies innovate and change? How do we come up with new ideas? How do we build a culture of innovation? For Nathan Furr, an innovation expert, the answer lies in something he calls innovation capital.

A winning innovation is more than the idea and more than the process to implementation, explains Nathan Furr. True successful innovation gets resources and idea buy-in, which he calls innovation capital. On stage, at the Oslo Business Forum, Furr reveals how innovation capital is the key. Furr, an award-winning author with a PhD from Stanford University, is a professor of strategy and innovation at INSEAD. 

Furr wants to dig deeper and understand more about how established companies innovate. He took to studying and researching how businesses approach (technological) change, where ideas come from and which ideas get backing.

Pump up the volume

Innovation capital can only happen when three factors come together:

  • Storytelling: Tell a compelling narrative to win support; one that motivates, that has character, that talks about conflict and that resolves.
  • Broadcasting: Attract people’s attention with your idea.
“Great ideas do not win. Great ideas plus innovation capital wins." – Nathan Furr

Creating an environment that promotes and supports wanted behaviors is the main key when creating an innovative workforce and preparing for change. But how can this environment be created? And who is responsible for creating it? Find out in this blog post with London Business School Professor of Strategic Innovation, Costas Markides.

Combine these parts to create the groundwork and innovative leaders will emerge, but as Furr highlights, the key is for others to be convinced so they will follow

Innovation capital explained

Innovation capital can only happen when three factors come together:

  • Human Capital: Who are you? This relates to personal innovation skills. For example, to be forward thinking is a skill that is needed during great change and innovation. A forward-thinking individual will project and think what customers want next and what emerging technologies are needed.
  • Social Capital: Who do you know?Furr connects this to social resources, or networks. This focuses on building ties; increase the breadth and depth of your social network to grow social capital
  • Reputation Capital: What are you known for? This is linked to building a reputation; creating trust, taking control of tasks and challenging situations.




Have you ever wondered about the difference between your own professional journey and that of your parents? Live on stage, Dr. Eliza Filby, a generations expert, explains how organizations today can be inclusive of several generations and effectively adapt to age diversity.

Four generations at work

Dr. Eliza Filby, a renowned generations expert, a writer, a speaker and a business consultant, wears many hats. She works with a diverse portfolio of businesses, from the beauty sector to private banks and government institutions, because leaders in all industries find themselves trying to manage a four-generational workforce and make sense of its multigenerational customer base. This topic has many layers, so Filbyis also writing a book on the history of generations.

On stage, at the Oslo Business Forum, Filby shares a personal insight of her mother, who found that the biggest innovation was not the transition from typewriters to computers, which was a huge technological shift, but it was the day her company built female-only toilets. This highlights that the most powerful game changers may not be work-related at all.

Diversity is a common sticking point within businesses. There is a lot of debate on gender and ethnic diversity, but thinking about age diversity is also relevant right now. In fact, as Filby points out,

“We are seeing four generations in the professional workplace for the first time. All with different ways of communicating. All with different demands from leadership. All with different understandings of recruitment, promotion, retirement. How do we manage the generational gap in our workplaces?” Age diversity is multi-layered with different factors playing a role, not least cultural and social.

Adulthood discrepancy

So, what are these four generations? Based on Filby’s own research, they can be categorized as follows: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. People from these generations are dominating the business world, but how are Baby Boomers and Gen Z so different? The answer lies in adulthood. 

READ MORE: Dr. Eliza Filby: Navigating Companies Among Multiple Generations 

There are five key markers of adulthood, according to Filby, education, leaving home, financial independence, marriage and children. Filby found that Baby Boomers met each marker at the approximate age of 26 years old. Whereas for a Millennial this will be closer to 37 years old. The extended adolescence for Millennials can be credited to the rightful focus on education and learning. 

Reap the benefits

Despite the generational differences, Filby sees a huge opportunity to have multi-generations at work, because it brings together experience and enthusiasm. This social change is happening around the world and women are often leading the charge. On the other end lies retirement, which is also extended as the key life stages are happening later in life, although later retirement is not always a choice.

Navigate the multigenerational workplace 

Harmony is the key, “think about what you can do for not just harness each generation, but bring them all together so that they work in harmony, and indeed close that obvious and challenging generation gap,'' says Filby.




Shivvy Jervis, 5-time award-winning Innovation Futurist and nominee for role-model and
influencer of the year by the British Public, spoke at Oslo Business Forum to uncover and investigate Emotive AI and Mixed Reality. Jervis focuses on meaningful innovation that combine both profits and purpose.

Humanizing Avatar Assistants with AI

For years, Jervis has been studying and asking: How are we going to build trust between us and machines, software and algorithms? And how can we make it easier for you in an organizational capacity to interact with, for example robots assistants, and any other shifts these avatars might take?

Artificial General Intelligence 

According to Jervis, we are currently at AGI, which is Artificial General Intelligence. She makes assumptions that in a decade or two from now we might be headed towards ASI – Artificial Super Intelligence, which are algorithms that have the capacity to outwit its human creator.  

Jervis explains that when we start to merge computer science, neural networks and psychology, we start to give machines something they don’t yet have: consciousness and cognition. This means the ability to read, respond and then actually simulate human emotion in a way that is very believable.

“The future is human.”
- Shivvy Jervis

This is what is called High Order AI, according to Jervis. Offering a sense of unique personalization such that the interaction users have and you have with that particular avatar will be completely unique based on your moods and preferences.

Through Mixed Reality, businesses can transfer information faster and work closer together with colleagues, partners and customers across the world. According to Jervis, more work sectors, not just tech-heavy companies in engineering among others, should move with the times and make use of Mixed Reality tech in their workplace and in marketing.

Jervis wants us to put our misconceptions away. New technologies aren’t too expensive, and you should start incorporating scientific technologies into your organization today and look at using it as a tool for earning bigger profits. Companies have already started using Mixed Reality in their workplace for more efficient communication and sharing of information, as well as incorporating AR in their marketing efforts.

Whatever the future holds for the immersive workplace, one thing is for sure: the future is human.

The Mixed Reality of the Future Workplace

Our immersive future is comprised of three areas:

  1. Mixed Reality
  2. Augmented Reality
  3. Virtual Reality





Creating a supportive work environment brings out the best employee behavior, fosters innovation and prepares a business for change. Professor, Costas Markides joins Oslo Business Forum and poses the question: How can leaders create a supportive environment?

Costas Markides, a professor at the London Business School and a renowned strategy and innovation leader, is live on stage at Oslo Business Forum to share his knowledge on implementing innovation within your team and change management.

More changes are coming

Markides stresses that we have not seen it all and that most disruptions are yet to come. He points to technology, where we still need to witness and adjust to the full potential of these systems, including: artificial intelligence, robotics, nano-materials, machine learning and virtual reality, which will require new business models. 

Today’s transformations are picking up speed. People like to anticipate but preparing for continuous disruption will be challenging.

“We need to institutionalize the attitudes and behaviors that will make us effective in responding to whatever disruption hits us."
-Costas Markides

During his talk, Markides entertains the audience with a 200-year-old math exercise, which was originally given to 10-year-old children. Back then, an extraordinary math whiz, Carl Friedrich Gauss, solved this particular exercise in one minute.

The problem seems impossible to solve at such a speed, but Gauss quickly applied his own approach to solve it, by grouping numbers. With this anecdote, he highlights that innovation is not something that just happens, rather, it is a by-product of thinking differently. 

People need to learn how to question and challenge the status quo, to think outside the box, to experiment without fear of failure, cross pollinate and take responsibility, says Markides. Considering these many factors it is clear that innovation does not happen as a given to everyone every day.

Let ideas flow

Markides points out that challenges follow innovation, because having the idea is one thing, but implementing it is another. A great deal of agility is needed, but even a simple idea or solution can meet challenges on the road to implementation, he says. This is because people do not behave as a smooth mechanism, so disruption hits.

Employee behavior is changeable and depends on many factors, where Markides refers to a few: cultural, values, company structures, processes, reviews, incentives and attitudes. But when a supporting internal environment is created it is more likely to foster innovation and agility to implementation.

Markides concludes that it is not enough to ask people how to work, and that desired attitudes and behaviors should be established as the norm in a company culture, which will maximize the response to innovation.

He refers to three key steps:

  • Instil and encourage behavior that promotes innovation and company agility
  • Build an environment that supports innovation-making behavior
  • Involve all levels of employees - innovation is not limited to top management

According to Markides, the tremendous changes the world has gone through in just a few years,  has shifted the way people think, work, shop and relate to each other. In the business world profound changes has flipped the strategy:

  • From hierarchical systems to people networks
  • From fixed pricing to dynamic pricing
  • From mass marketing to customized marketing
  • From traditional strategies to platform strategies
  • From closed innovation to open innovation




Everyone should buy into the idea that working together in a team will make us perform better. But it only works if everyone buys into the idea 100 percent. Aksel Lund Svindal, a downhill skiing legend, shares the benefits of team building and the mindset of an athlete.

Aksel Lund Svindal, a highly decorated skier, including five-time world champion, knows what it takes to work towards personal goals and how to get there. Having been a leader of Norway’s national team he understands how to improve both individual and group results through teamwork, “There is nothing that can be done better alone compared to how the team could do it,” says Svindal.

Team building for success

Live on stage at the Oslo Business Forum, Svindal shares experiences from his skiing career and underscored that teamwork skills stand central to become the best at what you do, where success and failure is part of the learning curve. Self-sacrifice for a group will ultimately yield results for the group and the individual, because, according to Svindal:

  • You must truly believe that you will be better if you contribute to the team
  • Your individual goals must be aligned with those of the group

Svindal's retirement from skiing has taken him down the business path, where he is an enthusiastic start-up investor and looks for team-spirit qualities. Teamwork stretches beyond the employees to other stakeholders, so between investors and organizations close teamwork should be created, explains Svindal. 

A collective group belief of an idea will become stronger when good teamwork is happening between the parties involved, and an investment will thrive. Here, he  highlights that innovators should be diligent and only seek out investors who will personally get behind their ideas and goals.

Risk and reward reality

Svindal's talk got the audience on the edge of their seat when he describes his adrenaline-fueled ski runs. He explains what it was like to stand at the top of a downhill run, and his risk-evaluating mindset before the start. He would analyze the risk of each turn and evaluate the rewards compared to the risks. With the help of data from team and coach, Svindal would prepare for the run by making a plan that he could get behind and believe in. By bringing together facts and confidence he would put his fears aside and go for it.

This summarizes risk-analysis assessment is how he was able to compete at the highest level for many years. The same mindset is comparable for leaders and entrepreneurs, because business decisions will often affect others, not just the decision-maker. Mindset is key here to prepare for decision repercussions, so that you will be able to make the right decisions, and be able to adjust when difficulties arise.

Other personal factors come into play, such as, honesty and motivation, which are qualities a leader should strengthen. True honesty with yourself and true motivation should be the aim for a winning mindset. As Svindal concludes, “If you can’t win it in your own mind then it’s hard to win in reality.”




A much-awaited discussion with a great leader, UK’s Ex-Prime Minister David Cameron, who was involved very closely in the political scenery when the UK made the historic decision to leave the EU.

Award-winning futurist, Shivvy Jervis, welcomes the UK's Former Prime Minister, David Cameron, to Norway and Oslo Business Forum. The conversation starts with a brief insight on what readers can expect from David Cameron’s new book “For the Record” and how it talks about his time as a Prime Minister and his perspective on few global talking points.Artificial General Intelligence

Q: What factors do you think contributed to the results of Brexit after your strong campaign against Brexit? 

Cameron replies saying there are many similarities between Britain and Norway such as members of Union, enthusiasm about collaboration and social impact, however, there is a major difference of political union.

He says, "They had the challenge to make everyone understand how it is better to stay in the union rather than out. We were making technical arguments, on the other hand, leave campaign made the control aspect a major issue, especially - Migration.2

Cameron said the world should also learn from Canada because they have proven how the system should work for the nation while discussing migration.

Cameron believes that we cannot get anywhere if we don’t know what people want. He also praises Justin Trudeau for his efforts and the great work he has done in Canada.

On asking what he expects the future of British Politics to look like regarding Brexit issue, Cameron responds by explaining how leaving with a deal can be a good option. The government does not have a majority in the Parliament, and it will be difficult to get its way. People voted to leave however; the deal was not mentioned in the initial contract. The parliament is confident that leaving with a deal is a priority instead of not leaving.

“It is time to unblock the blockage.”
-David Cameron

Currently, parliament is hung, the government is stuck unemployment is high. People need to stay patient, open and resilient.

On asking why a smooth transition is not looking like an option, Cameron shares that a partnership deal similar to Norway can be beneficial for a smooth transition, but people are not ready for a compromise. He adds that even the deal produced by Theresa May was opposed by the opposition as well as by few of her party members.

When asked about his opinion on the matter, he said,“While voting to leave, it will be beneficial to at least pick a deal model similar to Norway.”

He said Norway was able to stay out of the EU due to its politicians and people who believed the economic success they had. The UK can learn a lot from Norway about a settled partnership. He also believes that for handling refugee crisis in a better way, it is important to have a strong home market and strong internal borders, which in turn is possible with strong external borders. Hence, EU countries should focus on spending more on defence but they need to fight climate change as well.

Q: Why is anti-authoritarian stand gaining traction?

People voted to leave for sovereignty, control and getting out of a closed union. After the global crash, politics changed a lot. Post-2008, economically insecure people at the bottom wanted better opportunities all the while becoming culturally insecure. The major proof of that is the Trump campaign where immigration was the major drive.

Cameron also talks about how he handles the responsibility of being a public figure while expressing his views freely. He believes that we all need to make important choices and take the responsibilities. 

Future-Ready approach: The greatest chance for the future of education, the future of jobs and the future of Politics

When asked about whether it is the right decision to be in Vanguard; UK’s ex-Prime Minister said that world is growing fast with innovation. Leaders also should be proactive while making a decision otherwise they will keep waiting for others to innovate and will be left behind. He supports his argument with the example of text messaging, which no one thought will have such a huge scope when mobile phones were invented. He supports open data policy and says exploring the possibilities is required for any active government. 

David Cameron’s Counsel for Next-Gen and Leaders responsible for driving change

“Think about the skills you are building.”

According to David Cameron, corporations should have the priorities towards their community – stakeholders, employees as well as the community they are serving. It is essential to embrace community responsibility rather than just meeting the CSR milestones. The only other option is to get destroyed with fast-paced technology as the next generation care more about the value they create. He feels that looking at the broader picture will help in creating value and purpose for everyone including the next generation. Cameron ends his candid talk about politics, Brexit, personal life and opinions with Shivvy Jervis at Oslo Business Forum with a great message for the audience and future leaders, "Use skills to demonstrate value.” 

Check out the full speaker lineup for the next Oslo Business Forum on September 23-24, 2020.


September 23-24, 2020 | NORWAY TRADE FAIRS








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This article was produced using

Text: Sonal Mishra, Rosanna Bueler Mount, Cecilie Reppen,

Editor: Emily Northway

Photos: Stian Aleksander Rasmussen, Anette-Marie Antonsen , Kjetil Fredriksen, Henry Huynh Mai, John Velo, Simon Sørli Hemmingsen,
Hamza Majeed, Øyvind Ganesh / Oslo Business Forum

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