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Observations
Why we’re doing the Transformation Conference
The case for connecting people across industries. Plus: we are turning 3!
KONRAD OLSSON
22 Aug 2023

This month marks the third anniversary for Scandinavian MIND, our little mediaverse that was launched at the end of summer 2020.

It’s hard to realise it’s been three years already, and a total of six years as a full-time entrepreneur, counting the three that I spend running the now-discontinued magazine and e-commerce Scandinavian MAN.

It seems only a few months ago that me and my team – creative director Erik Olofsson, editors Johan Magnusson and Erik Sedin — turned on the lights to scandinavianmind.com and its adjacent social channels.

Back then there was more than one industry person that raised their eyebrows to the concept of combining lifestyle with technology as a foundation for an editorial platform.

What did I know about tech, really?

Well, it wasn’t so much about what I knew about tech, but what I saw was needed in the industries that I had covered as an editor throughout my entire career: fashion, design, beauty, and mobility.

Then needed to transform, specifically with regard to sustainability. And they needed to do it through new and innovative technologies.

This was most prevalent in the fashion industry. What I had learned during my years with Scandinavian MAN, when I got the chance to switch ”sides” from my previous role as an editor to working more on the inside of the industry, was that fashion was suffering from a complete lack of technological maturity.

I was shocked to learn how little people inside fashion brands understood about technology, and how little knowledge they actually had about sustainability, beyond organic cotton and recycled PET polyester.

For being an industry that is all about modernity, its machinery is shockingly conservative. This made sense when I learned that most people who work in fashion are people focused on sales and distribution, with only a thin layer of design on top of it. The biggest advancements in technology that had happened in the previous decade were around the implementation of e-commerce, which we now know only has worsened the industry’s environmental impact.

So we decided that Scandinavian MIND would only focus on stories that had a clear tech, innovation, or sustainability angle. And we decided to be deliberately cross-industry. We wanted the platform to be read as much by the tech sector as by the lifestyle community. And we started to craft out the platform, its website, its newsletter operation, the podcast, and the social feeds.

But we needed something else, something that could bring these conversations to life, that could actually bring people from industries together.

And that’s how Transformation Conference was born, albeit with a rocky start. The first edition took place in the fall of 2020, during the height of the pandemic. What was originally going to be a 50 people event – which was the cap of physical gatherings at the time of the planning – became essentially a live-streamed talk show from the beautiful Alma Theater in Stockholm. Produced in collaboration with the Nordic Council of Ministers, the event became a proof of concept for how to bring together fashion brands, beauty entrepreneurs, sustainability experts, tech people, and leading investors. Over 1 500 people watched the live feed and its replay on YouTube.

Next week we are hosting the fifth edition of Transformation Conference, the second year with our trusted partners Juni Communications, Business Finland, Helsinki Partners, and Stockholm Fashion District. In the lineup, there are both newcomers (Mauro Scalia of Euratex and Sandra Roos from Kapphal are among the highlights) as well as returning speakers from our very first edition (Jessica Cederberg Wodmar from GANT and Fredrik Timour of Fashion Innovation Center).

As I’m publishing this post, there are about a dozen tickets left for the conference, so if you want to grab any of them, sign up here.

Hope to see you next week!

NOTES

• I will be in Oslo on September 8 for Designers Saturday, moderating a talk for Minus Furniture. Let me know if you are in town, I would love to meet up!

• More on Oslo in our latest podcast episode, where Johan Magnusson makes the case for Norwegian creativity.

• Are you or anyone you know looking for a new branding and content agency for your business? We are taking on new clients this fall and have recently updated our Agency-website. Check it out here.

• We are working on a new podcast format, featuring long-form interviews with big thinkers and innovators. Who would you like me to interview? Email me at [email protected].

READING LIST

• Following up on last week’s column: My podcast-colleague Christian von Essen had a similar analysis of Max Tegmark and Marc Andreessen in his latest Substack post. Read here (in Swedish).

Olli Kähkönen from Nordic Bio Products Group is working on an innovation that might solve the hard task of recycling polycotton (polyester and cotton fabrics). From Issue 4.

• Our Virtual Creatives list is now published in full online. Shout out to Erik Sedin for this one.