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“Be kind in business” says Purposemaker Ole Kassow

Summercamp 2013 has been on gone now, and what a day it was! We’ll be back very soon with 2014’s plans. To be one of the first to grab tickets, sign up here:



We’re very fortunate to have the inspirational Ole Kassow running a workshop at Summercamp this year.

We got to know Ole through the wonderful work of his company Purposemakers in Denmark. Since the turn of the year we’ve been over to Copenhagen a couple of times and have been lucky enough to see Ole at work at both his own ‘Companies with a purpose‘ conference as well as at Rebuild21 . He believes in challenging conventional thinking and in inspiring people and organizations to create a better world by enchanting their employees and customers.

We caught up with Ole to discuss what he’ll be bringing to summercamp (and hopefully you’ll appreciate why we’ve invited him over to join us and inspire the next generation of changemakers):

1) Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on at the moment

Well, my passions are my hens, local food, bicycles and kind people, so I try to circle around these topics in my job as one of the two co-founders at Purpose Makers.

I love what I do and do what I love – and although half my initiatives or projects are voluntary I don’t really distinguish between paid and voluntary jobs. Right now Cycling Without Age takes up a lot of my time. It’s about organising volunteers to ride with nursing home residents in rickshaws and it’s beginning to spread like wildfire in Denmark. We tap into our country’s long cycling traditions with well over 35% of all trips in Copenhagen being by bike. Bike Portland wrote a piece on it recently: http://bikeportland.org/2013/05/31/cycling-without-age-in-copenhagen-87631

I also work as a speaker curator at TEDxCopenhagen, the next conference being held and transmitted live on 26 September. Then I work with Noma co-founder Claus Meyer on a series of three TV programmes combining local foods, local people and happiness. My job there is to work with school classes and get them to experience the pleasure of surprising a group of nursing home residents with a picnic made from local ingredients at a pop-up street kitchen in their local town. A mad concept? You bet :-)

Finally I work with the health and care department of the municipality of Aarhus on a project to create a stronger “help and knowledge-sharing culture” among 6,000 employees.

2) What or who inspired you to get where you are today?

It’s been a journey, but looking back I can see that my dad had a profound influence on my decisions in the recent years – although he died from multiple sclerosis in 1989. He always used to say that he didn’t have any regrets, because the fact that he was wheelchair-bound for my entire childhood, meant that he was always there for us kids. After having experienced a lot of meaningless business humdrum for several years I came back to the notion that I needed to focus on the meaningful stuff in life.

3) What changes are you driving in the world?

I’m just hoping that my actions can somehow make the world a little bit better than it was yesterday.


4) Tell us briefly about what you’ll be talking about at the summercamp this year.

I believe that if you’re kind and treat people the way you would like to be treated, you will be met with goodwill and you will accumulate social capital. This is true for businesses as well as individuals. Social capital is today’s perhaps most important business driver and will deliver raving customers to businesses. But the 21st century is also a mercilessly transparent world. Anybody is a potential whistle-blower and any attempt to fake it, will be found out. My talk is about creating a customer-centric business based on trust, kindness and transparency.

5) What one piece of advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs and changemakers?

Always be kind.

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