Alfonso Paradinas story – international and ambitious leader

Get to know Alfonso Paradinas, one of our INSEAD Sweden Alumni member .

Alfonso is an international leader in construction industry passionate about ambitious leadership, sports and travelling


* What has taken you to your current position? Any defining moments? 

My position involves construction and teams management. I would not have reached my current role without the decision to pursue an Insead MBA and without having taken the risk to move to Africa to start a new company from scratch. Both defining moments have shaped my career and have allowed me to be where I am today.

* What do you do in your professional life? 

I am Sika Sweden’s Managing Director. I am leading a team of 105 employees that generates an annual turnover of over 80m EUR. Sika is a world wide leader in the development and production of systems and products for bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing and protecting in the building sector and motor vehicle industry.

* What do you think we need to develop for the future of work and in our leadership? 

There are two trends that are and will certainly continue shaping the future of work;

  1. Digitalisation, that Covid pandemic has accelerated its development and implementation; companies have had to quickly adapt all their systems and their internal and external communication structure to cope with lockdowns and social distancing.
  2. Sustainability, crucial to change the negative spiral that our planet is facing. From CO2 emission reductions to a radical production and supply chain recycling approach, shareholders and customers are demanding companies to transform the way they interact with nature.

As for leadership, there are three elements that employees are expecting from their top managers;

  1. Flexibility; with such a global and digital world, the younger generation will simply not accept the old way of the daily commute to the office. They are demanding much more flexibility from their employers to work from “anywhere”
  2. Empowerment; old school micromanagement does not work anymore. Younger generations expect to be able to take the lead and to be much more involved in decision making processes
  3. Diversity; much more mixed management both in terms of gender and race is a must for companies to compete and to grow. Not only due to “political reasons”, but diversity allows teams to think much more “outside the box” and to come up with new ideas

* Any particular pointers for books, podcasts or articles you think would be valuable for others to explore?

“To live is to take the risk of deciding who do you want to be” this quote by Ortega y Gasset has been my life motto for many years. I strongly recommend “The Revolt of the Masses” as it is a great critical essay about how human kind behaves around other peers and it fits very well with the world we live in.

I am also extremely passionate about the conquer of Everest history. One of my big life heroes is George Mallory, an English explorer that back in the 1920’s firstly attempted to reach the summit. “Paths of Glory” by Jeffrey Archer tells his story in a compelling way and very much worth reading about Mallory’s determination, life passion and love for his wife and his mountain.

* When you get some spare time, what do you like to do? 

In my spare time, I enjoy playing and practicing all kind of sports; skiing, tennis, paddle, football, swimming, running…it is the way I channel stress and also an great excuse to meet people and to network. My other passion is traveling and learning about new cultures. Given than Sweden is the 10thcountry I live in the last 16th years, living abroad has allowed me to grow both professionally and personally

* What are you particularly good at, that others in the network can contact you about? 

Since a very young age, I have been exposed to different cultures and I have lived in many countries. Thanks to this, I am able to adapt and to lead multi-cultural teams. Since I have quite an outgoing personality, I am a good communicator. I am also able to solve problems under tight deadlines and stressful situations. People can also contact me if they want to learn to play paddle or tennis!

Connect with Alfonso Paradinas here

This post is part if INSEAD Sweden Alumni Membership stories. We welcome you to share yours!  Share your story – read more on how to here 

Leadership in the future of work – share your story

Leadership in the future of work – share your story!

We are increasingly challenged to find ways to adapt our leadership in the new fast past technology driven era we are finding ourselves in, be it as leaders, boards, co-workers or individual consultants. To collaborate with and draw on our network is an important part of all INSEADers progress. For inspiration you can read about How leaders develop and use their network

We are delighted to introduce a new initative here at INSEAD Sweden Alumni Association,  where we will increase the visibility and introduce members of our network to each other. You will soon see same introductions and we encourage you to connect with each other and we hope that you will also be eager to join our initiative and introduce yourself.

We like for all of you to answer the following questions and mail your response to alumni (.) sweden (at) insead (.) edu , together with a photo of yourself.

* What has taken you to your current position? Any defining moments?

* What do you do in your professional life?

* What do you think we need to develop for the future of work and in our leadership?

* Any particular pointers for books, podcasts or articles you think would be valuable for others to explore?

* When you get som spare time, what do you like to do?

* What are you particularily good at, that others in the network can contact you about?

We will revert and potentially ask some clarifying questions or share some guidance.  And then we will ensure we introduce you at the website and on social media. We are particularly interested in listen to your international experience and your perspectives on diversity and sustainability.

Welcome to read our first member introduction : Get to know Alfonso Paradinas

And welcome to share your story!


Welcome to Inspirational INSEAD Webinars

INSEAD and INSEAD alumni’s are a powerhouse of insights and they are sharing many inspirational sessions via webinars.

Led by  diverse groups from the INSEAD community,  such as  centres and initiatives, alumni and student clubs, these webinars use innovative approaches to engage and inspire.

Many are open for public, some are for INSEAD Alumni exclusive. Many are for free, some have a minor fee.

You find them at our INSEAD Sweden Alumni Event page and our Event calendar

Exploring Leader in a #Digitalfirst world – Carl Magnus Norden

Exploring Leader in a #Digitalfirst world – Carl Magnus Norden 

On our quest to highlight inspiring leaders embracing the digital world, we share interviews with curious and brave leaders. We believe it is important to take inspiration from some of the more proactive digital leaders, to understand more of their personal journey and get access to some of their insights.

Our leader this time is Carl Magnus Norden. Carl Magnus is a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of the disruptive venture Volta Trucks and also the President of Swedish INSEAD Alumni Association.

Carl Magnus believes that the world needs more engaged entrepreneurs that is establishing new businesses to change our world for the better.  He believes that you have different strengths at different ages, and that its the originality of the idea, closeness to customer need and the mix of the team that makes the difference.

This blogpost also points to a podcast episode, which focuses on Carl Magnus entrepreneurial journey and areas he believes we need to focus. The episode is part of the podcast show Exploring Leaders which you can find via the link or on most places where you find podcasts.

Carl Magnus Norden’s journey to become a #rebornDigital Leader

So how did Carl Magnus come into the founder position he currently holds? Listen to CM’s inspiring response.

Carl Magnus has been a serial entrepreneur since 30+ Years. He took and MBA at INSEAD, which took him to a job in UK for an American company. He started his own businesses in real estate in Benelux and then started a company in Czech Republic, he came to Sweden and started an internet company and then went into crowdfunding.

During all this time, he has kept close to his class mates and other alumni’s from INSEAD, and as he returned to Sweden he increased the engagement and took on the President/Chairman role for the INSEAD Alumni Association. He believes that the benefit of an MBA from INSEAD is that he from day one got a strong international network.

You can easily see that also for Carl Magnus his core drive has been to be passionately curious and he has embraced risk to move forward.



A disruptive new venture capitalizing on many of the current trends – Volta Trucks

Carl Magnus shares that their slogan is

“We are building an electric truck for today’s cities and tomorrow’s generations”.

But he doesn’t believe the core of the business is to build and sell trucks, the business will be a service business. But building the truck that doesn’t exist today is the tool for them to be able to do the service business that will be the business for the future.

The prime reason he sees is that the industry stands in front of a major technology shift, going from diesel to electricity. And as in many technology shift he believes startups will be faster than the incumbents. The truck is also made with focus on transportation in the city centers, where all the major trends come together. Around sustainability, around urbanization and congestion for the city centers, around needed new types of drivers.

Capitalising of not coming from the industry

As Carl Magnus didn’t come from the industry he has spent a lot of time talking to and getting to know the needs of the customers, which has served the company well, in the way it is now getting formatted.

He has also drawn on the extensive international network, much from his INSEAD network, to staff up the company and to get the first investors on board. He then could reach for the needed industry competence and manufacturing competence in a fast and insightful way.

He is also passionate about the good global impact his venture will do with less, pollution, less congestions, less noise and more customer friendliness and higher employee engagement, which is all strong points to all the stakeholders of the venture.

On the questions “What stumble blocks did you fall into?”  Carl Magnus advice is –

“Just get going!”

You can almost always adjust.

Capitalising on curiousity, network and experience that comes with age 

Carl Magnus started his venture at the age of 64. This should stand as a major role model and inspiration for many of us.

He is still ambitions and curious. He has great experiences and a great international network. And he has the humbleness to complement himself with a diverse group of leaders that can contribute to a great and important venture. His view is that it is best to be a diverse group that bring different strengths to the table. The mission for Volta Trucks is inspiring and his link to Business as a Force for good is simple;  “The more successfull we are the more good we are doing”



Recommendations to other entrepreneurs and leaders 

Carl Magnus overall advice to other entrepreneurs and leaders are

“Ensure you understand the customer, build a good team and then: Just get going”

Finally on the question we share with our interviewees what furniture he would be, Carl Magnus pondered a bit and then it came natural …. Can I be a Plant? A Plant seeks natural energy and grows with the future and have a future outlook, they are part of a full recycle system. – And they are good for the world! Inspiring!



How to become more #digitallyInvolved

To get more insight of what Carl Magnus Norden knows and shares, we highly recommend you to checkout and follow his journey at Volta Trucks

To get more insight of what Carl Magnus Norden knows and shares, we highly recommend you to checkout and follow his journey at Volta Trucks

You can also checkout Carl Magnus Norden’s presentation of the venture Voltatruck at Stockholm Tech pitch event in January 2020

Learn more about some of the strategic trends Carl Magnus has spotted as Technology Innovations, Planet Resource Challenges, Social & Work Change, Urbanisation at the Digoshen blogpost about Mega Trends

Another very exciting major startup is led by former Tesla Supply Chain Executive Peter Carlsson; the electronic batteries factory Northvolt  Follow Northvolt on twitter @Northvolt.

Of course you should also follow the Tesla founder Elon Musk on twitter @elonmusk

Also major industry players are starting to work on their electric strategies as can be found here from Scania

Follow INSEAD and learn more from their INSEAD Knowledge

And he is also a member at INSEAD Directors Network.  which you can also follow on linkedin and twitter here @inseadidn

This interview was done by Liselotte Engstam and previously shared at the blog of, and

Creating a renewable future in the bioeconomy

Creating a renewable future in the bioeconomy

with by INSEAD Alumni Gilles van Nieuwenhuyzen, Executive Vice President and Head of Packaging Solutions, Stora Enso.

Stora Enso,The renewable materials company” has done great efforts in living the INSEAD creed “Business as a Force for Good“, making sure its business works with local communities to take responsibility for the environment whilst leading the bio-economy and supporting the customers in meeting demand for renewable eco-friendly products.

On November 29, 2019, we were fortunate to listen to great insights from an impact- and purpose-driven world-leading company presented by Gilles van Nieuwenhuyzen is Executive Vice President and Head of Packaging Solutions and an Insead Alumni. The event was hosted at PWC Sweden.

Gilles van Nieuwenhuyzen is Executive Vice President and Head of Packaging Solutions at Stora Enso since 2015. Prior to this, he was President of the Enablers division at DuPont Nutrition & Health (formerly Danisco) 2010 – 2014. Earlier he was Executive Board Member and Division President at the Dutch food ingredients group CSM, and held positions at Rexam, DSM and McKinsey. He is a Dutch national and holds a MSc in Applied Physics and an MBA from INSEAD.

Gilles shared how their products were renewable and circular by nature.

Global warming is one of the greatest challenges of our time. The fossil world is about to come to its end as societies and consumers demand change. Stora Enso, “The renewable materials company” is living the INSEAD creed “Business as a Force for Good” by replacing fossil-based materials with renewable, eco-friendly solutions. Come and listen to great insights about sustainable profitable growth & renewable innovations from a company that claims: Everything that’s made from fossil based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow.

And still how hard Stora Enso worked in a major transformation of the entire company to make all dimensions sustainable, which had named them global leaders in Sustainability. Gilles also share how the transformation and ambition in Sustainability is ongoing.

An interested and engaged crowd had met up at PWC where the event was hosted to learn more form their INSEAD colleague on how to transform companies to become circular and sustainable.

More happening at INSEAD on the topic of Business as a Force for Good.  

INSEAD has established a centre, the Hoffman Global Institute for business and society,  to drive the focus on using Business as a Force for Good

An inaugural event was also held by INSEAD Corporate Governance Centre (ICGC), the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society (HGIBS) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) with participants from INSEAD Directors Network to  address sustainability from multi-level perspectives including both macro and micro approaches with a particular focus on boards’ responsibilities and on validating what a curriculum for board members committed to such a responsibility might look like.

The conference was named Towards Sustainability: A New Curriculum for Boards, on 8-9 April in Fontainebleau . More information can be found

Visit the website for more information and photo gallery >

Click here for video highlights >

INSEAD The Force for Good Conference was held in the afternoon of 5 October and brought together more than 620 attendees. The conference convened a diverse set of business leaders and prominent academics to share their views, experiences and strategies on how business can prosper and produce positive outcomes for society. More about the conference



Strategy in the age of AI: What are the lessons for Swedish competitiveness

Strategy in the age of AI: What are the lessons for Swedish competitiveness

with INSEAD Deputy Dean Peter Zemsky, Mats Agervi, CEO Combient and Luka Crnovic-Friis, CEO Peltarion


On October 16, 2019 business leaders and policy makers joined INSEAD Alumni Association Sweden to listen to and interact on the topic of AI in business.

Listen to the interview done by Swedish Radio of Prof Zemsky from the event (in Swedish)

The event was introduced by Eskil Ullberg, Board Member at INSEAD Alumni Network Sweden. PWC Partner Katja Severin Danielsson welcomed the participants as PWC was hosting the popular event.

Professor of Strategy and Deputy Dean of Innovation at INSEAD, Peter Zemsky works on digital transformation and innovation and how Artificial Intelligence (AI) affects strategies on resource allocation by businesses. He co-directs the new INSEAD and Singularity University joint programme The Future of AI: Seizing the Opportunity and has developed a range of award winning online courses including the executive education course Strategy in the Age of Digital Disruption.

INSEAD Prof. Zemsky presented issues of Europe lagging behind US and China on Artificial Intelligence, competing in the global talent race, mastering AI at board levels and policy development.

Prof Zemsky talked about AI strategy, pointing out the early mover advantage, with an interesting reflection on how AlphaGo really tipped Asia towards investing in AI.

See a short video with Prof Zemsky.


Mats Agervi

CEO of Combient Group and Chairman Combient Mix. Combient Group is a unique frontrunner in the global AI race and works with 30 of the largest companies in the Nordics on a joint mission to speed up digital transformation across industries. Today, Combient count 30 companies representing as many industries, a total of €150 billion in revenue and 600 000 employees, including Atlas Copco, Electrolux, Epiroc, Ericsson, Husqvarna, Kone, Investor, Saab, Scania, SKF, Stora Enso, Wärtsilä and more. The network is collaborating under a joint non-disclosure agreement across boards, management and business units. Together with Combient’s team of specialists as well as an ecosystem of top universities and startups, they have created an out-of-the-ordinary space for shared assets and rapid growth. Combient Mix is their data science and analytics company, spun off to deliver best in class automation services to the network while ensuring a responsible approach to AI.

Mats Agervi shared his experience and perspective of AI in Business, he focussed on the importance of addressing AI collaboratively between different companies towards AI Ecosystems  and how Nordic could use its unique competence in collaboration to speed up and create competitiveness for Nordic companies.

See a short video with Mr Agervi.

Mr Agervi also shared insights in how they are working in an academic research project with their companies, exploring how their boards and companies could better take leadership in the AI era. Involved in that academic research project is also INSEAD Alumni Association Sweden Board Member, Liselotte Engstam.

Luka Crnovic-Friis,

Founder and CEO of Peltarion, a leading Swedish AI startup providing an operational AI platform producing real-world cross industry AI applications at scale and speed. Over 300 companies have used Peltarion AI technology including NASA, Tesla, iZettle, General Electric and Deutche Bank. Peltarion was recently listed as one of Europes 100 hottest startups. The Peltarion team is led by top engineers from Spotify, Skype, King, TrueCaller and Google.

See a short video with Mr Crnovic-Friis.

Luka shared his experience and perspective of AI in Business, he made the point of aiming for quickens  by “picking the low hanging fruit-that is real fruit”

In a dialogue with these CEOs of two of the leading Swedish AI actors, Mats Agervi, CEO Combient and Luka Crnovic-Friis, Peltarion, Prof. Zemsky discussed “What strategies for AI could Swedish companies pursue?” and “What are the impacts for Swedish competitiveness?”

The room was packed full with engaged INSEAD Alumnis and guests.

More from INSEAD on the topic of

“Business as a Force for Good”.

An INSEAD blog on Digital collects some of the insights shared on Digital 

The Boardroom Digital Transformation Survey shared in this Governance talk Series by Andrew Shipilov, INSEAD Professor of Strategy

Insead is collaborating with Singularity University.

Prof Zemsky interviewing SU Founder Peter Diamandis on Digital and AI

SU Founder Peter Diamandis SU Global Summit 2019 Key note

INSEAD is starting its fourth global hub and its first hub in US in San Fransisco during 2020.

Including a joint program between INSEAD with Singularity University on AI


INSEAD also held an AI Forum in France, summarized in these 15 videos.





Summerised by

Liselotte Engstam,

Board Member at INSEAD Alumni Association Sweden & INSEAD Directors Network,

NED, Advisor, Affiliated Researcher