Our Inspiration

It is always nice to add perspective and get additional insights in order to either add confidence to your ideas, or be exposed to new ideas and learn new things. Talking to people, observing and studying patterns can do this – but reading books can be very inspiring too.

 We have been inspired by many books! But it is a jungle out there, with plenty of useful and inspiring books, that are worth your while and often has impact on your life – but there are even more relatively useless, conformable books that repeat the obvious, describing the status quo in a new angle and try to lure people in the name of making money.

 Inspiring people and books will never have a ’full solution’ or ’recipe’, because all people and situations are different, but they can normalise ideas you perhaps already had, but felt quite alone with. Their authors can also put words on thoughts and feelings you have had, but wasn’t entirely aware of. 

 There are just these books that does the trick for you and your special situation, while others find them too basic, however, if they work for you and give you meaningfulness – who cares?

 In the hope that more people will be inspired by what inspired us (because we really do think that these books and ideas are quite awesome), we would like to share a couple of ideas for books that might have the potential to enlighten and make an impact.


Our favorite books

The first series of books acted like some kind of ‘Foundation Builder’, going into the basic values as a human being, and how taking care of people to the best of ones ability and focusing on people as the strongest asset in the business is the most important thing. It could sound like the most natural thing, but it is not. You see it in the way people are drowned in processes and procedures, to substitute the lack of trust in your people with micromanagement and control.

The second series of books are more into the details and perspectives of something that we had to learn, and had a somewhat more practical use.

Many of these are of course Sidsel’s reading and reflections, but everyone in the team has the possibility to write about their inspiration, if their heart flows over with a warm recommendation.

We will update our blog with our recommendations in the coming weeks and months.

The List in Chronological Order


Rettidig Omsorg ('Caring Leadership’) by Jens Moberg

The first book that made an impact was the book by Jens Moberg, and his book acted to somewhat confirm that it was possible with a different approach to the quite extensively used management style where you have ‘power over your people’ and thereby get them to do what you ask. And the book also confirmed that it could actually be quite good for business to care extensively for your people. 


Primadonnaledelse by Helle Hedegaard Hein

The second book that has actually had a very significant impact on my life and how I want to work in the remaining part of my life is the book by Helle Hedegaard Hein called Primadonnaledelse. Translated, it means Leadership of Divas – as in e.g. the opera singers, or basically any person who loves what they do so much, that it forms a strong inner drive, a call. These are all highly specialised people and can be teachers, police, nurses, doctors, lawyers, scientists and all the others that are better ignited by inner motivation than outer motivated.

 The study was based on observing the artists at the Royal Danish Opera for a number of years, and with a scientifically sound basis, she investigated what it actually is that ignites people. What is it that gives a kick – and can you really be happy in your work? And if you can, why not work towards being happy at work?

Her findings and definition of the different motivation profiles helped me to better understand what actually motivates me in my work, making a difference and together with other awesome scientists striving towards something bigger than ourselves. In reality, most people probably wants this in their lives. So why not try to make it happen?

 Helle Hedegaard Hein is ambitious and questions the way we organise our work in our societies and challenges to be more conscious about how we, by better understanding our individual motivation profiles, could get more happy highly specialised people doing more meaningful work?

 She is available for workshops and inspirational talks via this link:


And here is a case about her work in Norwegian



UNBOSS by Lars Kolind and Jacob Bøtter

This one gets the warmest recommendation! And this is basically the foundation which ExploCrowd is built on.

Much of it is presented in this brief video with Lars Kolind:

You can read about the UNBOSS book, and how it has had a great significance for how we have built our company with regards to how we are building The Unlimited Organisation.





Follow Me by Kim Kristiansen

“Love your people”

More descriptions coming soon.



Dreams & Details by Jim Hagemann Snabe and Mikael Trolle.

If you want to fasttrack your organisation to become a motivated and powerful force, ready to adapt to the future changes - look no further.
These gentlemen know their work, based on years and years of experience, where they have proven results with this approach.

You can learn more here, hire them to help you through their Dreams & Details Academy.

Watch this video with half of the team, Jim Hagemann Snabe, for a quick introduction




Start With Why by Simon Sinek

The Culture Map by Erin Meyer

Building an Unlimited Organisation

Recently, I was doing a live interview for a Podcast on a stage in front of 150+ people. That was quite an intense experience, and time went really fast as it does when you are ‘in the zone’. But there were two things I regretted not having included: the first thing is how hard and challenging it actually is to start up a company. It is not just a walk in the park, and I completely forgot to share the honest story about what it feels like being in a Rollercoaster on Warp Speed, with disappointments, successes, patience and stamina. And how to keep the team motivated while staying focused on the vision.

The second thing I wanted to share is how we are doing on our mission to build an Unlimited Organisation:

Some years ago, I was reading an inspiring book that made me want to test a new way of working. The book UNBOSS is written by the seasoned business leader Lars Kolind and the self-built disrupter Jacob Bøtter, and the feeling I got when I read the book was “Yes! Finally someone who agrees with my thoughts on efficient organisations and leadership!”. The Core of the UNBOSS view of the Unlimited Organisation is described below.

UNBOSS The Unlimited Organisation.png

Working in the quite conservative oil industry, it would be a challenge to test the theories, so when I was losing my regular job and started up ExploCrowd, a new world of possibilities laid open.


Hence, we wanted to challenge the traditional paradigm “Knowledge is power” and chase the idea that by seeing each other as business partners rather than competitors and share knowledge, we could exponentially increase the knowledge base and thereby value creation within and between our companies. According to the authors of UNBOSS; when the average amount of relations in an organisation is increased by 20% the value creation in the organisation is increased by 40%. Adding a new strategic collaboration partner adds new competence and new business opportunities to all of us.

So we started out on a quest with a vision to build an efficient science and technology based unlimited organisation, with a network structure and underpinned by modern collaboration technology.

And we have come far: we have now accomplished creating a team of people and companies that cover expertise that reach far beyond what is the usual set of skills of competencies that are usually found in an exploration team. By working together and integrate our interdisciplinary knowledge, we can reach much further, and faster.


The obvious advantage to clients with too little time is that we have had time to integrate our work, think and come up with new ideas. Through efficiently transferring this knowledge to clients, we and our collaboration partners enable clients to move faster and set their ambitions higher.

But what is the motivation for people and companies to join forces in an Unlimited Organisation?

Access to new data, competence, and opportunities to test theories, validate them and develop new products and ways of working for the industry are just a few. Helping each other, sharing strategic information and open new doors for each other is another. By working together in a flexible network, and through our shared passion for science, we are able to reach further.

Could this be The Future of Work? The future of business?

Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas on this. I’d be happy to enter a dialogue about positive and negative sides of the Unlimited Organisation. We are all ears.

Why Regional Integrated Studies?

In a perfect world, all exploration teams would work on comprehensive regional studies integrating all relevant data - and documenting the Data Quality, Methodology, Interpretation Confidence and Study Results in details.


Due to significant workload and limited resources, this is unfortunately rarely the case. More often, most necessary data is included and documentation cannot be prioritised because the explorationists need to rush off to the next very important task. The result is often that the background information about which data formed basis for the study, together with the level of confidence, sits with the individual geologist, and when they move out of the exploration team, the knowledge, insights and confidence is lost. And this is rarely satisfactory for anyone involved, to be honest.

Regional Study Reports.png

Reports are vital

… as exploration is all about confidence

This is the main reason why new regional studies are started again and again, and many not completed because new focus areas and priorities put an end to the comprehensive work.

What we in ExploCrowd have set out to do is to build the foundation and document it ‘once and for all’ to provide a basis one can trust, with documentation of where we have good confidence - and where interpretations are conceptual in order to complete regional maps.

This way, much of the work required is already done, and an exploration team can take the study, hit the ground running, update it with their own knowledge and push their ambitions further.

For now, Barents Sea Studies are complete, and we are a few months away from completing our North Sea Study covering South Viking Graben, Utsira High and Stord Basin with full documentation of everything.


Having these regional studies available opens up for a whole new range of possibilities, as it is possible to carve out individual elements and make tailor-made solutions for client needs. This could for example be fault polygons for the Top Pre Zechstein//Basement level or the Top Jurassic Level in the South Viking Graben-Utsira High area, oil expulsion maps from the Petroleum System Analysis or a regional map of integrated spectral decomposition geotiffs integrated with well observations and structural geology? It could also be a well database, built in the IC software, which can be used as a basis for building a high-confidence company well database?

Having worked through the details of these studies also provide exceptional level of detail to the regional insights, which again forms the perfect foundation for Farm In Advisory or Strategic Advise on possible Seismic Acquisition - and the studies forms a perfect starting point for exclusive tailormade studies integrating proprietary data.

And then comes the prospects, both those in open acreage and licenced areas.

Basically, having these studies available and thoroughly documented opens up for adding new collaboration partners who can add value to existing studies by adding their expertise, and the possibility to test even more business models.

Much more on this in the weeks to come…

High Performance Leadership Inspiration

In November, I treated myself an inspiring day about High Performance Leadership at Copenhagen Business School.

The Scandinvian countries are already frontrunners and role models in terms of Modern Leadership Models (moving away from Power over People plus Money as External Motivation and moving towards Meaningful Work as Inner Motivation), and the CBS Executive branch had worked together with High Performance Institute to create this day to inspire top executives in Denmark, and the participant list was rather impressive.

The day in November at CBS was featuring some of my ‘Leadership Superheroes’ and I was especially looking forward to see Kasper Holten, Claus Meyer and Kim Kristensen on stage. Furthermore, I was going to have a chat with Mikael Trolle, one of the authors of Dreams and Details. Only if Jakob Bøtter, Lars Kolind and Helle Hedegaard Hein been there, had the day been even more perfect. They had selected Paula Larrain to run the show and ask the challenging questions - and she is such a competent, unafraid and strong person, that success was guaranteed.

What I find especially interesting about High Performance Leadership is the integration of the experience from arts, sports, business and science, as shown below.

It is about purpose and passion and to use all of the above to set the framework to allow people to unfold their full potential. It is about that true leadership is not about power - it is instead a deep fascination and curiosity about other people.

Below, you will find the main take-aways from the day at Copenhagen Business School. I hope you get inspired too.

// Sidsel


This man is a Colonel and is the main administrator and planning coordinator for the Danish Queen. He has prepared for war and lead soldiers in combat in the most dangerous part of Afghanistan, and he has written a book called Follow Me. Recommended reading.

You would think that his message would be rather ‘military in style’, however, this was mostly about trust, loving and caring for your people. In his opinion, a leader must have the World’s greatest caring instinct, tell the people why they have to do what they do. He basically tells you to love your colleagues and emplyees, and when asked what you do about the people that you don’t really like he responded: “Then you love them even more - and the really difficult ones, you love them more than they can handle”.

Kim Kristensen.png

He talked about how true leadership is to take the heavy backpack from those challenged on that day, walk ahead and say “Follow me”, rather than standing in the back and let the employees take the beating. The latter will never be followed.

Kim also talked about how important it is to be reactive in crisis and take action, show initiative and do something - otherwise the leaders lose credibility. The main challenge in business, in his view, is that decisions are not being made.

His best advise for those Elements that Impacts the outcome of the battle are the following:

  • Create the unique Strategy

  • Train as you fight

  • Set the Dream Team

  • Prepare People to Lead: two levels up - two levels down

  • Focus on Team Spirit, Coherence and Culture

  • Make decisions - take responsibility

  • Be yourself, 100%. Be authentic.

The way he prepares his people for the best performance possible is training, training and training. He is training his people to expect chaos, to know the strengths and weaknesses of each other and to be there for each other when it is needed.

His book Follow me is highly recommended, and you can get a taste in this video:.


Kasper was made Director of the Danish Royal Opera when he was only 26 years old, and between 2011 and 2017 he was Director of Opera for the Royal Opera House in London. He is working closely with the artists, attracting the best talent (with little money) and always searching for the best performance. The one that touches the hearts and souls of the audience.

It is much easier for us leaders to have a conformable organisation.

But bloody hell, it would be boring.

As new Director of at the Royal Danish Theatre he doesn’t have budgets that enables him to compete for international top talent. So he has to offer something else: he has to offer meaning and direction that releases creativity. He has to attract top talent by creating a sense of purpose and make the organisation blossom. If he doesn’t, then the A-talents will leave them and then they would be left with the B-talents… and when they are leaving, the organisation is left with the C-talents.

Kasper Holten.png

Helle Hedegaard Hein wrote her book “Primadonnaledelse” (Leading Divas) based on her studies in the Royal Danish Theatre, and Kasper Holten had brought one of the talented opera singers that he works with, to do a live performance of Primadonna leadership on stage. It was a fantastic experience! He coached her while talking about his experiences, the why’s and how he plants the seeds (the direction and concept) and the organisation follows up, grows ideas, train, tests and find the right direction towards the goal of The Best Performance.

It is much about how to create the trust and feeling of safety, to let the opera singers be able to let go and achieve top Performance. It’s about when the organisations “ignites” - or when it loses it’s fire.

“Now, your eyes lit up!”

If you are curious to learn more about Kasper Holten and his leadership philosophy, you can watch this interview on the topic Future of Work.


A politician, Søren Pind, was also there, and he talked about how this is now The Era of the Finance People: the era of budgets to keep and the bucket of money to increase. There is too much focus on Process and not Results. But this leadership model is outdated, and the most important thing to focus on is how to set people free.

He might have a point there, and as he said, you cannot plan and control your way out of the challenges that lies ahead. Highly skilled and smart people are needed in the right positions, and they need to be set free.


At a young age, this man decided to disrupt and improve the Danish kitchen (or what you would name it in the 1980’ies). And he did. Together with talented people he has positively impacted the life of every Dane - just through setting a direction and inspiring others to follow him. He was the man behind NOMA and now has an empire of engaged employees and happy customers.

Some of us hopes that he decides to enter Norway too, to accelerate the Food Revolution here.

“You never know what happens when you take the step and make your way into a project of great beauty"!”

Claus Meyer has the kind of energy that flows from the stage and goes straight into your heart, and he explained about how he, in his youth, was taught by his French Pére de Cuisine that he should find out what he loved to do - and then go for it!

Claus Meyer.png

“Le bonheur c’est savoir ce que l’on veut et le volouir passionnement. Mon fils, quoi que tu fasses, il faut que tu aimes!”.

Happiness is to know what you want to do, and then doing it passionately. My son, what you should end up doing in the future, it has to be what you love doing"!”

He was explaining about the joy about working together with awesome people, how companies are statements, and how to attract idealists and send them off on an adventurous journey.

He told about unfolding the potential of people, about dreams, about purpose, sense of meaningfulness and more love. Claus also explained about building a strong culture with the longing after something to be proud of - and how to unfold the potential of people and have fun at the same time.

So… what do you love, and where do you want to have an impact and make a change?

Claus explained how they didn’t really have a plan, but they wanted to have an impact and change something. And they did.


Those two gentlemen were not exactly on stage on the CBS Executive day in November, but they make an important part of the story. They are and have both been part of the High Performance Leadership education at CBS, and they have written a book about a Leadership Model that provides the important tools that has the potential to change organisations and make them ready for the future.

Dreams And Details.png

It is the positions and experience of Mikael Trolle and Jim Hagemann Snabe, that they have proven that this Leadership Model delivers results, that convinces me that this book is only the beginning of a Paradigm Shift in leadership models used across many industries.

Mikael Trolle is using his background within coaching sports teams and years of experience as a senior executive to develop a unique expert knowledge on what it takes in High Performance Leadership. His results, leadership experience and his ability to communicate around leadership has made him one of the most recognized leaders in the world of sports.

Jim Hagemann Snabe has his background within the IT industry. In 2010 Jim Hagemann Snabe was appointed co-CEO alongside Bill McDermott.  Together they successfully reinvented the software giant SAP from 2010 to 2014. Through his involvement with the World Economic Forum Jim is actively engaged in efforts related to the Digital Transformation of business and society. Jim is now chairman of A.P. Møller, which is one of the most respected and renowned companies in Denmark. Appointing him as Chairman of the Board sets an ambition for where the old organisation is going.

Here is an extract from the book - we’ll be writing our own, later.

Review Extract from Dreams and Details Website by Nik Gowing

Leaders at all levels are struggling to grip the new scale of global disruption.

Strategic assumptions are being turned on their head, sometimes daily or even hourly. The conformity which qualified leaders for the top in too many ways disqualifies them from embracing the scale of what now has to be understood, embraced then acted upon.

For many, the scale of change needed is beyond the kind of professional challenge they relish or even understand. It is not just uncomfortable: instead the evidence is that it is driving at least anxiety and in reality often deep fear.

Dreams and Details is an important book that help defines new thresholds of anxiety for leaders. It sets out to encourage those leaders by urging them to assess frankly their strengths and frailties, then re-define their capacities. In this way, there is a far better chance they will be able to re-invent themselves and survive, instead of being offloaded in summary fashion by a disillusioned board or governing council under pressures from shareholders or stakeholders.

For every leader the new challenge is how to disrupt all their assumptions about what leadership requires these days. It is about re-framing every way in which they assume they have to work. Snabe and Trolle argue that at the moment, too many just ‘paint over the rust’ and hope dark issues will just vaporise. ‘ Apparent success hides a crisis’. Ultimately – as with Kodak, Motorola or Nokia – ‘even the biggest become disrupted and irrelevant’.

In summary it is about ‘Goodbye Business Plan’, say Snabe and Trolle. Plans ‘rarely create the needed change’. So leaders ‘have to undo all they believed was right’. Yes! Business Plans are a conformist distraction.

‘Goodbye Business Plan’ captures their blunt and radical message of a new need for non-orthodoxy. It will be a struggle for most leaders, probably a painful one. Why so? ‘Change is hard – radical change is even harder’, they write. ‘The more detailed plans we make, the more defensive we become.’

If you are already now curious and inspired, you can learn more via the links below:

Main take-aways from the High Performance Day at CBS in November in this video.

Review of books that have inspired us at ExploCrowd is coming up in other Blog Posts. We would love if you would comment and share.

Observations and Reflections on Colour Palettes for Maps

Visualisation and personal preferences dominate the geoscientists favorite chosen colourbar. However, science can actually help us to guide our work, and we have put some thought into our choise of colour palettes for our regional structure maps to best represent the structures and avoid visually generating features that are not there.

Depth and thickness maps are represented by sequential data, and a reliable way to visualize sequential data is with a colour scale that continually increases or decreases a brightness ramp or a hue ramp.

This is shown in the example of the Perceived Lightness Graph for a perceptual palette, where you can see how the color lightness is perceived by the human eye closely correlates to a sequential dataset.

Perception of Colour.png

'Rainbow' or 'spectral' color palettes are not perceptual pallettes in the sense that the perceived values do not necessarily match the data variation. An interpreter should be aware that this color palette can introduce perceived thresholds and contrasts in the map where non exists in the data. It should also be noted that this palette can reduce the emphasis on details that are present in the underling data. Most of the issue with this palette is due to the use of bright colors (yellow, green and cyan) on non-extreme positions of the scale, this introduces perceived sharp transitions as shown in the example with the Perceived Lightness Graph for the ‘Rainbow’ Palette.

The default time or depth 'rainbow' palettes used by DUG InsightTM is used in our daily work . For final depth maps in reports, a modified version of 'rainbow' palette is used where the red and yellow colors have been switched positions on the scale. This minimizes to some extent the issues and limitations described on the above paragraph.

A simple comparison of both colour palette used is shown in the example.

Comparing Colour Palettes.PNG

Our Values

Our values are trust, integrity and transparency. Here is what they mean to us.



Trust is the basis for everything that we do. This is the basis for how we work in the team, this is how we work with our business partners and clients. If they didn’t trust us to act in their best interest, we would not have the same possibilities that we have today.

Our contributors trust us to commercialise the work that they do for us, and they take the risk because they trust us. In the team, we trust each other and are confident that there is always someone there to have your back, to catch you should you fall. Trust add strength to the team and to the business.

Trust. It takes long time to build it. It takes a second to breach it beyond repair. We are very conscious about this.


In our view, integrity is the most valuable you own as a human being. If you don’t have integrity, and do the right thing, then you have nothing left because no one will trust you again. Those are strong words, but this is important.

Scientific integrity is the basis for our work. Being respectful to others and open minded about other opinions and world views is also part of our core.



Transparency is reflected in the way we document our science, to clearly communicate the detail and highlight the uncertainties. It is also reflected in our every day work, where all information is shared with the team. It takes time and effort to communicate, but it engages and gives direction. If everybody know all that is going on in the business, everyone are empowered to work towards the target, in the best interest of the company and everyone in it. Furthermore, by sharing all information and involve the entire team, you can select from a wide range of ideas and use different opinions to navigate on the best course - make the best decisions.

Transparency is also reflected in the sense that everyone knows what everyone in the Core Team get’s paid. Because it is the same. This enforces the trust and also the integrity, that everyone knows that they are treated equally, fairly and with respect.

Our Values.png


How We Work Consciously to use Diversity as a Competitive Advantage

We are convinced that a diverse team is a competitive advantage, and we do all we can to ensure that we don’t think the same way. Diversity to us is difference in experience, mindset, cultural background, age, gender, company cultures and even personality. If we hired people with only one personality type, how would we then be able to look out for all opportunities?

McKinsey also argues and document that companies managed by diverse teams in terms of ethnicity, culture and gender has a 33% higher chance of outperforming companies managed by conformable teams (probably with the same world view and mind set). See documentation below.


The way we do it in practice is to have established a company culture based on respect for people, regardless of cultural background, a company culture that is curious and based on the sound belief that everyone has something to contribute with, being it of scientific nature, but especially also sharing world views based on travels and own experience from the different countries we lived in. With us and our collaboration partners you will find people from many continents; UK, Norway, Iraq, Sweden, Nigeria, Czech Republic, US, Brazil, Russia, Denmark, France, Belgium and Italy.

One of our core values is TRUST, and based on this everyone are encouraged to speak up - especially if they are curious about something, or thinks something is wrong or unfair. Especially if you are young. And everybody in ExploCrowd listens, because they truly care. The immediate result of that is that everything is discussed in the team, it being global politics, history and religion, and this widens horizons and expands mind sets, because we all have something to learn from each other. We all have something to contribute with. This way, hierarchy is avoided to a large extent, and that strengthens the integrity of the organisation further, enabling it to respond to change and opportunities at a faster pace.

We plan to share our learnings, but will need more time to document and measure the performance results over some years. However, the financial results are a good indication that working consciously with diversity and a leadership philosophy optimised for the future, and it is going in the right direction.

If you need inspiration and practical advice to secure diversity in your own organisation, below you will find a description of how an international consultancy handled it.

McKinsey Report: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/delivering-through-diversity

Workforce Case: http://www.workforce.com/2018/07/19/gender-parity-in-the-workplace-is-possible-we-did-it-you-can-too/

How We Work

The way we are organised is that we have a Core Team, Contributors and Strategic Collaboration Partners.

Our Core Team is working in the day-to-day work, handling Data Management and Data Quality Assurance, documenting work done in reports with high quality drafting of figures and seismic interpretation. The Core Team consist mainly of early career geoscientists who learn fast and handle data and software efficiently. They work with the experts, providing data and integrating results, and taking part in all aspects of the business, thereby gaining valuable experience.

Our Contributors have long experience within the industry and work with us either part time or full time. The advantage for the Contributor is that they manage their own time and work with what they find interesting to work with, and they have the freedom to do what they find is the right thing. Working this way and contributing to an integrated high quality product is very motivating for this type of highly specialised self-driven, and the framework is optimised for flexibility and high performance.

Our Strategic Collaboration Partners provide services and have competence and expertise that make us in ExploCrowd move faster and reach further. An example is Estimages who has velocity models of high quality already made, and with our interpreted regional horizons their Depth Conversion models are even more accurate. We could not achieve this ourselves, within ExploCrowd, but by collaborating and creating win-win situations, this is good business for both parties.


This way we have created an agile organisation with high degree of empowerment and optimised for cost-efficient use of industry leading expertise. The way of working is highly scalable, and can be fitted to increased work load from client projects.


The ExploCrowd Team is racing together, sailing regattas on Wednesdays as often that time allows.

When racing, it is the teamwork and the good spirit on the boat that matters. It is about full concentration, adrenalin and being able to respond quickly to threats and opportunities. It is about optimising the performance on each individual on the boat, train together to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of each other so everyone instinctively know where they can contribute when something goes wrong. Because something always goes wrong, such as a sail that could be trimmed a little better a twisted spinnaker, and you have to be prepared for that through ‘training for chaos’.

On certain boats, you can have someone at the helm shouting at the crew, but usually the outcome is bad spirit on the boat and a poor performance - however, to us the road to the target is the priority. It is more important than reaching the target with all means necessary, living up to one of our core values that is integrity.

It is never the person on the helm winning the races. One person can never do it alone. It is when all team members are equal, focused on performance, communicate well, are on the outlook for opportunities and better wind - that is when the boat is performing best. It is when you get the perfect tack, that you feel team satisfaction and little touch of happiness. It is worth fighting for.

We have no problem admitting that we are not top three, and we probably don’t want to pay the price of being there in time and money, but we are there when the competition make mistakes - and we’ll race in StavangerSeilasen Business as defending champions, doing our best to win the beautiful trophy and have it to stay in our office for the next year too.


The Tale of The Orange Colour

The graphical design profile of ExploCrowd is rather clear, with the orange circle symbolising collaboration, and the orange colour highlighting what is important while keeping the rest of the information in black or greyscale. This is an efficient way of communicating, and we observe several companies changing their graphical profile lately.

This is the story of where our orange colour come from.

Many years ago, when we were sailing in the Maersk Sailing Club, we were not impressed by the fact that most of the sailing clothes available was either black or dark blue. If you end up in the water, it is impossible to see you in the big waves, and since we were coming from the oil business, which has a strong safety culture, we were trying to find sailing clothes with safety colours, without much luck.

After a few years, the sailing gear brand Musto started their Fire Orange line, but most regretfully only produced Extreme Offshore Sailing Gear with face protection and such. And we can’t really defend Volvo Ocean Race style for extreme weather equipment while sailing within the Norwegian fjords. We did, however, purchase a couple of bright orange windbreakers for sailing.

We had purchased an old 26 foot Albin Express from 1980, which should be used for sailing regattas outside Stavanger. The old lady was ‘cigarette coloured white’ and had about 300 holes from different owners and equipment solutions over the years - and it needed a massive overhaul. The holes were fixed and top painted white - and then the rest of the boat looked horrible. The solution was to foil the sailing boat in a dark grey ‘stealth’ colour. Out of practical purposes. And it worked really well. We also decided to paint the tiller orange, to highlight what is important when you are sometimes running around the sail boat when handling both ropes and being on the helm - and the orange colour made sure that it was somehow always within focus. It turned out to be really efficient.

When starting up the new ExploCrowd Company, the orange colour was chosen to highlight what was important, and tone down less important details with a greyscale. The graphical profiles has changed through time, simplifying and strengthening the layout, as it will do, when you get better ideas with time. It is a constant evolution. But now you know where our colours come from.


The Foundation

During the winter of 2016, when the downturn in the oil business had already begun and was felt through the exploration community, Sidsel was invited to give her view on the future of exploration on the NCS in a Dinner Speech on a conference in Oslo in May.

After the company ExploCrowd was established later in 2016, it became very clear that the reflections during these winter months formed a significant part of the foundation of the concept.

This is the Dinner Speech

“Exploration - Could we do more?”


Tonight, I wish to share my view of the future within exploration in Norway, what I think that we can expect of the years to come and then I’d like to share some ideas with you on new ways of working. This, in order to give a couple of answers to the question: could we do more? I’ll start by saying that I believe the future is bright, and there will be plenty for us to do when we have come through this downturn. The world is not yet ready to abandon oil completely, and it will take decades to develop technologies that realistically can replace this resource. Norway is in a good position, with strong authorities that are releasing new acreage little by little, thereby keeping jobs for generations. However, it might take a few years before we get back to a normal situation. If such a thing exists. In the meantime, let’s have a look at the current situation and see the opportunities.


How many here are feeling secure in their jobs now? 20%? 10%?

The situation is quite different from two years ago, and there are likely more than 80% of the explorationists here in Norway that are worried about their job, in this time where the number of E&P companies in Norway is decreasing. It is a pretty tough time, and that has significant impact on employee performance and loyalty, and that is something to be concerned about; especially when your passionate people become quiet. It will most likely mean that when times get better, many of us will join new employers – and by then, the competition for the best people will be fierce. So now would be a good time for companies to lay the groundwork to position themselves as attractive employers in the future. It will be much cheaper to invest in recruiting now than later, when all companies are chasing the best people to fill the empty seats.

There are many aspects in this situation that are not good, but can we somehow change our perspective and use it as an advantage? One of the important things that are happening now is that most of us are forced to evaluate our situation and consider opportunities and backup plans. This means that you now have hundreds of creative explorationists brought out of their comfort zone, open to change.

We should use this opportunity: bring people together in different settings and evolve ideas.


Around the globe, businesses are forced to prioritise, 250.000 oil jobs are already lost and many more jobs are highly insecure – including my own – and it is quite a serious situation for many people who are losing their life savings and their house. Most countries don’t have the social security net that Scandinavia has built, and the advantage for us is that we don’t have to worry about loosing everything we have and go live with our parents or other relatives. To be pragmatic, we are fortunate to live in this part of the world, and we should be using this as an advantage to get ahead in the global competition. We have an opportunity, like no one else, to be ready to hit the ground running when times get better – because we will be busy exploring and replacing reserves, to keep the income of Norway sustainable.



We are thinking the same thoughts and treading the same paths, as I see it. We are basically going after the same targets, and the stories I get from the different companies is that if you suggest to go for a non-standard play, you are often getting a ”No, that is not for us”. The industry itself is very conservative, which is in high contrast to most of the explorationists souls – so there has to be a balance, of course. But we might be too conservative, and bound by previous experience. And we are losing the young ones, those who are asking all the challenging questions. Training them should be top priority – but it is mainly the young generation that are losing their jobs right now! We need all levels of experience; both those with extensive experience that make sure we don’t repeat mistakes, and those young and daring who asks the difficult questions.

Think about the significant difference between us and the service industry. They are fighting to win projects, where we as oil companies are asking them to deliver at ’almost no cost’. We now know that many of the service companies are offering tenders that they do not earn money on. They are desperate. And the situation forces them to invent new and cheaper solutions. It is now, in a downturn, that new things are invented. But look at our situation: are there any of your managers that tell you to go and explore to find new ways of working and look into new and innovative technology in order to become better and to increase your chances for finding oil at this current price? Yes? No? We have drilled the easy targets, now comes the difficult ones, which requires us to do our best and think of new solutions to de-risk the prospects to meet company strategy. However, as I see it, the main part of us are all running in the same direction. When a new ’disruptive discovery’ is made, we are all running in that direction. When we get tired of that, we are all running in a new direction. All of us. I believe that we have to change our mind-set in this business; we are doing fine, but we can get better: if you are all the same, with the same experience, you think in the same way – and you are never challenged. We should challenge ourselves to see things in a different perspective.

Let me share a story with you: This happened to me last year: we were building a house – we designed it ourselves, and we designed the garage to look the same way as the house. You know: Danish design, symmetries and long views. The garage is quite big, actually 50% of the area of the house (my husband is an engineer, and he loves to build stuff, it is his passion – so it is actually not a garage, but a 50 squaremeter workshop). Anywas, I posted a picture of a 3D model of the house and co-existing garage on Facebook, and I got a very interesting question back: ”Is it an annex?”. And I thought that was a rather stupid question, as I thought that everyone could see it was a garage, completely blinded by the fact that I was so deep into this project that I couldn’t see what other people could see anymore. So I responded: ”No. It is a garage”. But then we started thinking... it was actually a really good question, because it would take an insignificant effort to make the garage liveable with a kitchen, pseudo-bathroom and a toilet – instead of moving to a rented house and live there. There were two upsides with that idea: to save more than 100.000 NOK and live at the build site, which would be extremely effective, since we did a big part of the house building ourselves – in order to save money. Hence, we deported our children to Denmark and my husband and I lived in a garage for three months. We did a lot of BBQ’ing that summer. And I learned an important lesson.

Bring in new views of the world, and demand people to ask questions and challenge your ideas and the way you work. Tell stories. Communicate better. Build bridges.

I believe in the value of diversity. This means both diversity in age, experience and culture. We need to see things from a different perspective and not always go after the same play.


As I see it, there are especially two areas that can have a significant impact – if we want to do more. We are at the age of sharing economies. Sharing knowledge is in the same league. We are competing against each other in order to find hydrocarbons, make money and save jobs. But this is such a complicated business, that we cannot all be experts in everything. I think strategic cooperation across competitive boundaries is the way forward. And here, I’m not talking about AMIs, I’m taking it further: I’m talking about strategic cooperation between companies, universities and relevant vendors to invent the next game changer, it being a new technology or way of working. An example could be if a company had a skilled team of geophysicists and they joined forces wih a company who had strong sedimentological expertise – and they decided to cooperate on a specific region? They could then bring in experts and vendors as needed. I think the ones who are able to build bridges and strong alliances will win this competition. In fact, we are already working together in many arenas; Norway has a long tradition for this, and we should use this to our advantage: in today’s market situation, we don’t have the luxury to wait till the storm passes. Think about licences you have worked in: there are the formal ones, where most of the communication goes through License2Share, and then there are these licences where the partners bring in their creative people with a genuine wish to make each other better. Those are just … more fun to work in, isn’t it? When you work together to achieve something? We see the same in the Force Structural Geology network group, where we have managed to have an open and informal forum where an engaged group of people are bringing ideas to the table, others are chipping in, letting the ideas evolve until we have something good to go ahead with. And those seminars and workshops have been sold out over the last years, so they are definitely getting something right. We even have more than one representative from several companies, because more people want to join the group and engage in the activities. Just recently, we had our yearly meeting in the Network Group. It was truly inspiring, because at that meeting, the group decided to actively make a difference in the current market situation:

We decided to significantly increase our activity level, lean in and offer even more networking opportunities for those who have a job, those who haven’t, and then newly graduated young people that we in the industry are about to loose. The group is worried about the competence that the business is loosing and want to do their best to secure continuity. There is an incredible willingness to step in and contribute – and we are fortunate to have those people in the industry, because they want to make a difference.


Based on this, I wonder if the time has come to take the cooperation further within our industry?

  • There has long been talk about de-risking entire areas by drilling stratigraphic wells, deep in basins where you have consistent data. This way, you have the opportunity to prove up areas where you have high risk on the petroleum system. Maybe we should join forces and increase our confidence in an area, either by confirming a working petroleum system or by proving that it does not exist – and then we can leave it behind and move on to more interesting areas.

  • Another idea could be to establish a low cost drilling campaign to test 10-15 targets and different trap types in one of the underexplored areas on the NCS, where you have little control on the pressure barriers and sealing capacities of faults. There are several areas on the shelf, where wells are not representative for the region, and the seismic is not giving any conclusive answers. Inventing new highly effective and low drilling cost wells, and join forces in a consortia might be beneficial for all of the partners?

However, those areas will be covered by different licenses, which implies some complexity. But think of how efficient this would be, moving us ahead instead of it taking years through the normal licensing process? The ‘Group Shoot Project’ related to the 23rd Round proves that companies can benefit from cooperation, and perhaps time has come for joining forces on de-risking areas with well penetrations? The rig rate is down to 150.000 USD/day and I have just heard of a well that was drilled safely within 10 days, offshore East Africa. It could be interesting to learn how they did this, and see if we could use some of their ideas and learnings?


Traditionally, the oil industry is a conservative business with many procedures in place for protecting people and the environment, but the tasks and mind-set of an explorationist is so much different than a production engineer or perhaps a HSE manager. Explorationists are more working against processes and procedures, because it sets limits to our creativity and creates linear thinking. We need free space to think, to connect the dots and develop our conceptual understanding, and that does not work optimally in a rigid organisation. … maybe the time has come to be even better at acknowledging this, than we are currently doing, and treat our explorationists even more as creative scientist and researchers? But why would we do this? Well, I have rarely seen anyone as passionate about their job as geologists. And you can clearly see which of the companies that have been successful to target this over the last few years; it is the new companies that attracts the best people, and especially Lundin, Tullow and Spike Exploration have had a reputation that wants people to work for them. Now times are changing, but we must not forget our people. And I am worried about the consequences of the short-term cost reductions that are going on right now… Looking at the long-term perspective; when the tide turns and the oil price goes up again, you want to be ready with an organisation that is set up for creativity and innovation, but that doesn’t just happen. It is about building trust and nurture a culture where ideas are growing and it is accepted to make mistakes and learn from them, but it takes time to build this trust. I have heard of many stories where the young people in the business tell about how they were told to hold back on their stupid questions. It is this exactly this thinking that brought Kodak, Nokia and Blackberry to the ground. No one should be told to hold back their stupid questions.

 Curious questions are what we need, in order to get ready for the future!

An example is the Barents Sea in the 80’ies. The pioneers drilled the courageous wells based on coarse gridded 2D seismic, but they were forced to test minimum economic field size – so they drilled down flank of the structures. Three decades later, with a higher oil price and 3D seismic, we are targeting 60 meters wide channel sands and karstified targets, based on frequency decomposition and all the details we can get from seismic data these days. Back in the 80’ies, they would never have imagined this technological giant step forward. Just like we don’t imagine them now. Our minds can’t just comprehend what will happen. ... but the next great big thing moving us forward will most likely come out of a stupid question that was asked at the right time: a good, or a crazy idea that wasn’t turned down, because it had been “tried before. Didn’t work”.


It is my hope that I have inspired you tonight, with new ideas and by connecting things in new ways. I also hope that you see the future of the Norwegian Continental Shelf as truly exciting – on the other side of this downturn – and there is a lot for us to do in the years to come.

In the meantime: stay open to be challenged and to explore beyond your own mind-set.