Things have been developing fast and in unexpected directions in 2012 with new opportunities popping up around every corner. I am very grateful for all the amazing projects and fantastic people I've got an opportunity to work with.
It didn't start of too well, with one of my new clients going belly up, leaving me with unpaid work and a pretty empty schedule. Again. I had organized some workshops in January which gave me the opportunity of driving around Iceland fighting winter storms and heavy snow but at the same time enjoying the fantastic winter landscape and some of the most amazing northern lights I have seen.
I was soon getting very busy and March took me to ITB in Berlin and back to Iceland on a week long expedition where the mission was to put Nokia's prototype 41mpx camera phone to the ultimate test. You can see the results here:
The next thing I knew I was standing in the livingroom in the home of one of the world's most riddling minds asking him to bend a spoon for me with his mind power. Which he did. And then I was off to Uni in North Iceland to teach innovation and product development. At the same time the second season of Game of Thrones was aired on TV where I was playing a Wildling, one of the free people North of the Wall.
Yep, that's me grabbing Qhorin Halfhand in the fight. An unforgettable moment in film history ;)
The presidential elections in Iceland were coming up and I got another unexpected opportunity. A friend of mine decided to run for office and all of a sudden I was one of her advisors and running her social media campaign. I got the opportunity to work with a lot of fantastic, inspiring people and though we didn't manage to win, we got the best results any candidate has ever got against a sitting president in Iceland. Thora is a clever young woman who doesn't let anyone tell her what she can and can't do. Among other things, she had her third baby in the middle of the campaign. Her campaign grabbed international media attention with at one point the NRK from Norway, RTL from Germany and the BBC simultaneously following her with TV-cameras whereever she went. Though we didn't win I know her running was an inspiration for women around the world and I am proud to have been a part of that.
I was asked to give a few talks on the role of social media in the branding of Iceland through crisis. Iceland has not only managed to stay put through an economic collapse, an earthquake and two volcanic eruptions but has actually seen the travel industry booming like never before. I gave a talk at Emmerson College in Boston and at a place branding conference in Jönköping in Sweden where I met another interesting speaker who was talking about "The Capital of Scandinavia", Julian Stubbs.
Julian runs *UP There, Everywhere, a global cloud based agency sepcializing in among other things place branding. After a talk we had in August he decided to offer me to join UP, a network of now 130 marketing specialists in 19 countries. I decided to jump on the opportunity and take it all the way. The morning after I had ordered a container and put my house up for rent. I was moving to Copenhagen now focusing on international clients and place branding, seeing the possibilities of landing my dream projects as a part of UP, offering me the ability to put together the perfect team of experts for any project. It was a bit crazy moving that fast with all the kids finding schools, a home, ballet school and a swimming team within 3 weeks, but well doable once we put our mind to it. Of course it helps having lived here before. We are loving it here in Copenhagen and I am now working on place branding projects for East Greenland and the city of Oslo as well as doing branding work for a world leading cancer diagnostics company in Denmark.
I feel extremely fortunate to be able to work on projects where I wake up excited every morning. With a clear vision of where I was heading, I have been working hard for years to build up a strong network opening up for new opportunities. It's been a long road with many projects, quite a few mistakes but great successes inbetween - and a very patient wife. I couldn't have asked for a more exciting project porffolio than I had this year. The next milestones to reach is to finish my book and get it published, and secure funding for my 2014 "Last Viking in America" film project.
I have a feeling 2013 is going to be a fantastic year. I hope the new year will bring you exciting opportunities and the courage to grab them.
I wish you a beautiful Christmas and a fantastic new year!
Thank you all for being a part of my awesome network!