Marte Sootholtet is the general manager of Impact StartUp Norway.

She is a Kaospilot and has 10 years of experience from the social innovation and startup scene and has extensive experience as a project manager and service designer on a number of development projects in the public and private sector.

Which team and when did you graduate?

KP team 2 Norge

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

After I got my feet dirty in the mud in the festival industry working with sustainablity and audience engagement for a few years I went as a quest to setup the first Impact Hub in Norway. I failed elegantly but built a good network through our prototyping style Popup Hub in vacant store fronts in Oslo.

I met my life copilot at the 15 year KaosPilot anniversary, together we started a small experience design and facilitation agency, had two kids and married.

A few years back I was given the responsibility to take an originally Danish program run by Den Sociale Kapitalfond to Norway under the umbrella of our Norwegian owners Ferd Social Entrepreneurs. Now we are running startup accelerator programs, cultivating public sector collaborations with startups and working to bring more investors into the social impact investor space in Norway. The venture is closely connected in a Nordic network with partner-organisations in Sweden, DK and Finland.

What is important for you in your job?

As CEO I need to connect my day to day job to a larger purpose of changing the dynamics of how we do business in a more sustainable way, or as we put it in Impact StartUp: “with positive societal impact”. If I can see each stone we lift being a part of a bold and needed change, it fuels me with massive energy and force.

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

The balancing act of striving for excellence when knowing that “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” I keep circulating back to these topics of imperfection, vulnerability and courage as vital ingredients in starting up new ventures, relating to people and leading oneself and others. I can’t say that I am succeeding in converting insights related to this all of day every day, but I sure know I feel it in my gut as inconsistency when I’m out of touch with it.

What is your biggest source for inspiration right now?

The field of Impact Management has has really caught my interest in the past years. It’s rapidly growing as one of several good answers to the question – How can we change deeply rooted assumptions, practices and systems on how we assess, rapport on and improve value as business? It’s long overdue to only measure success in financial performance. Daily we see startups, investors and large corporations who are gathering around new practices to account for positive and negative impacts on social and environmental issues.

Another great tip I got from my forever go to podcast by Brene Brown is Ted Lasso, a comedy series packed with so much teaching on leadership and the strangeness of people.

Whoever comes are the right people

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

Our team process when choosing destination for our Outpost in the second year, gave me hard felt teaching about the messiness of decision making. We did all the mistakes in the book as to how to align a large team, and I personally learned a lot about dos and donts when wanting to influence people. (In Norway we where given the task to figure out a destination as a team). How do you make a right decision or any decision at all in a team of 40 people, when everybody wants to influence but only 50% show up to exercise it? In this particular case you will hardly find any answers in Open Space Technology principle nr 1 «Whoever comes are the right people”

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

Know the numbers!

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