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Meet Dorte Palle Jorgensen: Executive Education Scholarship Winner
Scholarship season has officially opened, and we are once again eagerly anticipating a wave of fresh and invigorating responses from potential candidates. As new doors open, we catch up with Dorte Palle Jørgensen, winner of this year’s Executive Education Scholarship for our global Executive MBA in Creative Leadership.
As a well-known Danish TV and documentary producer, Dorte describes herself first and foremost as a story-teller; an envisioner of ideas in the literal sense of the word! Throughout her career, this gut instinct for seeing a finalised product has impacted Dorte’s decision making in terms of developing stories, spotting trends, and managing talent. We caught up with our latest scholar about the need to maintain the integrity of great ideas when dealing with new, fragmented digital channels, and the importance of adopting a broader perspective when integrating these ideas back into business strategy.
Can you tell us about an early moment in TV or Radio that inspired you to choose a career in leading creative teams?
When I was 20 years old and had just left high-school, I got a job as a Radio-DJ in DR (Danish National Broadcast Corporation). As part of my training, I was sent to my first course in basic radio knowledge. In one of the exercises, I was put in the backseat at the studio to try my hand at being a producer – talking into the earpiece of the reporter who was standing with a microphone out in the field. She was nervous and babbled – loose, and out of focus. And I myself was stressed out due to all the new buttons I needed to push, and had no idea what I was doing. But it was obvious that the reporter needed help. So eventually, I pushed the button, and shouted in her ear: “SAY SOMETHING BETTER!”
It was a stupid thing to say – even though she did manage to pull herself together and make it through the recording. Afterwards we had a laugh about it.
That sentence has stuck with me ever since. In a way, I love it. Because I meant it: She was so talented and I knew that she could perform so much better. I just hadn’t the first clue about how to help her. And that’s where my interest in working with creative leadership started.
You describe yourself as a practical worker. How do you think this has effected your leadership style?
I think I have a very holistic approach in my leadership, and I'm good at following my instincts. I can also spot the potential in young or undeveloped talents. I have always been a first mover. It is in my nature to spot new trends and evolving ideas, and I am instinctively always looking for ways to improve workflow. New technics, new platforms, new genres. With the right communication, this trait can be very valuable in my industry. The world of public broadcasting can be a bit of a slow-moving mastodon, reacting too slowly to the potential for radical innovation.
The way we consume TV and Radio is shifting globally. What changes are you seeing in everyday media in Denmark, and how have these affected the way you’ve approached projects throughout your career?
Like all over the world, streaming is becoming more and more popular. I don’t even have cable TV myself anymore. I personally only consume programmes on demand or by listening to podcasts. But I think that changing technology isn’t a new phenomenon. There is always going to be something new and smarter and better.
Content is King, but distribution is Queen; and now she’s wearing the trousers. That’s a dilemma. How do we maintain the integrity of a great story, even when its content is cut to pieces? Like the impact digital media has had to on the way we listen to music, and in turn the way it’s produced. We mostly listen to tracks, not whole productions. The integrity of the opus has been compromised, but the music has not.
As a producer, I have to stay focused on the story. When you have a good story to tell, and you understand the integrity of what makes it good, you can start using all the different technics and platforms in how you show it.
As this year’s Executive Education Scholarship winner, how would you like the global Executive MBA to further develop you as a leader?
I have visions! Not in an “I see dead people” way, but I do envisage programs and listen to radio shows inside my head, before I have produced them. I have lots of ideas, and am very focused on what I like and what I want. I believe that that’s why I’m a strong leader that people like to follow. I have a strong gut instinct and am prepared to take calculated risks. I do however, struggle in conveying those visions at times. It’s simply not a given that others can share my vision. So, I really want to develop my approach when conveying my passion and complete understanding for what I want to achieve to wider teams and stakeholders. I want to learn to temper my focus so as to encompass all wider objectives without losing sight of my vision or compromising its integrity. I want to learn to become more flexible, more adaptable, in order synergise the integrity of ideas and strategy.
Photograph by Bjarke Ahlstrand