Frode Eilertsen is joining NFI

Frode Eilertsen has spent over a decade in the technology sector, focusing on building and leading businesses faced with innovation, disruption and growth. During his time in Schibsted, Frode Eilertsen has helped lay the foundation for a new strategy and digital future with strong focus on Product and Technology. He also led a New Growth project for Schibsted developed as part of a new global strategy for Schibsted Growth, a division that invests and develops great digital entrepreneurial companies.


1: Tell us about your future "burning plattform" and the manifesto that you have signed?

Massive and rapid technology shift based on data and AI, global in nature, driven by platform players with increasingly concentrated power.

Massive, disruptive technology change taking place at breakneck ("exponential") speed, centered around data and artificial intelligence:  The 4th industrial revolution is completely unlike any prior technology shift.  Whereas the 1st (steam engine and railroads), 2nd (steel and mass production), and 3rd (IT) was all about overcoming our physical limitations as human beings (and thus the focus on production, process, transportation), the 4th is all about overcoming our cognitive limitations as thinking human beings. The sum of massive amounts of data (thanks to sensors about people and things), processor power to real-time convert data into insights, decisions and automated actions, and the network ("cloud") making all this insight and data available anywhere anytime, has finally made the era of AI arrive.  The pace of change and progress is taking place at an exponential pace, far faster than established business and governments are able to keep up with.

This technology shift - and the importance of data as the "new oil" - is global in nature, and neither geography, language, nor local regulation can stop it. As a result, previously "sheltered" industries, value chains, cornerstone companies and other sectors of society - media, energy, bank, insurance, transportation, healthcare, and even education - are now subject to rapid, forceful, technology- and innovation-driven disruption, driven by large global platform players and venture capital backed startup companies. 

This technology shift is threatening to move political and financial power from nation-states and concentrating it into a small number of global platform players - Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Tencent and Ali Baba.  And these players are now threatening to use their core strengths and advantages to re-invent and reshape alle these industries...and in the process, threatening the current leaders in all other industries.

So radical change is coming. Fast.

Source of future growth and jobs is thus disruptive tech innovation, which established organizations are bad at and conversely, startups are very good at.


Future growth is entirely through disruptive innovation:  A comprehensive Mckinsey study projects the world economy to be growing by 30,000 billion US dollars from 2015 to 2025. 99% of this growth will be driven by disruptive technology-driven innovation. Exciting times ahead!


The problem for Europe, where the industry structures and established market leaders are far older than in the US, is that very few established companies are good at this; on the contrary, historical data categorically shows that this is what startups are good at.  A good illustration of this is the S&P500 index, where the average lifespan - a proxy for how long on average a company is successful and enjoys large market shares and healthy profit margins - is now down to 15 years, down from 25 years in 2000, and 35 years in 1980.  When, for example in Norway, the youngest company of the top 20 listed companies is 25 years old (Marine Harvest, via its origin in Pan Fish), then not only established companies but the entire business sector of Norway has a problem: We have strategically failed in developing technology startups into new cornerstone companies securing continued growth, jobs and prosperity for the future.


The companies on the Oslo Stock Exchange represent a large number of jobs and value creation to date; however, they are not the engines of growth or jobs going forward:  Since 2000, the same group of top 20 listed companies have had net loss in number of employees in Norway.


In sum this is a burning platform.


The solution is an order-of-magnitude political and industrial step-up in support of startups and disruptive innovation

This includes policy changes (options, tax incentives, etc.), available venture capital (10x increase), re-allocation of state ownership abroad and domestically from listed companies to younger privately held growth companies, government procurement supporting innovation and startups, and a dramatic tempo-shift in the government's own digital transformation.


2: Many industries face major challenges regarding disruption. You have been EVP in maybe the most disruptive company in the Nordic, Schibsted. What is the recipe?


The recipe is quite simple, actually: to be intellectually honest, learn from history and embrace disruptive innovation. If you don't cannibalize your core business, someone else will. And history shows - as it has done for Schibsted - that embracing disruption and self-cannibalization will grow your business and bring your company even greater success going forward.


3: In your opinion - how do we build a strong Nordic cooperation within Banking and Financial Services ?


By doing more of what e.g. NFI is enabling, the meeting of the best and brightest minds across the leading companies in Banking and Financial Services, by openly exchanging insights and experiences, and by promoting a vibrant innovation culture where both intrapreneurship and outside entrepreneurs is encouraged and rewarded (financially and career promotion wise), shielded from the legacy business organization, given the necessary resources and time to succeed.


4: NFI want to show that through a customer centric focus young talents from 10 large companies in the Nordic can establish a start-up that can be launched globally. That must be both pioneering and sensational if they succeed?


- They are ambitious, knowledgable, engaged, impatient and young talents that will solve inefficiencies they find in today's society together focusing on the customer.

5: What is the criteria for them to succeed?

Ambition - daring to think big enough in terms of solution and geography.

Confidence - to trust your own analysis and insights, to dare to lead and truly invent in an industry, rather than playing the "me-too" game with regards to chosen solution and business model.


Passion - to be truly great you have to have passion for what you are doing.  Of the many successful entrepreneurs I have had the privilege of working with, and who have become very rich, they all have been passionate about solving the problem their company was focused on.  Without passion, no greatness.

Drive and perseverance - to succeed as an entrepreneur is not a 9-to-5 job. It is blood, sweat and tears, it is very hard work and long hours of many years, and it is made up of many, many ups and downs. 


NFI ambition - Inspire change through «Thought leadership and Inspiration» during our meetings and tours, discussing global topics and rise above being competitors and together think how we can identified and address specific challenges that NFI will contribute to solving through building a strong Nordic cooperation.

A common activity in 2017 is to focus on skilled talents within NFI Nordic members and the establishment of a Intraprenurship program consisting of 10 large companies in the Nordic to promote collaboration within the industry, across industries and borders to develop ideas for a Nordic concept that can be launched globally 


Read more about The Manifesto:

Picture: Aftenposten and