BFP: What do you do?
RB: I run Njord Consulting, we support every type of organisation to implement Social Responsibility across operations. Developing their strategy and business models, and giving advice on how to make it work in practice. We specialise in marketing strategies and social investments for emerging and developing countries. I’m also a partner of a few other companies where we work on social innovation and sustainability. I am a typical strategist – I love intellectual challenges and how to make a good idea successful!
BFP: What is the best part about your job/project?
RB: We are involved in the challenge fund Innovations Against Poverty, where it is fantastic to meet and support some very innovative entrepreneurs. I also work with established corporates, helping them implement social responsibility. No day is like the other; one day I may work with a start-up on how to make a business model more robust, the next day I advise a corporate on how they could use their existing technologies for a developing market.
BFP: What has been your greatest challenge?
RB: To meet more companies with great assets and resources willing to be directed to segments and under served markets which could make good use of them. Many companies are very risk averse and still too short term focused, and therefore stick to the same segments as their competitors.
BFP: How have you overcome these challenges?
RB: It is a massive challenge still! But nowadays we preach to those who have their ears open and do not waste time with companies that do not have the appetite for change. We have noticed that family and privately owned businesses and are more receptive to take their social responsibility further. The trend of social entrepreneurship I think will also help to showcase opportunities that larger businesses are hesitant to do.
BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where do they start?
RB: First, ask yourself which problem you could help solve, what are the skills, resources and personality you bring. Second, connect with different key people as much as you can to figure out what your niche and proposition can be. And third, get going as soon as possible. As an entrepreneur be focused on the problem you are trying to help solve and get going to try out your hypothesis, rework, try again. Be sure to continuously develop your experience and expertise – across disciplines if you wish to work with creative processes.
BFP: What do you hope to get out of being part of this community?
RB: For me it is a great way of connecting with people that I would not otherwise have access to and to get new ideas and input. I hope also to contribute with things that may be equally valuable to other people.
Thank you to Ruth Brännvall for taking the time to do this interview.