How Skandia generates its future faster [Fast Company]

Five years ago, at Swedish giant financial services giant Skandia, Lief Edvinsson became the world’s first director of intellectual capital. He quickly set out to revolutionise the corporate accounting with a new framework for measuring intangibles: the company’s valuable “soft stuff” such as customer relations and organisational knowledge. Now he’s reinventing another business practice — strategic planning, the corporate ritual of “accounting for the future” on the basis of past financial performance.

That’s why, in a sprawling villa just 40 minutes from Stockholm, Edvinsson, 50, is creating a centre to reach the future faster. Starting last May, he renovated a 130-year-old building into a future-focused thinktank and populated it with a carefully selected, generationally diverse group of knowledge pioneers.

Edvinsson’s new unit, Skandia Future Centers (SFC), and his handpicked team of 30 people from around the world, form an elite squad of five Future Teams. Their mission: to explore five key driving forces of the business environment — the European insurance market, demographics, technology, the world economy, and organisation and leadership. The goal: present a vision of the company’s future to the corporate council, the company’s 150 senior executives.

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