Nixucon23 – What inspiration, collaboration, and meaningful impact look like 

Nixu Blog

August 31, 2023 at 10:00

At the end of August, 500 cybersecurity professionals from three different businesses, Nixu Corporation, DNV, and Applied Risk, came together at Nixucon23 in Helsinki for the first time. This marks the beginning of a journey to become a combined and leading European cybersecurity business. As the joint journey for these three companies is just about to start, it was evident that the air was full of excitement, curiosity, and warmth in all encounters during these two days. What was it then like for a visitor at Nixucon? Read further and take a sneak peek at what these three companies are about to build: NEXTOPIA. 

With a pandemic making it impossible for colleagues to meet each other live for three years in a row – at least in these numbers – in 2023 it was again possible to organize the Nixucon conference. This time, the attendance of new colleagues from Oslo-headquartered DNV and Amsterdam-headquartered Applied Risk made the event extra special. DNV acquired Applied Risk, focused on industrial cybersecurity, in 2021 and Nixu just recently during the summer of 2023. Combining these three businesses means that, in the future, 500 cybersecurity professionals will safeguard demanding IT and industrial control system environments and build business resilience across multiple industries. 

Day 1 – Get Ready to be Inspired by Broad and Deep Expertise 

The theme of the event, NEXTOPIA, comes from the words ‘next’ and ‘utopia’. It refers to the future built together by all the employees within this new European cybersecurity leader. The purpose of the event was to Inspire, Collaborate, and Impact. Colleagues from all over Europe had the chance to get to know each other and be inspired by the cutting-edge cybersecurity expertise in all three businesses. In addition, everyone was able to give input on how the future of the combined business could be built on innovation, collaboration, and knowledge sharing during a networking activity called ‘Nexthibition’.  

Teemu Salmi, CEO of Nixu Corporation, who will lead the combined cybersecurity business, welcomed everyone with his opening words and was joined on stage by Liv Hovem, CEO of DNV’s Accelerator business area. They both were happy about Nixucon23 finally happening and excited to see so many faces in the crowd despite this still being the early stages of the shared journey.  

CEOs Teemu Salmi and Liv Hovem on stage
Teemu Salmi and Liv Hovem on stage / Photos by Aki Rask

“We could not have wished for a more successful and joyful event. People have been eager to get to know each other and each other’s professional backgrounds, discuss our joint future and just have an enjoyable time together. The greatest realization of all has been to discover our shared purpose and passion for cybersecurity. This is a well-timed kickoff to our collaboration and surely motivates people to continue the discussions also after Nixucon,” comments Nathalie van Delden, Chief People Officer at Nixu. 

It is a valuable feeling to be inspired and excited by what you see and hear. That is most likely something that many of the people experienced while attending the themed sessions at Nixucon. The presentations, fireside sessions, and panel discussions were held by cybersecurity leaders and experts from all three companies, and the program was so interesting and diverse that it was hard to choose which sessions to join.  

Light show, panelists and audience
Nixucon23 was full of exciting program / Photos by Aki Rask

The topics ranged from AI (Artificial Intelligence) to IAM (Identity and Access Management) to the tricks of social engineering and the challenging world of industrial cybersecurity and from there to NATO’s Locked Shields exercise and all the way to the evolving European cybersecurity regulation. If only one could have been in two – or even more – places at the same time! 

Attendants were also able to learn more about the client cases that all three businesses have worked on and what have been the key findings from those. One could tell by the focused looks of people and by the number of questions asked afterwards that the topics were captivating. The case studies also revealed what kind of best practices there are to be utilized in projects to succeed in supporting the clients’ business resilience – the main goal of all three companies. 

Nixucon23 Moodboard
Moodboard of Nixucon23 Day 1 / Photos by Aki Rask

To stay true to the traditions of previous Nixucons, there was also an awards ceremony that took place at the summer party at the end of the first day. NEXTOPIA awards recognized colleagues who have made an impact with their own professional input and personality. This time the categories were the ‘most inspirational’, the ‘best collaborator’, and the ‘greatest impact’ in your business. Out of all the nominations received, one colleague from all three companies was rewarded for each category. 

Day 2 – The Power of Collaboration and Shared Insights as the Fuel of Nexthibition  

The second day of Nixucon was kicked off with morning coffee and two inspirational cases from Nixu and Applied Risk to show what kind of fascinating and demanding projects their cybersecurity experts get to execute, what kind of challenges they might encounter, and how to succeed despite them.  

One of the definite highlights of the entire conference was the moment when the cybersecurity professionals from all three businesses presented the results of their group assignments during the final session of ‘Nexthibition’. The teams were asked to pitch their vision of how to co-create and share insights and ideas among the 500-strong cybersecurity business – this was done with the help of their Nixucon boxes that were used throughout the conference for writing down personal traits, key takeaways from presentations, and, finally, new ideas for our future together.  

Nexthibition in the making
Making of 'Nexthibition' / Photos by Aki Rask

The teams’ proposals were innovative and diverse and truly showed the eagerness of all employees to work together towards a common goal. The three teams that received the most votes from all attendants presented their ideas on the main stage to everyone. When seeing the level of enthusiasm at the beginning of this joint journey, one can only imagine how great it will be in the future.  

Nixucon23 group photo
Nixucon23 group photo / Photo by Aki Rask

It was exhilarating to witness how many ideas, laughs, and connections were shared among hundreds of new cybersecurity colleagues. Nixucon exceeded many employees' high expectations and left a warm memory from these two days, which were definitely all about inspiration, collaboration, and impact.  

Counting the days until the next time.  

Want to see more? Have a look at the Nixucon23 Aftermovie on YouTube

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