Næringslivsdagene becomes Inspire

14 March 2017

The event previously known as Næringslivsdagene has been rebranded as Inspire. On this year’s list of guest speakers were Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke, rock legend Bruce Dickinson and many others.

Inspire, which was until this year known as Næringslivsdagene, is an event by BI students - for BI students, and is held in March every year. This year's event was held at BI – campus oslo from March 7 to March 9, and as usual top business leaders paid a visit to talk about their experiences and current events.

Name change

Daniel Faldmo is President of Inspire and had the pleasure of welcoming students and all of the others who had showed up in Finn Øien on Tuesday morning to attend the first presentations of Inspire 2017. He used the opportunity to tell the story behind the name change.

- Almost a year ago we were elected to host a project named Næringslivsdagene, one of the most renowned and recognizable brands within the student body in Norway – and maybe the Nordic countries, and our first task was to rebrand it and go international.

But why Inspire? Faldmo explained the rationale behind the name change.

- Now we came up with some pretty good names, and some awful ones. But we decided early on that we were going to do our best to find a name that encapsulated what this project was all about – motivation, engagement and inspiration. When we came up with Inspire we felt that we managed to do just that.

Inspiration from Sigve Brekke

- What is the meaning of Business?

This is how Sigve Brekke started his talk which was also the first talk of Inspire 2017. In Brekke's point of view it is about more than just creating value for shareholders. It is about having a higher purpose, he explained.

- Those are big words. Let me break it down to a more tangible level, Brekke continued.

Then he went on to tell a story about a girl he once met in Myanmar, and the inspiring experience of witnessing her seeing and interacting through a phone for the first time. This was just after Telenor had launched their services in the country. In a few years the mobile usage in the country went from six to sixty per cent.

From telecom operator to digital company

- There is no five year plan in Telenor anymore, said Brekke when talking about the disruptive changes happening in today's business landscape.

Telenor has gone from being a telecom operator to being a digital company that offer a wide range of services like banking - savings, transactions and loans, health services, insurance, and online classifieds together with Schibsted.

The services Telenor is providing has gone from local to global and the same thing goes for their customers. As far as the reasons for this, Brekke points to that the mobile usage is increasing and the type of use has changed. They have now embarked on a digital journey where the digitalization of their core business is critical.

- The simcard will be gone in a year or two, everything will be digital. But we still want to keep our customers, Brekke said.

Disrupt or be disrupted

There have always been technological changes in Telenor's 160 years of history. But the changes they are facing now are happening faster than ever.

- We are being attacked by disruptive players. We have to change much quicker, continued Brekke.

In addition to a plan to digitalize their core business - going from IT to software to cloud services – Telenor wants to change the way they talk to our customers and develop global platforms. According to Brekke, their biggest challenges are to change the culture, the way they work and to change the competencies within the company.

- My advice to you is to look into these competencies. Its good to be siviløkonom [...] but its not enough. You have to develop some skills also that enables you to work in digital companies, was one of Brekke's final pieces of advice for the students.

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