Risto Siilasmaa, the paranoid optimist

My guest today is Risto Siilasmaa. Risto is first and foremost an entrepreneur and a paranoid optimist. He’s the founder and former CEO of cybersecurity company F-Secure. His current role in the company is Chairman of the Board.

Risto is also Chairman of the Board at Nokia. He took on the role in 2012 when Nokia was in a very difficult situation and actually one topics we discuss is how he came to accept the offer.

We start off with Risto’s programming background, then move on to the early days of F-Secure and explore how the company was founded and how it grew. Regarding Nokia, we talk about the people side of the transformation Risto has led, the disadvantages of being a public company and whether structures drive behavior or the other way around.

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James Hewitt on well-being and knowledge work

Start of the new, fourth season!

My first guest for this season is James Hewitt. James is the Head of Science and Innovation at Hintsa Performance. He’s a sports scientist and performance coach searching for fresh perspectives and new approaches to enhance the performance of people, products and projects.

We talk about the Circle of Better Life, which is a model that covers all the important aspects of well-being. We talk about the science behind the methods they use and new and interesting research in measuring cognitive load in knowledge work. Towards the end you’ll hear some pretty simple tips for improving your brain’s performance.

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General Stan McChrystal and a Team of Teams

As is suitable for the season finale, I have a very special guest. I’m interviewing retired four-star general Stan McChrystal. Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates described McChrystal as “perhaps the finest warrior and leader of men in combat”.

McChrystal took command of an elite military organization, Joint Special Operations Task Force, and transformed it from a rigid hierarchy to a network of autonomous teams.

The teams were encouraged to act autonomously as long as their actions served the purpose and were not immoral or illegal. For such a high level of autonomy to function the organization had to start sharing data extensively in order to create a shared concisousness.

The story of the transformation is laid out in the book Team of Teams. What I especially love about the story is that it basically takes away all the excuses. If a military bureauacracy can transform itself to an agile network of teams, so can any business organization, no matter how large or traditional.

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Sari Baldauf and decades of lessons on leadership

My guest is Sari Baldauf. Sari was selected as the most influential female executive in the year 1998 by Fortune magazine. In 2002 the Wall Street Journal named Baldauf as Europe’s most successful female executive.

Sari joined Nokia in 1983 and held several executive positions there. From 1998 to 2005 she was the General Manager of Nokia’s Networks business. She sat on the Executive Board of Nokia from 1994 until January 2005. In the end of 2004 she resigned from Nokia for personal reasons. Since then she’s moved on to become a respected board professional, working as the chairwoman of the board at Fortum, the Finnish energy giant, and as a member of the board at Daimler, among other roles.

We talk about her defining moments, her happiest and saddest times during her career and her lessons learned on strategy and leadership.

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Joshua Spodek and seven years of burpees

In this episode I’m interviewing Joshua Spodek. He teaches leadership at New York University, has a PhD in astrophysics and does burpees everyday. I think that’s a pretty amazing one line description for anyone. His book Leadership Step by Step will be released in a couple of weeks.

We talk about his principles for getting things done, his routines, his views on leadership, and we do a five minute walk-through of his book. We end the interview with some empathy and book recommendations.

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Akiko Naka and finding a job you love

My guest is Akiko Naka. She is the CEO of Wantedly, a Japanese social recruiting platform with 1,2 million monthly active users and a 100 employees. She’s passionate about helping people find work they love doing. We discuss her bold career moves, Wantedly’s business, decision making in organizations and strategies for finding a job you love.

Sami and AkikoSami and Akiko

Recording at SlushRecording at Slush 2016

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Aral Balkan and ethical design

If I’m concerned about privacy, my guest today is probably ten times more so. Aral is an activist, a designer and a software developer. He’s one of the founders of Indie, a tiny social enterprise working for social justice in the digital age. He’s also the man behind the Ethical Design Manifesto.

We talk about Aral’s view on the evolution of computing, current business models of cloud services and venture capital. We cover the Ethical Design Manifesto and its implications on the software we build.

To listen to the full interview, use the audio player at the top of this post or your favorite podcast app.

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Jim Benson on Personal Kanban, Lean Coffee and collaboration

An interview with Jim Benson, the creator of Personal Kanban and Lean Coffee. We delve into Personal Kanban, which is an approach to dealing with the overload of stuff you need to deal with. We dig into into its two simple rules, visualizing work and limiting work in progress. We then walk through Lean Coffee, which is a simple and effective way to run your meetings. In the end we discuss Jim’s lessons on collaboration from his years in working to improve it in organizations.

To listen to the full interview, use the audio player at the top of this post or your favorite podcast app.

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Simon Wardley and his strategy maps

On this episode I’m interviewing Simon Wardley and we’re talking about Wardley maps, which are Simon’s method for co-creating strategy with visual and context-specific maps.

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Will Evans and the propensity towards dispositionality

My guest for this episode is Will Evans. He’s the Chief Design Officer at PraxisFlow. We talk about New York, entrepreneurship, company culture and major transformation programs.

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