Blog Speaker Contest 2022

6 Learnings from the Speaker Contest Helsinki Semifinal

Yesterday, on the 10th of March, we hosted the first 2022 Speaker Contest Semifinal. Hery Henry, Ingrid Tappin, Jukka Aalho, Mariska Kesteloo, Petri Rajaniemi, and Suvi Auvinen shared their thoughts on the topics of future of work, organizational culture, and sustainability. Each of the contestants provided interesting insights during their keynotes, and here, you can find the core idea of each speech.

Hery Henry Green BS – How Behavioral Science Can Stop Global Warming

“Help me to stop global warming in just 90 seconds”. That’s how Hery kicked off his presentation with an exercise asking participants to solve global warming through a series of personal choice trade-offs. Through this exercise, he introduced his audience to the Green BS methodology. “Humans are excellent at making individual choices, but really rather lousy at making collective ones”, he explained. Hery’s methodology aids decision-making by following five steps:

1. Power Question (ask “what would you need to…” to set a clear path to guide you to an actual solution).
2. Data Transparency (provide all the relevant information in a clear format).
3. Rules of the game (clearly state the guidelines).
4. Framework of personal choice (this helps people make better decisions).
5) Must Win Battle (set an end goal that must be reached).

When used, this system can facilitate problem-solving and making the necessary decisions that will promote more sustainable business practices.

Ingrid Tappin – Shaping the Future of Work and Why Empathy Is Not Enough

Ingrid introduced herself by saying: “I help organizations become more future-proof by becoming more human”. She expanded that in the workplace today, empathy plays a key role for organizations to attract, hire, and retain the best people. “Empathy? Yes, empathy”.

Ingrid has come up with the framework of Radical compassion in its three forms to foster this: Radical Compassion for the self, Radical Compassion for society as a whole, and Radical Compassion for the other.

The first example means setting boundaries and giving yourself the time you need. Radical compassion for society as a whole involves redefining the role of businesses as well as our perceptions of success and growth and “rearranging our society in such a way to create abundance for the rich and the poor”. The final form of radical compassion forces “stepping into the shoes of the other” while putting aside your own ego to trust in the other person’s good intentions, help and challenge each other, and learn how to respond, not react.

As Ingrid explains, by applying Radical compassion, a diverse, inclusive, and resilient global workforce can be born.

Jukka Aalho – Get Ready for One Finger Creativity

Jukka started his presentation by holding up a single finger, the only equipment needed for the future of work. With that finger, he showed the audience how you can create a product by only choosing, refreshing, and approving options with the assistance of AI programs and these three simple clicks. In fact, Jukka used this technique to create a book of poetry, “Aum Golly” in 24 hours with the aid of a gpt3 language model.

This new way of working is what Jukka calls “one finger creativity”. Through the innovation in these AI programs, “instead of the creator they [creatives] become the curator”.

Jukka presented several scenarios on what a typical workday may look like in the future. But the most important point is that while AI can enhance our productivity, it cannot replace human creativity.

“Creativity comes from living”, said Jukka. Employees that are happy are more creative, and creative people are also happier. “With the time freed by automation and AI, we can focus more on what makes us human,” Jukka explained in closing.

Mariska Kesteloo – The Loss of Connection

Mariska touched a moving topic: the importance of letting loss and grief be part of your daily conversations. “Telling your story is a primal need”. However, she pointed out that there is no place to talk about grief in today’s society.

As she shared her story of personal losses in the past two years, Mariska admitted that she had underestimated the impact of a grieving process. “I approached it like business: you deal with it and move on.”

But not sharing your story can take a huge toll. “We need to create situations where employees and your team can talk about loss and grief and show their emotions”. Otherwise, burnout, depression, or people leaving the company can result.

Her final piece of advice on using the grieving process to our advantage was to “shift our priorities to a more meaningful life and take risks to a life of more joy, love, and success.”

Petri Rajaniemi – Flames for Profit?

“The one thing that seems to define the world in 2022 is enormous pressure”, Petri stated. He explained that for the past decade, businesses have been living in a divide and conquer culture. “The kind of culture where if you fan the flames for profit, it will eventually pay off.”

During that time, the biggest buzzwords in marketing have been “tribes”, “revolution”, and overall “the us vs. them mentality”. The culture wars provided an opportunity for many companies to grow a loyal and fierce customer base. “Division delivered identity. And identity delivered profits.”

Petri explained that in times of crisis we see more clearly that our whole culture is about the shared belief in what is important: peace, freedom, compassion. “All these words are basically about the same thing: people”.

According to Petri, the corporate phrase “we value our people” comes up 9 times out of 10 in company statements. The time has come for corporate values to go through a trial by fire. And the best gift to employees is the privilege of working for a company that wants good things for them and for the world.

Suvi Auvinen – I Don’t Care About Your Sustainability Report

Suvi addressed the audience with a provocative phrase: “I don’t care about your sustainability report”. In fact, she claimed that people, media, and activists don’t care either. This is because no responsibility report is unique, promises anything concrete, or showcases the inspiring actions that companies might be doing.

According to Suvi, there is a paradoxical situation: people trust companies and expect them to stand up for something; however, businesses are failing people’s expectations. The root of the problem is that people don’t understand what companies are doing to address the world’s problems such as climate change or economic inequality.

Suvi summed up two rules to help companies solve this problem:
1. Do something worth noticing.
2. Tell everyone about your sustainability actions

She also urged companies not to shy away from getting help from the most unlikely people, including those who challenge or demand a lot from them. Input from outsiders is also important to gain different perspectives that will be needed in the world of tomorrow.

Wondering Who Won?

At each semifinal, our jury and the audience will vote for their favorite. The person with the most votes will move on to the final held in Helsinki on the 31st of May. In this first semifinal, Suvi Auvinen gave the winning speech and will therefore move to the final! A warm thank you to each semifinalist for the excellent keynotes, and congratulations to Suvi for winning! If you want to watch the recordings of the speeches, you can do so on the contest website.

About the Speaker Contest

The 2022 Speaker Contest is Business Forum Group’s initiative to find individuals with original ideas and give them a platform to speak. This year, the winner is offered a spot on stage at Nordic Business Forum 2022, Oslo Business Forum 2022, and Amsterdam Business Forum 2022 with a 70,000 € fee for the speaking engagements.

Interested to watch the rest of the semifinals? Join the audience on the contest website and help us choose a new speaker for our September evets.


What is new

Blog Nordic Business Forum 2022

“The Days of “Business as Usual” Are Long Gone” – Martin Lindstrom

Martin Lindstrom is recognized as one of the world’s leading business, branding, and culture transformation experts. His research in behavioral psychology and his bestselling books are reshaping how organizations approach innovation, culture, and business transformation. Martin is the founder and […]

Blog News Nordic Business Forum 2022

Petter Stordalen Joins Nordic Business Forum Helsinki 2022 Lineup

Petter Stordalen, the Norwegian hotel owner and investor, has been confirmed to join the Nordic Business Forum Helsinki 2022 lineup. At the event, Petter will talk about leadership and branding during a crisis. We are excited to announce that Petter […]