Meet Karete Kristoffersen – new Stavanger leader

On the future of leadership and a region in transformation

With a genuine passion for leadership and a vision for what EGGS Stavanger 3.0 can be, she has been leading the team for the past five months. We met her for an interview to hear her views on what good leadership means and what challenges and opportunities she sees in the region.

Karete, you’re genuinely passionate about leadership and its future. What does it mean to you?

“I believe that leading is something you do, not something you are. I’m a leader because I lead by supporting and challenging people, not because I have the title of director. It's what you do, how you do it, and your conscious presence with people that matter. As a leader going forward, finding a balance between developing people and developing the business is essential."

“Historically, leaders have been managers, focusing mostly on business and very little on the people who make up the organization. That way of leading is completely outdated.”
Karete Kristoffersen, Regional Director, EGGS Stavanger

"Also, I believe it’s essential to be able to lead with a clear vision and purposeful goals. The future needs leaders who can communicate visions while focusing on both head, heart, and body. Change is constant and will only become more frequent and faster in the future.”

You’re an experienced innovator and have worked with large organizations like IKEA before EGGS. What are your best tips for companies who want to become more innovative?

”Again, it’s about leadership. If management and board aren’t open to engaging others in the organisation and believe they always have all the right answers themself, it’s impossible to innovate. You need to pay close attention to your people, be present, keep an overview and lead with more than your head. Make sure people feel safe, heard, and trusted. Let go of the need for control, ask more questions instead of giving all the answers, and learn about the systems and culture in the organization. It’s also important to remember that being creative isn’t an exclusive trait of designers. Everyone can be creative – it's not a profession; it's a mindset. Of course, some roles might focus on creating new ideas and offerings, and others on running business, but everyone needs to be involved in one way or another.”

“It’s important to remember that being creative isn’t an exclusive trait of designers. Everyone can be creative – it’s not a profession, it’s a mindset.”
Karete Kristoffersen, Regional Director, EGGS Stavanger
For Karete, the opportunities where design can help transform businesses are endless. She says: “Working with change processes is something we are experts on as designers and innovators. Design methods are excellent tools for identifying new opportunities, services, and products and ensuring that we balance people and business needs.”

What pitfalls are there when working with innovation?

”I think the most common ones involve having a desire to have full control. It gets you stuck in cemented ways of thinking, and you're unable to see new possibilities. A need for control is often connected to strong hierarchies or a culture with a strong focus on business delivery instead of developing people. That makes people have a short-term focus and be afraid of making mistakes, which makes it incredibly hard to innovate. How would you dare to try something new in an unsafe environment where you might be punished for failing?”

You’re now leading our EGGS Stavanger 3.0 office. In what direction are you going?

”We’re growing a lot, and we will become a new generation of EGGS Stavanger, version 3.0! These past months, we've focused on recruiting to expand our team, which we will continue doing. Our goal is to be 20 people in Stavanger by next Autumn, which also means planning for taking over the whole top floor of the building. I feel very strongly about living up to EGGS' ambition to be the world's best workplace for creative people. Here in Stavanger, we’re working on that by focusing on developing a culture with present and conscious people who all want to contribute to creating lovable futures.

Building the team also requires considering the market landscape around us, and in Stavanger, there's no doubt that we will have a strong focus on working with various types of transformation. It’s a region with many established players that need help with complex innovation and transformation processes.”

What are the main challenges and opportunities you see in Stavanger?

”Stavanger has been a centre for the Norwegian oil industry for 50 years – as long as I have lived! There's a sense of urgency to create a new beginning and move faster towards a green transformation, but also to build on the immense existing competence and heritage.”

“Harnessing the legacy and working with transformation without losing valuable knowledge and economic potential is complex but necessary.“
Karete Kristoffersen, Regional Director, EGGS Stavanger

“But there are also many other challenges outside the energy sector. The health sector is a great example where there are many complex challenges and opportunities to design better, more inclusive, and effective services. What all these challenges have in common is that they involve transformation of both people and businesses on different levels.”

Last but not least, what does good leadership mean to you?

“Leadership is a discipline of its own, but I believe it can be a discipline for all, not only formal leaders. We all lead ourselves, people, and tasks from time to time. Good leadership boils down to seeing the big picture, being present, asking the right questions, and giving clear direction whenever necessary. You need to be genuinely interested in people, their thoughts, and behaviour to do that. Good leadership also means being inspiring, engaged, conscious and adapting to different situations and people. No team, project, or organisation are the same.”

Sounds interesting?

Karete Kristoffersen

Have a chat with our Director of EGGS Stavanger
Karete Kristoffersen
+47 976 57 723

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