Introducing Futures Platform's new CEO, Juha Mattsson
Get to know our new CEO in this interview where we talk about his background, experiences, and his vision as a leader.
October 5, 2021, Sheyla Gonzalez, Gökce Sandal
Juha Mattsson has joined the Futures Platform team as our new CEO. We asked him a few questions to get to know him and learn about his vision. He has answered the questions with a touch of humour, optimism, and charisma that’s characteristic of him.
Hi Juha! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I have been in a proper CEO role in five different companies. It wasn't always planned, as I’ve also had career paths as a professor and as a consultant as well, but ending up as a CEO just happened over and over again. So I guess that's my main profession now. I consider myself a company builder. I remember back when I was a youngster, like under ten years old, I loved building Lego bricks, and I did it all over again and again. I created all kinds of stuff, and I remember that at that point, I envisioned that I wanted to have a job where I build a lot, and it's so interesting that I forget to take lunch! And here I am.
What are the key takeaways you have gained through all your experiences?
My background is in Strategy, Marketing and Sales. These date back already to my studies, research and teaching at the university. These fields join together also in the sense that they’ve got a lot to do with building companies. Over time, I’ve also gained considerable experience in visionary leading roles, which relates more to managing teams — making sure that there is a crystal-clear vision that everyone shares and is motivated over. I think that's one of the most critical learnings from the leadership side of managing companies. I always ask myself, "Am I painting a crystal-clear picture of where we want to be and what we want to achieve as a team and as a company?" I also need to make sure that everybody is motivated because when there is motivation, everything is achievable.
How would you pitch Futures Platform's service to a stranger in a one-minute elevator ride?
We live in a world of volatility and uncertainty, and obviously, things like the global pandemic intensify and underline this. Futures Platform was founded by futurists who had years of experience using rigorous, academic standard methods in scenario planning and foresight to map out future opportunities and risks. Then, they brought all that knowledge into one platform. We are committed to sharing our expertise and empowering businesses and organisations to build their foresight capabilities through the knowledge we have on the platform and also within our experienced team.
Why do you think foresight is necessary for organisations?
Well, how well did you prepare for Covid-19? There are multiple things in the current market economy, such as the governance model of the publicly traded companies in the stock markets, that make companies focus predominately on the short term. And that's very logical from one point of view, but on the other hand, it leads to inadequate preparation in terms of things that might happen in 5 to 20 years, for example. In many respects, this applies to political decision-making as well. I think the pandemic has taught companies and government organisations that something might be coming up around the corner, and they should generally be better prepared.
That is one of the things I learned when I joined Futures Platform this spring. I was already familiar with the company because we did a small project together four years ago. Back then, I thought that Futures Platform was a very niche company serving a niche market. Now, my perspective has changed, and I think Futures Platform is relevant for virtually all companies and organisations. It is vital to have an understanding of alternative future possibilities behind the decision-making process. Organisations that are not interested in the future might not be a part of the future, at the end of the day.
What kind of impacts does Futures Platform currently have on its clients' foresight work?
We have been putting a lot of effort into analysing different foresight maturity levels among organisations, especially our clients. How far they are in terms of their foresight practices, processes, tools, and futures thinking. Some companies might be just realising that they need to do more than just read The Economist every now and then. Some other organisations might already have a foresight team and a foresight manager. I think the most significant impact we can deliver is not only enabling people to identify and learn about future trends, but enabling organisations to take their foresight capability to the next level, regardless of what their current level is. I would even say that that is our core value proposition. That's at the heart of it.
You have been with Futures Platform now approximately for six months. What have you learned during this time?
I have learned tonnes about the company, about futures research and the Futures Platform team. I've said multiple times in different locations: I love the team! It's great! It's a wonderful place to be as a newcomer CEO. It's not obvious that you would inherit such a high performing team as you join a company as the new leader. I've learned in general what Futures Platform is about as a team, as a company, and as a business. I've learned that many of the challenges and opportunities we face are similar to those in many other companies I have worked with. Many of the challenges and opportunities growth companies face are quite generic, even though the business might be different.
How do you see Futures Platform's future, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
We want to be the leading company that empowers organisations to shape and navigate the future. My role is to put all my knowledge and experience into achieving better growth and making sure our customers love us and get value in their foresight work. Futures Platform is a great team and a great place to jump in!
Thank you Juha for your answers. We are excited to have you onboard in our mission to empowering organisations to shape the future together.
Want to learn more about Futures Platform and how we can help you take your foresight work to the next level?
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