From a spider-like helmet on my head my alternating happy, sad and stressful thoughts are channeled to a screen on the wall – which is filled by growing graphs in different colors. Sensors in the helmet read EEG signals as indicators of my feelings. I’m testing Emotiv, which is one of the many new technologies that collect biometric data to measure emotional currents. Today, facial recognition software can pinpoint happiness if you smile into the camera. Our faces are one big field of expression that is easy for machines to learn. A heart bursting with feelings of love can be recorded by the heart rate monitor in a smart watch. Sweat secretions when someone is late for work can be captured by sensors that analyze stress levels.

The happiness of nations and customers’ feelings have long been evaluated with the help of surveys. Now there’s a whole host of new methods that, with input from bodily data, can calculate the most likely emotion at any given time. There is even software that analyzes social media activities, not just our word choices and their import, but also context and patterns. In other words, we have some rather adept happiness meters.

By moving from self-reported happiness in surveys to measuring actual feelings in real-time – and by connecting them with world events – research will come closer to real experiences. Harvard has conducted the study “Track Your Happiness” with the help of an app that measures life happiness. The Hedonometer project has charted happiness levels in US cities by analyzing 37 million tweets by 180,000 people. Now even the great technology giants are getting on the bandwagon. Apple recently invested in a company that measures emotional-based brainwaves and Mark Zuckerberg said last week that Facebook is developing software that can read thoughts and feelings in order to turn them into text. For real.

Technology that reveals our feelings can definitely be an invasion of privacy, but advertisers are rejoicing about how this will improve methods of measuring the effects of marketing. Customer service centers will be able to read customers’ moods using voice analysis, security police will get a new layer of information at airports and other sensitive sites, and it could even help people with autism to better interact with others. We are also going to start seeing products based on emotional data. Nikon is experimenting with a sensor camera that can read location, sound and temperature to customize the photo with an appropriate filter, according to the emotional mood.

One of the most interesting application areas for emotional data would be to expand our rigid GDP measurements to include the value of social interactions that have previously not been measurable, such as friendship, family happiness, ethics and a sense of meaning in life. Data shows, for example, that we have the clearest feelings of happiness when we help others. Several nations talk about well-being as an important goal for sustainable community development. Can we calculate how much we actually take pleasure in parks, sporting events or in having a visible police force in the vicinity? A study in Amsterdam showed that a noise increase from the airport made people unhappier than a decrease in their own incomes.

It follows that in the future we will be able to provide informed answers to the question of how we feel. In my case, with the spider on my head, I could only watch the screen. Yes, thanks, the data says I feel totally fine. Hopefully, it will make us more aware of what contexts we most like to thrive in. The American Meteorological Society recently made an emotional map that shows that happiness is maximized at 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius). So enjoy spring and autumn – summer is too hot for happy days.

Sara Öhrvall

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So once again, everyone was sat around the big table in the conference room on the top floor. It took over a quarter of an hour to deal with the issue at hand. And that issue was changing the time of a scheduled board meeting. Ten well-paid individuals had just spent valuable time feverishly flicking through their diaries – an activity that could have taken just a few minutes with the help of a digital service.

How is it still acceptable to cheerfully defend a fine leather diary against a digital calendar and claim that a Mont Blanc pen is the best tool for a to-do list? How is it that notes and documents are still written locally on each personal computer or, even worse, by hand and disappear in old pads and dusty folders?

The question might seem banal, but it is about focusing on activities that add value rather than wasting time on administration or looking for information. Many minutes per day, perhaps even full-time jobs, could be saved if all the meetings were booked via Doodle instead of in never-ending rounds of e-mails. If everyone used Dropbox to make their documents accessible, even to external partners. If everyone installed smart e-mail filters to sort the wheat from the chaff. If Evernote was used to organise notes, Scannable to save business cards directly into a contact list, Pipes to quickly summarise long texts, Instapaper to collect articles worth reading and make them available to colleagues with a thirst for knowledge. Or if Slack was made the company’s social hub for discussing new ideas and obtaining immediate feedback. The digital economy does not allow important information to be held by a single individual, where it cannot be shared, searched or discussed. It is easy both to misinterpret and to lose the scribblings of a traditional pen.

In an industrial context, potential efficiencies and automation of working processes are defined in detail, with little scope for the individual to express preferences for artisanal working methods. In the service sector, within management teams and administrative units, the situation is very different.

It is time to hack the office worker. In addition to saving time, a digitalised workplace can help with a move away from silos, traditional hierarchies and rigid processes that were suited to a different era. A digital toolbox makes it easier to share knowledge and networks, develop new ideas and collect data for complex decision-making. As companies make increasing use of a flexible workforce with a large proportion of freelancers and distance workers, technology is needed to bridge the physical gap and enable joint discussions, exchanges of ideas and feedback.

According to Quora Research, a substantial 77 percent of young employees in tech-based start-ups are open to ways of working that challenge existing norms. The equivalent figure is only 19 percent among employees at more traditional companies.

It is not difficult for either an individual or a company to carry out an analysis of the worst time wasters and distractions, and then source a suite of digital tools that provide a cure for the chaos – all it takes is the will. Then there are all the digital solutions that open up possibilities for a new way of working. To quote Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, conventional businesses use new technology to simplify what they already do, start-ups use the technology to challenge the way everything is done.

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Digitalization has emerged as a top priority on executive management’s agenda these days. A study published in the Harvard Business Review reveals that two-thirds of companies in the United States and Europe now place a strong focus on digitalization. At the board level, interest is weaker. Just under one-third indicates that digitalization is a priority issue. Previous studies have shown that one-fifth of the board of directors have some sort of digital background, but the 2016 Amrop study shows that except for tech companies, the figure is just 8 percent. We see a gap between Management ambitions and Board priorities —one that poses problems. According to Russell Reynolds, companies that have succeeded in closing the gap between Board and Management to share a common digital agenda and a unified technology approach, show 9 percent higher growth, 27 percent better profitability and 12 percent greater market value.

Corporate digital transformation becomes a crucial decision for the board when existing revenue streams must be deprioritized to create space for tomorrow’s business deals. Take Microsoft, which now focuses on the cloud computing business to the benefit of its traditional software. Similarly, boards must give priority to growth investments as new sustainable digital revenues appear on the horizon, such as when Netflix abandoned its in-store DVD distribution, going from bricks to clicks for a rapid global expansion of live streamed content.

When the world is digitalized, the board must follow. Most boards are used to discussing the fundamental changes in corporate organization and work approaches, but on the other hand we see little innovation in their own work. Today’s board agendas are surprisingly similar to those of a century ago. According to McKinsey, boards spend up to 70 percent of meeting time looking through the rearview mirror and dissecting compliance, quarterly, and audit reports. Digital transformation promises a higher tempo than infrequent board meetings. When the markets become more volatile and the executive team is struggling to resolve its immediate challenges, it’s all the more important for boards to keep looking out toward the horizon. Strategy meetings can’t take place annually — people need real-time information, ongoing strategy discussions and more frequent evaluations.

Solving these increasingly complex issues requires creative problem-solving and a more diversified set of approaches — even in the board room. As the number of technical issues grows, so does the need for continuous skill development for board directors. More experts instead of generalists will need to step up to the plate. External specialists are becoming increasingly important in preparing for tough decisions.

So, what tools do boards have at their disposal for managing digital transformation? More and more US companies are adding a digital transformation committee to prepare for decision-making, involving deep-dives of technological changes as well as analyses of policies and incentive schemes to make sure they are promoting digital development.On the market, digital platforms are also being launched to simplify an agile approach to board activities. The board of the future needs digital control systems, much like a cockpit with a complete overview of relevant real-time data.

As industry after industry faces the challenges of new market conditions, boards have got to future-proof their companies. Most businesses aren’t structured to deal with the unknown, and the pace of change accelerates, an increased intensity is needed also in the board work. Synergies between the outlook of the board and the capacity of the organization are needed, to empower companies to implement courageous and transformational changes of their business models.

Sara Öhrvall

Photo: Trey Ratcliff, Photo Walk on Antarctica

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All over the western world, the number of new driving licenses is decreasing. The decline is dramatic the US, the holy country of car driving, According to Federal Highway Administration, 83% of all Americans (between 16-24) had a driving license in 1983. Today it is less then 65%. The same development is true in Germany, Great Britain, Australia and Sweden.

The role of the car in youth culture is passé. It is more important what social media friends think about your lifestyle than what you neighbors say about your car. A number of studies prove that high usage of internet leads to lower usage of cars. Digital natives prefer access to products and services, rather than owning objects. They regard the car as an unnecessary problem, only bringing complexity to daily life.

In 2004, the total number of kilometers driven per person flattened out, to start a declining trend since 2007. The car as a mode of transportation is consequently questioned even before there is a full-blown effect of video conferencing, e-commerce, digitalized banking and hospital services, all replacing physical visits (where you may need your car). In the digital daily life, it seems like freedom will be to use google, facebook or instagram on your journey, not being locked behind a car wheel.

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What makes a nation innovative?

international innovation rankings, the Nordic countries generally score in a top position. Sweden, for example, ranks number one in the EU Innovation Scoreboard and number two in Global Innovation Index as well as the World Bank Innovation Rank.

But if you dig deeper, you will soon find that a lot of the top performing nations, including Sweden, is strong when it comes to input to innovation – but not innovation that is commercialized or launched in any market. If a country spends a lot on R&D and innovation infrastructure, the ranking position improves but the commercial output can still be pretty low. There is also a difference between countries focusing on imitation compared to cutting-edge innovations. Imitation has been the path for developing countries, but lately a feature of European countries as well.

Maybe it is time to focus a bit more on the input-output level, the number start-ups, jobs, new products and services in the market per invested R&D dollar. Top performing countries when measuring input-output levels are Israel, South Korea and the US. What’s common among them is an active national innovation agenda among politicians with strategic focus areas and prioritized market opportunities – and innovation is a defined area of responsibility included in politicians’ job descriptions. Another common denominator is universities with cutting-edge education and research, with distinct target areas and increased competitive strength as a result. Finally, they have built strong clusters around big corporations and the eco-system results in new start-ups building new commercial value. Strong clusters are of special interest as spin-offs from big corporations generally have a stronger growth than other start-ups.

A top position in an international innovation ranking may not be the answer. Innovation input without a market will not lead to international success. Innovation needs to be a top priority for national governments to build innovation and technology strategies, prioritize investments in strategic focus areas, research and clusters – and to make sure to support R&D investments that at the end of the day will be delivered to the market.

Sara Öhrvall

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7 Misconceptions about marketing

1. It’s all about money. A small local company can’t compete against large global brands with 3 times larger marketing budgets. The best 20 % of marketing is 5 times more effective than mediocre efforts. David can beat Goljat, but David needs to be braver.

2. If marketing is not working, it’s the marketing departments or the ad agency ́s fault. Yes, but: if the management team can’t decide what the company brand stands for, and if they aren’t able to follow through, the others are destined to fail, too.

3. It’s all about creating great marketing campaigns. A great campaign will grab attention, woo new customers and deepen the commitment of existing ones. Yes, but only for awhile.

4. The secret to being customer centric is to ask people what they want. And to believe the things they say in surveys and focus groups. Untrue. And why? Most good intentions rarely lead to action.

5. Marketing is about telling why the brand is great. The more convincing the arguments, the harder you sell, the more like they are to buy. This rarely, if ever, works. Life is, unfortunately, more complicated.

6. In the near future, all we need to do is to invest in marketing automation software. It will turn suspects into prospects and prospects into leads. Marketing automation is able to make the email campaigns less annoying, but it won’t help much, when we want to change people’s perceptions or behavior.

7. Content is king and content marketing is the solution. All we need to do is match great content to our brands and people will love us. Many brands look at Red Bull and thinkthey can do the same. They forget that they haven’t helped anybody to jump from space lately. And that the only story they have might be in fact – quite boring. It is not that easy.


What should you do instead?

1. Crystallize your brand into a promise in a way neither employees nor customers can misunderstand. Be exceptional in at least one thing: Über is the most conventient way to get a ride and pay for it.

2. Do tangible things that deliver the brand promise, not just a campaign. Nissan’s promise is ‘innovation that excites’. They developed a smart watch for their Nismo sports car range. The watch connects the telemetrics of the car to the driver’s pulse.

3. Treat people like wild animals. Respect them but observe what they are actually doing instead of asking what they intend to do. Focus on what pisses them off. Jet Blue observed thatpeople hated the fact that they didn’t have a fast enough internet connection during the flight – and developed their own superfast satellite link.

4. It is not about you. When you engage the audience, let it be more about actual development than just pr. Be like Starbucks, who tell the status and proceeding of customers ideas in their Starbucking by Starbuck initiative.

5. Innovative marketing is not necessarily an action hero making a split between two moving trucks – but merely a great service innovation that makes a difference in people ́s daily life.

6. Doing more is the new norm – and a great way to differentiate. Zappos is just another ecommerce venture with effective delivery, but the longest calls to their customer servicecan take up to 6 hours. In the automation era, the best marketeers are the ones with the best customer service .

7. Never underestimate the power of good deeds or values in action. Convergence is not opposite to good will. Brands that stand for something are more likely to stand the test of time.

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Press release

A new network of independent advisors to grasp digital transformation issues

The former research and development director of the Bonnier Group, Sara Öhrvall and the former CEO of Bonnier Publication Oy Marjaana Toiminen are launching an international network of independent digital advisors.

The MindMill Network is a group of senior executives from San Fransisco, New York and Singapore. Sue Gardner is a special advisor and former director of the Wikipedia Foundation. Guy Bar-Nahum is a former Apple and Samsung UX director, now leading a start up.  Sejal Patel works for an investment management fund and Ville Oehman is a consultant and an angel investor, formerly a start up entrepreneur. Megan Miller is also a start up entrepreneur and a former research and development director at Bonnier in San Francisco. Their expertise ranges from media, mobile development and digital investments to retail and societal development issues.

“At Mindmill Network we are interested in analyzing for example, how digitalization could change teaching, health care ,office work as well as consumption – and how companies and organizations should react and transform accordingly”, Toiminen says.

“We will be working on initiatives and prototypes, as well as insights and scenario-building.”

Öhrvall and Toiminen have already started with the first client projects. “We have been able to test our way of working during the fall with the property investment company Sponda, a global gaming company and the ad agency TBWA”, Toiminen says.

In Sweden, Öhrvall is preparing projects on future of education and media.

“I hope we are able to realize similar projects in Finland once we get started. Finland and Sweden should be more active in joining forces in trying to solve questions on the future of the welfare state”, Öhrvall says.

“I have worked digital transformation and trend analysis projects for years, but I have never had the opportunity to work with a network that has such a huge capacity on various fields. I also believe in our project based working model. We can gather the best available talents for ach project”, Öhrvall says

“The MindMill Network  has an immense spectra of knowledge and experience, as well as the ability to genuinely original thinking. This is why we want to keep the operating idea of the network quite open. We want to be able to grasp ideas and topics that interest us, while committing to our client cases”, Toiminen says.

Öhrvall has been an independent consultant since the beginning of the year. She is also a member of the board of Bonnier Books, Bonnier Publishing, Bisnode, Umeå University and the Nobel Museum. Toiminen´s work at Bonnier ended two months ago.

Further information:
Sara Öhrvall
+46 708 115 377

Marjaana Toiminen
+358 40 708 2648

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Kansainvälinen asiantuntijaverkosto MindMill Network yhdistää digiekspertit kolmella mantereella

Sara Öhrvall ja Marjaana Toiminen perustavat kansainvälisen asiantuntijaverkoston. Öhrvall on Bonnier-konsernin entinen tutkimus- ja kehitysjohtaja, Toiminen sen Suomen lehtiyksikön entinen toimitusjohtaja.

The MindMill Network -verkostoon kuuluu perustajien lisäksi viisi digitaalisten alojen asiantuntijaa San Fransiscosta, New Yorkista ja Singaporesta. Kaikki ovat työskennelleet ylimmän johdon tehtävissä.

Sue Gardner on Wikimedia Foundationin entinen johtaja, nykyisin sen erikoisneuvonantaja.
Guy Bar-Nahum on työskennellyt Samsung Mobile Labin varatoimitusjohtajana, ja aiemmin mm. Applella ohjelmistojohtajana yksikössä, joka suunnitteli iPodin. Nyt hän
vetää uutta pilvipalveluyritystä.
Ville Öhman on perustanut terveydenhuollon palvelu- ja teknologiayrityksiä. Hän toimii aasialaisiin start upeihin erikoistuneena enkelisijoittajana ja Tekesin sosiaalipalvelujen innovaatiot -johtoryhmän jäsenenä.
Sejal Patel on enkelisijoittaja ja työskentelee pääomarahastojen hallinnointiyrityksessä.
Megan Miller on Bonnierin Yhdysvaltain yksikön entinen kehitysjohtaja ja nykyisin start up -yrittäjä.

“Autamme asiakkaita kysymään oikeita kysymyksiä ja näkemään mahdollisuuksia digitaalisessa murroksessa. Verkoston jäsenillä on kyky tuottaa laadukasta ajattelua siitä, miltä tuleva näyttää esimerkiksi toimistotyössä tai kivijalkakaupassa”, Toiminen sanoo.

Verkoston perustajat ovat jo aloittaneet työn ensimmäisten asiakkaiden kanssa. ”Olemme saaneet testata työtapaamme parin kuukauden ajan. Suomessa meillä on työ käynnissä kiinteistösijoitusyhtiö Spondan, TBWA-mainostoimiston sekä pelialan yrityksen kanssa”, Toiminen sanoo.

Ruotsissa Öhrvallilla on vireillä kaksi eri tahojen kanssa toteutettavaa hanketta. Toinen käsittelee median tulevaisuuden rahoitusmalleja ja toinen digitaalisen murroksen vaikutusta koulutukseen.

“Toivon, että saamme perustettua näille hankkeille rinnakkaisprojektit Suomessa. Suomen ja Ruotsin pitäisi tehdä enemmän kehityshankkeita yhdessä. Siitä hyötyisivät molemmat maat ja ehkä myös skandinaavinen hyvinvointivaltio”, Öhrvall sanoo.

“Verkostolla on laaja-alaista kokemusta ja kykyä ajatella toisin. Haluamme pitää toimintaidean väljänä ja toteutamme myös oma-aloitteisia hankkeita asiakkaiden
toimeksiantojen rinnalla”, Toiminen sanoo.

Öhrvall ja Toiminen tuntevat toisensa aiemman työnsä kautta.

“Bonnierilla arvostin kovasti Saran trendianalyysejä ja hyödynsin niitä työssäni. Olin imarreltu, kun hän pyysi mukaan. Melkein parinkymmenen vuoden esimiestyörupeaman jälkeen halusin oppia uutta ja tehdä asioita, jotka ovat merkityksellisiä juuri nyt”, Marjaana Toiminen sanoo. Toimisen työ Bonnier Publicationsin toimitusjohtajana päättyi elokuun lopussa.

Öhrvall on työskennellyt itsenäisenä johdon konsulttina vuoden alusta. Hän vaikuttaa myös mm. Nobel-museon, Bisnoden ja Bonnier Booksin hallituksissa.

“Olen tehnyt vastaavaa digitaalista konsultointia jo vuosia, mutta koskaan en ole saanut tehdä sitä verkoston kanssa, jolla on näin valtava kapasiteetti. Uskon tällaiseen työn tekemisen tapaan. Yhdistämme parhaat voimat kuhunkin hankkeeseen. Olemme innoissamme, mahdollisuuksia riittää”, Öhrvall sanoo.

Sara Öhrvall
+46 708 115 377

Marjaana Toiminen
+358 40 708 2648

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