Planning for a Library 100 Years in the Future: The Woman Behind This Massive Undertaking Explains How She Gets Things Done

Anne Beate Hovind, the engine behind a unique public art project in Norway called Future Library, shares how she makes the impossible possible.
Planning for a Library 100 Years in the Future: The Woman Behind This Massive Undertaking Explains How She Gets Things Done
Image credit: Courtesy of Bjørvika Utvikling by Kristin von Hirsch

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How Success Happens is a podcast featuring polar explorers, authors, ultra marathoners, artists and more to better understand what connects dreaming and doing. Linda Lacina,'s managing editor, guides these chats so anyone can understand the traits that underpin achievement and what fuels the decisions to push us forward. Listen below or click here to read more shownotes.

A few years ago, Oslo, Norway embarked on a project that would reclaim its harbor and redefine public art for generations to come. This initiative includes a special forest in which books from top authors like Margaret Atwood are handed over in a ceremony where they are held in trust, unread and unpublished, until they are printed by paper from those very trees 100 years in the future.

Related: This Imagination Expert Can Help You Get Your Best Creative Work Done

It’s a magical sort of idea that challenges our concept of time and trust. It’s also a logistical nightmare. Creating that magic takes planning, tactics and strategies. It means convincing the authors to participate, working with foresters and navigating talks with architects, politicians and city planners, to name a few hurdles. In short, it takes Anne Beate Hovind.

Hovind is a project manager for the property developer Bjorvika Infrastrukur and is tasked with this project, called Future Library.The undertaking uses every part of her varied background to make it a reality -- from her early days living on a farm to buying a boat where she and her husband ran both a theater and a bed and breakfast. 

Unlike a typical property development, Hovind couldn’t approach this the usual way. Art doesn’t take a risk assessment, after all. Yet, what she discovered in her talks is that others wanted to be part of something bigger, too. 

Related: Conversation is the Most Underused Innovation Tool

Hovind says that key to moving a highly creative project like Future Library is to break it down piece by piece and manage your energy.

“Pulling through these artworks takes a lot; we have been in it for six years already,” she shares on Entrepreneur’s podcast How Success Happens. “You need to have the stayer in you and have this understanding of what it takes to produce a long-term, permanent durational artwork.”

Related: Kathryn Minshew of The Muse: Decide Who You Are, or Have it Decided for You (Podcast)

For Future Library, trust also remains paramount. After all, no one working on it will live to see it realized. Hovind approaches this reality in the same way she approaches each meeting and call: with faith.

In this week’s podcast of How Success Happens, Hovind explains more about how she connects with so many different types of people, the importance of a tactical mindset and faith in creativity. 

To learn more, listen to this week’s podcast below or find us on the following platforms: SoundCloud, Stitcher, iTunes, Google Play.

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