Exploring Nordic common sense & trends in this complex world

Nordic Insights podcast introduces high-achieving Nordics (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and  Sweden) and Nordic-inspired people with niche expertise in business, lifestyle, travel, education, innovation, and more.

Listen in for some tips on Nordic approaches to a happier and more holistic way of business and personal life.

  • Episode 25

    Building bridges between Nordic start-ups and South-East Asia | Sami Jääskeläinen, Community Director, Nordic Innovation House, Singapore

    Sami Jääskeläinen, Nordic Innovations House, Singapore

    Singapore based Finn Sami Jääskeläinen runs Nordic Innovation House, a community platform for accelerating Nordic start-ups in the Singapore and South-East Asia region. 

    Sami’s colourful career included being a professional chef in Helsinki and later moving into advertising as a team lead for iconic global brands such as Nokia and Finlandia Vodka. Sami now has a successful career as a Nordic start-up Community Director in Singapore. This has included running  partnerships for Slush, the super successful start-up event based in Finland.

    We discuss Sami’s experience of cultural differences working as a Nordic in Singapore and in his collaborations with other Nordic colleagues. Nordic Innovation House is a unique collaboration platform between five Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Their aim is to connect Nordic start-ups with major innovation hubs globally including Singapore, Silicon Valley, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong. 

    You will learn from Sami about

    • how he has built his career from a chef to a global start-up advisor
    • Managing cultural differences, challenges and benefits living as a Nordic in South East Asia 
    • his resilience and curiosity in conquering new areas to progress in his professional life 

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    Sami Jaaskelainen in LinkedIn

    Nordic Innovation House 


    Sami Jaaskelainen, Nordic Innovation House

  • Episode 24


    Michael T Hansen, MD
    Nilfisk Pacific

    It is surprising to hear that there are over 600 Danish brands in Australia. How has little Denmark, with 5.5 M people, achieved this success? There is a very special relationship between these two countries, thanks to Jorn Utzon’s design of the Sydney Opera House and Tasmanian born HRH Crown Princess Mary. However, it doesn’t explain why Australians have embraced Danish products so wholeheartedly.

    My guest, Michael T Hansen, the former Trade Commissioner of Denmark, talks about how the 2008/9 global financial crisis offered an opportunity for Danish companies in Australia when the rest of the world was in recession. During his eight years in the job he assisted over 200 Danish companies to enter the Australian market. Michael talks about why he thinks Danish design, cuisine, food products and livability concepts are now well known and desired in Australia. 

    We discuss features of Danish and Nordic corporate culture which Michael has very successfully introduced to his staff as MD of iconic Danish company Nilfisk. 

    Michael also introduces how, against all odds, hel and his wife Parret have built a stunning, 100% off-the-grid Danish designed holiday house in Australia.

    You will learn from Michael about

    • How he has succeeded in making hundreds of Danish companies into household names in Australia 
    • The challenges and wins in promoting a country in the other side of the world
    •  Nordic tips for a successful career 

    Follow Michael 

    Michael T Hansen in LinkedIn

    Nilfisk Pacific

    Michael and Parret’s holiday home (in Danish)


  • Episode 23

    Solving problems that help people live better lives | Ari Tulla, Serial Entrepreneur, CEO, Board Member, Dad

    Ari Tulla

    Silicon Valley based entrepreneur Ari Tulla made a big jump from Finnish Nokia and the gaming industry to the healthcare industry in the USA. In 2011 he co-founded BetterDoctor, a comprehensive doctor data engine that powers the healthcare market to help people to navigate the complicated US healthcare system. He also had personal reasons as he wanted to find better healthcare for his own family.

    Ari ran BetterDoctor for over 10 years, after which time it was very successfully acquired by Quest Analytics and Ari became CEO in 2018. We discuss Ari’s journey from a teen tech gig in Northern Finland to becoming a serious entrepreneur in San Francisco. Ari talks about his strong drive ”Finnish Sisu “ to help people live better lives and his connection to his Finnish roots. We also discuss the reasons for the success of the Finnish start – up world. Ari talks about his recently founded stealth mode startup which is transforming food from the cause of disease to medicine.

    You will learn from Ari about

    • how he has succeeded as a start-up entrepreneur
    • challenges and benefits when entering a new industry as an outsider
    • positive outcomes of the Nokia collapse for Finnish start-up

    Follow Ari

    Ari Tulla in LinkedIn


    Aei Tulla

  • Episode 22

    Create your happiness in a Swedish way | Kajsa Humphreys, Health and Wellness Coach, The Swedish Solution

    Kajsa Humphreys

    Nordics are well known to be some of the happiest peoples in the world. What do they do to make themselves happy? Kajsa Humphreys is a Sydney based Swedish Health and Fitness coach and a mum of 2 children. Her business, The Swedish Solution, helps women implement simple step by step lifestyle changes to increase their feeling of health and well-being – and of course happiness. Her business was born after she was feeling unhealthy and unhappy about her own life. She made some dramatic changes and decided to quit her successful corporate job and leave her marriage – at the same time. Kajsa talks about her journey as a single mum to become a very successful and happy entrepreneur.  

    You will learn from Kajsa about

    • Her dramatic change from a successful corporate life to becoming a happy entrepreneur 
    • Why Swedish people are some of the happiest in the world
    • Three simple steps to increase your well-being and create a happier lifestyle 


    The Swedish Solution in Instagram

    The Swedish Solution in Facebook

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    Kajsa Humphreys

  • Episode 21

    Good food, health and sustainability with a Danish touch for Noosa Cafes  | Nilla Tomkins, Executive Chef & Founder Vanillafoods

    Nilla Tomkins

    Today we talk about delicious and healthy food with a slight Nordic flavour in its philosophy. Danish chef Nilla Tomkins,  the founder of Vanillafood, runs two cafes in Noosa, on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. Nilla’s philosophy is all about good food, health and the environment. She says VanillaFood’s style is flavour first but always with health in mind. 

    Nilla talks about how her interest in food started on the family farm in the medieval town of Ribe in Denmark. Her successful journey as an entrepreneur is focused on creating a sustainable way of life for her and her team of 20 staff,  who she calls her family. She uses fresh produce that is organically grown and local when possible. Nilla’s beautiful ‘’Vanillafood the Cookbook” ,  has been 10 years in the making and is coming out in December.

    You will learn from Nilla about

    • Her journey from a Danish farm  to becoming a successful entrepreneur in Australia 
    • How to create a healthy and sustainable way of life and business as an entrepreneur  
    • Her secrets of success in a very competitive business environment


    Vanillafood in Instagram

    Vanillafood in Facebook

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    Nilla Tomkins

  • Episode 20


    Finnish Easter Witches

    In Finland and Sweden, people not only celebrate their birthdays each year, but their name days as well. The tradition of assigning names to specific dates stretches back to medieval times. 

    As the importance of name days changed over the centuries, so did the various traditions associated with it. Nowadays, it’s mainly coffee-and-cake celebrations in workplaces, day care and schools.

    Finland’s indigenous Sámi people also have their own name day calendar. There is also an Orthodox name day calendar that recognises the days of saints that are observed by the small population of Finnish Orthodox.

    Most Nordic’s have adopted the commercial Halloween tradition of American-style pumpkin decorations and trick or treat customs. Iceland‘s answer to Halloween is Öskudagur in February, where kids dress up in costumes and go from door to door to sing for candy. In Finland during Easter Saturday,  children dress up as little witches. The tradition derives from ancient times, when evil spirits and witches were thought to wander around, doing mischief before Easter.

    You will learn

    • How Nordics have celebrated Name Of the Day since Medieval times 
    • Some Nordic answers to Halloween


  • Episode 19

    From South Africa to Finland |Megs Järvinen, Strategic Brand Builder

    Megs Jarvinen, Strategic Brand Builder

    South African born former Sydneysider Megs Järvinen fell in love with Finland and decided to move there with her Finnish husband and their little son. They now live in Kuopio, a small town with 120K inhabitants. It is located in the lake region in the eastern part of Finland, around 400km from Helsinki. 

    Twelve months on, what has her experience been like when it comes to everyday life, adjusting to dramatic four seasons and the Finnish way of life?  Megs talks about her new work life culture as a brand strategist in a local creative agency. She also talks about the highs and lows of living in a Finnish society, not knowing the language and discovering quirky sides of the Finnish character. 

    You will learn from Megs

    • How she has made living in Kuopio work for her both personally and professionally 
    • How she has adjusted to dramatic four seasons and a very different Finnish culture 
    • The three most important things if you are thinking of moving to Finland

    Megan Järvinen in LinkedIn


  • Episode 18

    Building an award winning niche market destination | Christina Guggenberger, Co-Founder at StockholmLGBT

    Christina Guggenberger, Co-Founder StockholmLGBT

    How do you build an award winning  travel destination for a niche segment? My guest Christina Guggenberger, the Co-Founder of StockholmLGBT, has 25+ years experience in creating successful award winning marketing campaigns for Stockholm.  Stockholm today is a very successful all year around destination. Her recent project Stockholm LGBT is based on a network of the city’s rainbow family of LGBT friendly travel businesses.

    Christina talks about how they first developed Stockholm into a gay friendly destination and then into a LGBT friendly destination. This was done by  investigating and keeping up with the latest niche, travel and tourism trends. She talks about how they have required new understanding, strong partnerships, learned how to pivot quickly for optimal results, particularly during COVID.

    You will learn from Christina

    • How to build an award winning niche destination marketing campaign 
    • How to build strong partnerships in destination marketing 
    • What have been the winning strategies for Stockholm to make it one of the most diverse and inclusive destinations in the world for the LGBT community

    Follow Stockholm LGBT

    Stockholm LGBT in Instagram

    Stockholm LGBT in Facebook


  • Episode 17 PART 1 & 2

    How to become a futurist?| A Global travel technology evangelist and futurist Johnny Thorsen| PART 1 & 2

    Johnny Thorsen, Global Travel Evangelist & Futurist

    It would be fabulous if you could predict the future, don’t you agree?

    My guest Johnny Thorsen is a Global travel technology evangelist and futurist in the corporate travel and mobile world. He is a Dane and fellow Nordic based in California. Johnny has had an extremely impressive career within the travel, procurement and mobile world after living and working in 5 different countries in EMEA, APAC and now USA. He has been named twice as one of the 25 most influential people in the travel industry  by Business Travel News (BTN). Firstly  in 2010 as CEO and co-founder of conTgo, a UK-based startup acquired by Concur technologies and again in 2018 as VP of Strategy and Partnerships for his Mezi start-up. Johnny is also a strategic advisor for multiple other startups. 

    We talk about his successful journey to becoming a startup entrepreneur and industry leader. Johnny also talks about the process he uses to construct his predictions for the future of travel.  

    You will learn from Johnny how he

    • created his start-up expertise 
    • built conTgo from a two man start-up to a global success
    • has used Nordic characteristics to help him to be successful
    • has built his know-how and experience to become a sought after futurist for the travel industry

    in PART 2 you will learn

    • How travel will bring value in the future 
    • How travel industry sectors including travel agents, meetings & events, hotels, rail, car rental,aviation and corporate travel will survive COVID-19
    • Who are the new start-up disruptors in travel
    • What is the role of Nordic countries when it comes to the future of t

    Johnny Thorsen in Linkedin


  • Episode 16

    Innovative collaboration – Tassie winery with Iconic Nordic brand redefines luxury  |Rowena Curlewis, CEO, Denomination

    Margaret Nolan Creative Director & Rowena Curlewis, CEO of Denomination

    It’s not often that you discover a product that totally delights and in fact over-delivers. I recently found an Australian made super premium sparkling wine by Heemskerk winery in Tasmania that has the most elegant Georg Jensen bottle and stopper. After doing my research, I discovered the team behind it.  My guest today is Rowena Curlewis, Co-Founder of Denomination, a Sydney based multi-award winning design agency.  Rowena and Margaret Nolan, Creative Director,  came up with the idea to collaborate with the Danish iconic brand Georg Jensen. Their challenge was how to make Heemskerk super premium sparkling wine more desirable than French champagne for a gift or special occasion. The combination of ultra premium design-led packaging and Heemskerk premium sparkling has created an amazing new category of luxury wine. Rowena talks about this exciting project and collaboration with the Georg Jensen team. She also discusses how the project ticked all the boxes for their client brief.  Georg Jensen sparkling  truly over-delivers to its target group, with each batch being quickly sold out.

    You will learn from Rowena how 

    • their innovative design taps into consumer need very successfully
    • their collaborated with Iconic Nordic brand teams
    • they discovered the key principle of Nordic design
    • how they were able to deliver the project on very demanding timeline  
    • the combination of their design with sparkling created a new category of luxury wine

    Follow Denomination

    Denomination in Instagram


  • Episode 15

    Against all odds – Two Brits unite travel industry voices for Nordic tourism|Paul Wagner & Andy Fairburn, Founders – Nordic Tourism Collective

    Andy Fairburn & Paul Wagner

    Two charming London based Brits, Paul Wagner and Andy Fairburn, have a long track record in working with Nordic travel and tourism. Their interest and passion for the Nordic Region inspired them, in early 2019, to establish the Nordic Tourism Collective (NTC). It is a collaborative tourism membership network connecting Nordic travel and tourism suppliers with international buyers worldwide. The aim of the NTC  is to have a united voice in the region on key tourism issues such as sustainability and over-tourism. 

    How have they managed to get the Nordic travel industry in all 5 Nordic countries on board and to invest in their venture? We discuss their experiences in doing business with Nordics and the similarities and differences between all 5 Nordic cultures. Paul and Andy also discuss opportunities the Nordic region offers for travel and tourism and how they see the future of tourism in this region in the “new normal world”.

    You will learn from Paul and Andy how to  

    • make your passion and interest your business reality  
    • build credibility and trust among Nordic stakeholders
    • collaborate with different Nordic cultures 

    Follow Nordic Tourism Collective

    Nordic Tourism Collective in Facebook

    Nordic Tourism Collective in Instagram


  • Episode 14

    Building good leaders that change the world |Hans Peter Siefen Co-Founder & Chairman at Nordic Business Forum

    Hans-Peter Siefen

    Nordic Business Forum (NBForum), co-founded by Hans Peter Siefen, is the most sought after business leadership event series in the Nordic Countries. NBForum has featured world-class speakers such as Barack Obama, Al Gore, Simon Sinek, Sir Alex Fergusson, Seth Godin, Steve Wozniak, Gary Vaynerchuk, Randi Zuckerberg, Sir Richard Branson and the late Jack Welsh, just to name a few. One of the secrets behind their success is to exceed the customer expectations, says Hans-Peter.  We discuss what makes these world leaders unique and what have been some of the learnings from them that have been implemented into NBForum culture. Hans-Peter also talks about NBForum events during COVID-19 and their plans for the future.

    You will learn from Hans-Peter how to  

    • exceed customer expectations
    • build credibility and trust among stakeholders
    • choose a team member 
    • build and plan your business and your career 


    Hans- Peter Siefen in LinkedIn

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    LinkedIn Nordic Business Forum


  • Episode 13

    5 Nordic ways to break up your Groundhog Day routine


    If you feel your weeks are like from the Groundhog Day movie, you need disruption to your routine! In this episode you will learn 5 Nordic inspired disruptions to spice up your week.

    • 1st disruption is for your Mindset – scream your heart out. You can now record your scream and it will be released in Iceland’s beautiful, wide-open spaces. Get ready to scream at Looks like you need Iceland.
    • 2nd disruption is for your Meals. If you are fed up with your cooking and baking go to IKEA and buy the ready made Swedish meatballs and lingonberry jam. Add potato mash and voila, your Swedish dinner is made. However, if you want to make an effort and do it all by yourself here is a traditional Swedish meatball recipe to try
    • 3rd disruption is for your entertainment. Here are some of my favourite Danish TV shows to stream while you are huddled indoors. Watch Borgen, The Killing, 1864 and so on. Create some hygge for yourself and start binge watching.
    • 4th disruption is for your Exercise. Time to get up from the couch! If you are looking for something different to your normal exercise routine try Nordic Walking. Pole prices start from $30 – $400. The health benefits are endless according to Harvard Medical School. Finally, to look like a Nordic get yourself a Nordic anorak jacket, it will last you a lifetime. Go to Anorakki.com.au and when you quote Nordic you get 10% off.
    • 5th disruption is to be Hopeful. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is preserving a wide variety of seeds from plants from all over the world, in case of a global crisis. Learn more by going to Seedvault Norway

    That’s 5 Nordic disruptions for your week. Enjoy!



    Nordic Anorak jackets that last a lifetime. Get 10 % off and FREE shipping by quoting NORDIC when ordering. Anorakki jackets are Unisex and Anorakki offers full returns. Visit www.anorakki.com.au

    Follow Anorakki on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/anorakki_thestore

    Follow Anorakki on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AnorakkiTheStore/

  • Episode 12

    From designing guitars for Ben Harper to Nordic Fatherhood | Hans-Jørgen Jahr, Norwegian Designer and Carpenter

    Melbourne based Norwegian “Maker of Things”, Hans-Jørgen Jahr, was so inspired by multi-Grammy awarded musician Ben Harper that he decided to start designing guitars. He didn’t know then that Ben Harper would be his first customer.  This very talented and soft spoken Nordic designer, carpenter and photographer draws his inspirations from Bauhaus and Nordic designers. Hans talks  about his time in the Norwegian army as a pacifist and about his love for outdoors and extreme sports, including ski jumping, snow- and skateboarding.

    Hans is a very dedicated father and stepfather. We discuss what it is like to be a Nordic father and how it differs from Australian, based on his experience.  

    You will  learn:

    • Where Hans draws his inspiration from as a designer 
    • What is means to be a Nordic Father 
    • What has given Hans confidence to take risks and succeed in life 

    Follow Hans -Jørgern Jahr 


    Instagram Pile of Trees

    Instagram Jahr Made 



    Nordic Anorak jackets that last a lifetime.Get 10 % off and FREE shipping by quoting NORDIC when ordering. Anorakki jackets are Unisex and Anorakki offers full returns. Visit www.anorakki.com.au

    Follow Anorakki on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/anorakki_thestore

    Follow Anorakki on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AnorakkiTheStore/

  • Episode 11

    How to turn retrenchment into a success story in 6 minutes | Watchmaker Susan Galvin, Founder, Galvin Watch Company 

    Getting retrenched during COVID-19 can be truly devastating, especially when it happens during your maternity leave. This happened to my guest Susan Galvin, who was retrenched in March this year. Instead of becoming paralysed by the challenge she decided to start her own company and design her own watch brand by using kick-starter funding. Susan talks about her journey to becoming a watchmaker in Finland and her experience in the male orientated luxury watch industry. She has over 10 years experience working as level 5 Omega watchmaker for prestigious global companies such as LVMH, in the UK and Australia, and The Swatch Group, Omega in Australia.

    You will learn:
    – What skills and attitude you need to go straight from school to work for a global luxury brand company
    – How to turn redundancy into a new opportunity
    – How to make kick-started funding work successfully for your start-up

    Follow Galvin Watch Company

    Back the Kickstarter campaign in August to become an owner of an Alku watch galvinwatchcompany.com.au




  • Episode 10

    Four Nordic concepts to help you through Covid-19

    Our lives have changed dramatically – maybe forever. We have had to adjust to many changes due to Covid. Satu is introducing four fairly well known Nordic concepts that could be helpful for creating a calmer mindset for these turbulent times. 

    You will  learn:

    • About SISU which is a certain inner strength that Finns have that creates an action-oriented mindset. How anyone can develop SISU into your own life.
    • About LAGOM which is a Swedish lifestyle philosophy based on having “Not too much, not too little. Just right.” How you can live better with less and practice LAGOM to create a happier life.
    • About FIKA, a Swedish Institution that is a mini – break in a day. Often meaning a coffee break with a cinnamon bun. How you can create FIKA moments,” little escapes” in your day. 
    • About Danish concept of having a special cozy feeling or a moment of HYGGE. How you can create simple HYGGE moments and make your everyday life more enjoyable.  


    About SISU The Finnish Art of Courage

    About LAGOM  Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living”.

    About FIKA Fika: The Art of The Swedish Coffee Break, with Recipes for Pastries, Breads, and Other Treats.


    About HYGGE How to Hygge 



    This episode is brought to you by Anorakki. Get 10 % off and FREE shipping by quoting NORDIC when ordering. Anorakki jackets are Unisex and Anorakki offers full returns. Visit www.anorakki.com.au 

  • Episode 9

    Championing Nordic gender equality in the global corporate world | Norwegian Silje Barningham, Head of HR in ANZ at Jacobs

    Nordics have long been international champions of gender equality. The Nordic Region regularly  produces outstanding female Presidents, Prime Ministers and business leaders. On average almost three in every four working-age Nordic women are in paid employment, according to the OECD (2018).

    However, to be a young female Nordic leader championing gender equality in a very male dominated corporate culture is not an easy task. My guest, Norwegian Silje Barningham, is a very successful HR professional at Jacobs who has been making ‘pro-equality’ waves in the corporate world throughout her career.  

    We discuss the attributes and determination she has developed to change the traditional corporate culture to bring Nordic modelled gender equality to her work place.  She talks about the resilience and determination she gained as a child living an outdoor life in Norway. Her female leader idols in the 1980’s included Gro Harlem Brundtland, the first female PM of Norway and the Nordic region. 

    Silje co-founded a start-up called Anorakki,which sells modernised versions of traditional Nordic Anorak jackets that last a lifetime. She talks about how the idea of Anorakki came about and how she has been able to bring a piece of Nordic culture to ANZ based on Norwegian “fritid” (leisure time) concept. 

    You will learn 

    • The benefits that gender equality and diversity bring to corporation and community
    • The way Silje has been championing gender equality cultural change in her workplaces and in her teams
    • How Silje has developed her start-up idea from her own cultural traditions

    Nordic Anorak jackets that last a lifetime. Get 10 % off and FREE shipping by quoting NORDIC when ordering. Anorakki jackets are Unisex and Anorakki offers full returns. Visit www.anorakki.com.au

    Follow Anorakki on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/anorakki_thestore

    Follow Anorakki on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AnorakkiTheStore/

  • Episode 8

    Four Nordic business and leadership survival hacks during COVID-19

    I am reflecting on my interviews to this point. What have been some of the inspirational business and leadership survival strategies used by my Nordic and Nordic-inspired business and corporate leader guests during COVID-19? Listen in and get insights how four Nordic and Nordic-inspired business leaders Tietse Stelma of 50 Degrees North (Full interview in Eps 2), Libby Helinski of Pappa Sven (Full interview in Eps 3), Anders Lindstrom (Full interview in Eps 7) featuring Project Wingman USA and Tommi Nordstrom of Pupsy (Full interview in Eps 6) tackle their business and career challenges.

  • Episode 7

    Dreaming big, creating opportunities and making it happen – even during the tough times | Anders Lindström, Director of Communications, Norwegian Air, North America

    What is it like to live in NYC in the middle of COVID and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, working for an airline industry that has been paralysed? Director of Comms for NA for Norwegian Air, Swedish Anders Lindström has turned challenges into an opportunity. In Mar 2020 he initiated the non-profit Project Wingman USA, mobilising hundreds of airline crew to provide care for COVID healthcare workers in NYC. He is one of the most prominent airline spokespeople in US frequently appearing in main press.

    For more information visit Project Wingman USA

  • Episode 6

    Transitioning from a high-flyer in the corporate world to running a start-up for dog lovers | Tommi Nordstrom – Start-up Founder, Pupsy.com.au

    How do you transform your life from a highly successful corporate career in Europe to ending up on the beach in Australia and running a start-up? My guest, Finnish-born Tommi Nordstrom, has done this very successfully. He co-founded Pupsy, an online platform for all things that matter to dog-owners. He shares his idea to launch Pupsy as a way to help dog owners find, book and review dog friendly places and services. 

    For more information visit Pupsy


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