26 Jun #XynteoLife ‘When worlds collide’: how insights advisor Carl Frederik is bringing music to economics
Carl Frederik Kontny is passionate about making a difference in the world – through the mediums of both economics and music. Carl Frederik has been with Xynteo since 2011, starting his career as an intern during his studies, before joining us full time on our Insights team. When he’s not thinking about how to reinvent growth, Carl Frederik plays in the British-Norwegian band, Circumnavigate.
Carl Frederik studied energy economics, seeing this as one of the most powerful tools to sustainably manage scarce resources. The experience he gained during his internship at Xynteo led him to understand that capitalism can work for good, if private companies work purposefully. “Capitalism has had a drunk driver in its command,” Carl Frederik says, explaining that the narrow focus on traditional economic growth too often comes at the expense of our natural resources and the resulting economic wealth is too often unfairly distributed.
Most recently, Carl Frederik has been working on the Europe Delivers programme, which aims to mobilise European leaders to drive a new kind of economic growth for the continent.
He is optimistic about the future of Europe, highlighting market trends in renewable energy as giving hope for cheaper and cleaner energy and the ensuing societal benefits. “But is it happening quickly enough?” he asks.
Carl Frederik’s optimism also shines through in the music of his band, Circumnavigate. Having just released their debut album ‘When Worlds Collide’ in December, the Norwegian-British quartet was also behind the trailer soundtrack for ‘Almost Paris’, the directorial debut from Martin Scorsese’s daughter Domenica Cameron-Scorsese. “Music is incredibly important to engage the heart and the head,” says Carl Frederik, and this is especially true when it comes to films. What would any of Christopher Nolan’s movies be without the stirring scores from Hans Zimmer?
But how can we bring more heart into economics? Carl Frederik thinks that one step in the right direction could be to move away from putting so much emphasis on GDP as a measure of success and the short-term thinking present in both government and business. “The things that make our lives better are beyond what we produce – freedom, clean air and water,” says Carl Frederik. He cites New Zealand as an example of where this thinking is being brought to life – by assessing alternatives to GDP such as the OECD Better Life Index and the Happy Planet Index, New Zealand aims to be the first developed nation to factor these alternatives into a budget. Carl Frederik quotes Xynteo Exchange Norway speaker Julie Hanna from Kiva in his economic vision: “Imagine a world where businesses compete on being best for the world, and where that is precisely what makes them the best in the world”.
This is the fifth instalment of #XynteoLife, a monthly series which showcases a member of our team. Find our last one here.