Please introduce yourself

Heya! I am Björk and I live in Iceland where I spend my free time being humbled by the weather while running up and down mountains (or the streets of Reykjavík). I am the founder of a start-up called Melta, which is on a mission to revolutionize rural waste management by converting food waste into fertilizers via local microbreweries.

My days are a mixed bag—some are filled with office tasks and fundraising while others find me in the field, chatting with locals, processing organic waste, and aiding Iceland’s soils back to health with our organic fertilizer.

 

Which team and when did you graduate?

I graduated in 2018 with my team 22.

 

What have you been doing since you graduated as a Kaospilot?

After graduating I moved to Iceland to join Kolibri, a progressive digital agency operating as a holacracy. I wore a few different hats there —team coach for a fullstack development team, ran masterclasses teaching Agile and OKR frameworks, and even snagged a seat in the C-suite as People lead. I think it’s safe to say I couldn’t have landed at a better place after graduation as I got to immediately apply the knowledge and skills I acquired at Kaospilot.

After Kolibri I teamed up with my friend (and T20 alumni) Andri Geirsson at Reykjavík’s Department of Service and Innovation. Together, we steered the ship on Gróðurhúsið/The Greenhouse, an in-house accelerator that Andri developed to amp up service-design and innovation city-wide. It is an absolute privilege to work with a fellow Kaospilot, especially when its someone as smart and talented as Andri.

All the while, I was brewing up my own climate start-up, Melta. Since 2021, I’ve been diving full-time into creating a closed-loop system to make fertilizers from food waste in rural communities. As always, I am teamed up with brilliant people—seriously, the key to staying sharp and inspired is surrounding yourself with folks who are wiser than you. My co-founder, Julia Brenner, is a soil science whiz, and we got kissed by the gods recently when Hrefna Björg, genius and T24 alumni, joined the team. Melta is KP meets science—we fuse fermentation and human-centered design to transform rural waste management, make fertilizer production local, and, most importantly, breathe some life back into our soils.

 

What is important for you in your job?

For me, it’s all about the people I work with and creating a space where we can all be creative, honest, and bold. I have also found that it is incredibly important for me to work towards a vision that I really believe in, a privilege I experience daily at Melta.

Last but not least is the golden rule of “connection before content” – I never start a day without a good check-in and a cup of coffee with my team mates.

 

What major learnings would you point out from your experience that have shaped you as a leader?

Human-centered design has really shaped the way I lead and innovate in my startup, along with the skillsets and methods of process facilitation. These have given me the tools to lead in a way that creates shared ownership of the work and the vision and enables the team to navigate whatever uncertainty and challenges we may face in a creative, empathic and explorative way. That being said, leading is learning, and I’m still figuring things out and making mistakes.

 

What is your biggest source for inspiration right now?

I am constantly inspired by the people around me, their values and principles, the way they navigate everyday life, their way of leading and storytelling and how they connect with people.

 

What would be an example of a learning or an experience from your time at Kaospilot that has been important to you?

Being a part of team 22 remains one of the defining experiences of my life. Sure, we had stellar lectures and I geeked out over the tools and methods (and I use them every single day in my work and personal life). But the real deal? The camaraderie and the collective journey we had as a team—learning from each other, growing together—that’s the stuff that’s been truly transformative for me.

 

What is a piece of advice that you would like to give future Kaospilot graduates?

There are so many things I’d like to say but I’ll try to keep it brief.

  1. Find what you’re passionate about and gives you joy and go out and contribute. Your unique skills are super duper needed in this world.
  2. If you read one thing, make it “Leverage Points” by Donella Meadows. It’s a game-changer.
  3. Among the truly inspiring people that lectured during my time at KP were Bliss Browne and Dougald Hine. Both shared an idea that’s been a kind of north star for me. While they each put their own spin on it, the core message was pretty clear: Do genuinely good work, not cool work. When cool is the goal, you limit you and your team’s ability to be authentic, creative, playful and vulnerable. Cool is exclusive and temporary, it can’t survive in this world so save yourself the heartache of pursuing it. Instead, aim for good. Good is great.

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