How A Crisis Can Help Us Grow

In This Podcast
Show Notes
Ma Steinsvik
E 102

In This Podcast

  • We are hardwired to want to give 
  • The changing basis for innovation
  • The power of the internet
  • Why a crisis shows gaps in our knowledge
  • Why imbalance leads to creativity
  • How to find wisdom
  • Digital transformation
  • The formula for business – value driven, data driven and customer centric

Ma Steinsvik is a European business leader, futurist and investor, and the CEO of Bulls Holding, an international agency for film, literary and art-based brands, influencers and editorial content. She is an acknowledged international keynote speaker on technical leaps and their impact around the world.

Show Notes

Using A Crisis To Grow with Ma Steinsvik

Business as we understand it today arose when human civilisations came to fruition, says Ma Steinsvik, entrepreneur, futurist, investor and speaker. And since that time, it has been steadily refined, so that business is now a force for good, when used the right way. 

“If you think about it, why did people invent business a long, long time ago? It was really to be able to collectively fulfill their dreams. I mean they, as entrepreneurs in the historic times, they really felt that they have the possibility to contribute to the world with something specific.”

And the same holds true for entrepreneurs today. Once you’ve found a way to make a living, you realise there is more to business than simply making money. It’s about being a part of something bigger, and once you’re secure, you want to find a way to give back. To society, or simply to just the people around you – your family, the people who have supported you. 

Ma calls this ‘the giving economy’. It’s a combination of leaders being thankful for what they’ve received and, in turn, wanting to give back. 

“When I invest in companies I’m often so struck by the generosity I receive back in the form of knowledge and network and tips and so on, because people, entrepreneurs and leaders, people of all kinds really want to give back. And if you look at it from a psychological point of view, that’s when we’re really happy.”

Using a crisis to grow

And even now, while the whole world goes through one of the toughest times in living memory, we still see people who, once they have their own lives secured, do what they can to contribute and give back to society. 

“Even in AI systems, it is the reward function that makes the AI grow and makes the artificial intelligence smart. And that’s copied from us. That’s copied from our neural systems and how we work. We’re sort of hardwired to want to give. And we’re also hardwired to learn new things.” 

Once we are secure in ourselves, and we’ve invested in our business’ survival, Ma says it’s important to zoom out and use the crisis to highlight the gaps in our knowledge. 

“I think if you look at the crisis from that perspective, you realise that, okay, I’m at this position now, but I have to really quickly move my organisation in this direction and to this specific position. Then you also understand what kind of knowledge do I have to act on and what action do I need to take?”

Emerging trends

The crisis has expedited emerging trends; technological innovation has spurred a lot of change and change in behaviour, says Ma, turning the whole business model from supply and demand driven, to being customer driven with customer based systems. 

People are using this time to take stock of what is important to them, they’re discovering a more natural, simple way of living, which not only has triggered a change in their behaviour – we are becoming less consumerist, and instead want to be entertained, to learn new things, to buy items with value in them that will last a long time. 

Companies need to take note of these changes in behaviour in the coming years and adapt their approach and their business model accordingly. 

“Companies that will be able to combine curated content with curated products to their fans and friends, and then have a super nice, community sort of shop in the city centres, they will have a blossoming future.”

Become a better you

“In these times, I think it’s incredibly important for all of us to also decide, who am I becoming during this time? Or who do I want to become?”

And while it’s easy to say that, how can we actually do it? How can we bring about change? 

“I think as leaders, it’s our responsibility, first and foremost to make sure that we develop as a person. So personal development, there is really no way around that. And if you do it by yoga or by being out in nature or listening to music, that’s not really important. But whatever gives you a sense of who you are at your core, and forces you to really contemplate ‘what are my values?’ and ‘what is my gift to the world?’ and to everyday reflect on, ‘how did I do?’”

For Ma, her passion for wisdom has always guided her. She believes knowledge can be found anywhere and everywhere. 

“Wisdom can be found everywhere and it always hides itself, you know, within a piece of music or in the way that birds fly in the sky, or in a Nobel Prize winner’s talk or in a conversation between friends.”

And to find wisdom on a personal level, Ma says you have to be open and focussed. You have to have a broad network of friends who all think differently to you and to the others in your network. And then you have to move into as many fields of knowledge and areas of development as possible. And be open to and understanding of digital transformation, in order to guide developers to create a future we’d like to see.

Because no one knows what the future looks like. 

“I think that if we use technology wisely and responsibly, then it will release the great potential that people have within them. I think that we should not underestimate the human capability of innovation and creativity. I think most of us long and yearn for more time to pursue the purpose of life and to support others in doing the same.”

What the world needs most

So what does Ma think the world needs most right now? 

“What the world needs most at this time is action. I think we’re done talking now. I think all of us know exactly what to do and why we need to do it and even how to do it. So just let’s act and act from a place of good faith of thankfulness and of wisdom, and just get it done. Solve the problems and do it together.

If the talk resonates with you, we’d recommend you listen to this episode too: Roberto Verganti