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Jonas Ridderstrale

Highly respected & influential business thinker

Jonas Ridderstrale Biography

A business speaker with a difference – Jonas Ridderstrale has called time out on business as usual

  • We need business as unusual. We need different business. We need innovative business. We need unpredictable business. We need surprising business. We need funky business.
  • Made a big impact with unconventional business book Funky Business: Talent makes capital dance when it was published in 2000 with Kjell Nordstrom.
  • Visiting Professor at Ashridge Business School and the IE Business School in Spain.
  • Wants to give people the courage to link up their knowledge and start executing their own ideas

Speaking Style

Amusing, educational, enthusiastic and informal.

Jonas Ridderstrale provides a fresh, new take on common business conceptions, engaging audiences of all ages with his charismatic and often unconventional take on how best to approach business situations.

Jonas Ridderstrale was born in Sweden in 1966. He studied at the Stockholm School of Economics and has an MBA and a PhD in international business. His doctoral dissertation examined multi-national product development. He went on to teach for a number of years at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Leadership.

When he is not traveling around the world on speaking engagements he lives in Stockholm with his wife and two children.


Jonas Ridderstrale is co-author of the best-selling business book Funky Business – Talent Makes Capital Dance with Kjell Nordstrm. Together they form a kind of business-world Gilbert and George a Swedish double act with bald heads and dark suits, presenting their ideas at speaking gigs around the world with verve and panache. Their message is that business as usual is not an option and with great stories, examples and jokes they seek to steer their audience towards an understanding of how to add value in a globalised, deregulated world. Topics include leadership, change and building a kind of corporate religion.

They followed up their success with Karaoke Capitalism: Management for mankind and Funky Business Forever: How to enjoy capitalism. In 2008, there was another book, this time with Mark Wilcox called Re-energizing the Corporation: How leaders make change happen. The books have been translated into more than 30 languages and published in 50 countries. His research has been published in leading academic journals and he has written articles and been interviewed in magazine like Time, The Financial Times, The Times, Stern and Newsweek.
As well as his writing and speaking commitments he is also co-owner and chairman of management training company – the Swedish Management Group – Mgruppen. He has worked with many Fortune 500 companies, government bodies, sports teams and even trade unions.His Lego style approach to public speaking means he can blend aspects of his best selling works with even more contemporary thoughts and themes to meet a clients needs.


In a survey of the best business books of all time Bloomsbury Publishing put Funky Business at No 16 Jonas was recognized as Swedens outstanding young academic of the year in 2000 by JCI Sweden and in 2007, he received the Italian Nobels Colloquia award for Leadership in Business and Economic Thinking.

For more than 10 years Jonas Ridderstrale has appeared on the Thinkers 50 list.

Jonas Ridderstrale Videos


C) £10,000 to £25,000






Testimonials for Jonas Ridderstrale

Testimonial for Funky Business: “Funky Business gives a unique, informed and defiantly funky perspective on the new world order. It is the antidote to bland writing and bland thinking.”

Tom Peters

Testimonial for Funky Business: “Funky Business – the groovy bible of modern business philosophy”

Red magazine

“Mr. Ridderstrale has become the antidote to the graph-wielding business academics on the lecture circuit.”

Richard Donkin

The Financial Times

Testimonial for Funky Business: “An irreverent take on how business is changing in the Internet era.”

Fortune Magazine

“Jonas has made an enormous impact on all of the executives he has met in Sony Europe. He has opened our eyes to new ways of looking at the world and how we need to adapt to face the future. He is innovative, challenging and entertaining in his approach and engages with people at all levels. He will make a significant difference to the way you view the future.”

Roy White

VP of HR , Sony Europe

Jonas Ridderstrale‘s Topics

Forces of Funk: What Drives Change?

Only by truly understanding why the socio-economic landscape is changing so rapidly can you respond to the new challenges in a constructive way. The best leaders have always been business sociologists. They understand that by analyzing the context, you can see opportunities while those who not do so only spot threats.

Dr. Ridderstråle has written and thought extensively about the seismic impact of changes in;

  • Technologies
  • Institutions
  • Values

In his speeches, Jonas talks about the how we can benefit from advances in IT and telecommunications – as an individual or a leader of a corporation. Dr. Ridderstråle also discusses the implications of institutional deregulation – on capitalism, nations states, political parties, companies, families, etc. Finally, he outlines the shift from a geographically structured world to one dominated by global biographical tribes and how this will influence life inside and outside our organizations.

The Holy Grail of Business: Compete on fitness and sex-appeal

We remember the likes of Dell and Dylan for their ability to innovate and then continuously re-invent themselves. Successful corporations and individuals perfect the art of creating imperfections – monopolies in time or space – the Holy Grail of commerce. In a deregulated world, the new business reality is a “double-economy” with increasing differences between the rest and the best – between countries, within countries and in business.

Forget about normal. Think abnormal. Now, instead of appealing to the average, success is a question of exploring the extremes. Those staying in the middle-of-the-road will be run over by modern monopolists.

Using examples from some of the most successful contemporary business organizations, Dr. Ridderstråle describes two ways in which to build sustainable competitive advantages:

  • Adapt to the new business environment by developing business models that are incredibly fit – exploiting the imperfection of markets.
  • Compete on sex-appeal through taking advantage of the imperfections of man by competing on moods.
The +Factors: New recipes for success

To stand a chance of truly turning up after the downturn, we must radically rethink the traditional recipes for business success. The best leaders apply a positive logic of PLUS – moving beyond the person, the present and the existing paradigm of management.

Using examples from some of the most successful contemporary corporations, Dr. Ridderstråle presents four key ideas to help us turn up the volume and expand our businesses:

  • The enterprise+: How your corporation can effectively mimic the principles of self-organizing systems – compete on we rather than me.
  • The entrepreneurial+: What it will take in terms of re-inventing management practices to be able to lead a corporation that is as good at innovation as the organization of the past was at exploitation.
  • The evolutionary+: How successful competitive strategies must evolve to reflect new customer requirements in a world where most people feel stressed, bored, lonely and anonymous.
  • The emotional+: What you need to do to effectively deal with the challenge of utilizing the full potential of also the emotional capital of the firm.
Life in the Funky Village: Business Megatrends

Today, most people live, work and have to do business in a deregulated global economy. More and more individuals enjoy the freedom of choice. In effect, a number of trends with a direct impact on what it takes to succeed in the new world of commerce are arising. Among other things, Dr. Ridderstråle discusses how we can capitalize on these freedom movements by understanding the shift toward increased calls for:

  • Democratization: Information available at your fingertips
  • Meritocratization: Why talent makes capital dance
  • Migration: Winning the great global attraction game
  • Customization: The customer as a co-designer/producer
  • Feminization: The new world of Shenomics
  • Personalization: When one size no longer fits all
  • MANipulation: Nip/Tuck and why 80 is the new 60
  • Fragmentation: Why we are Bowling Alone
  • Tribalization: Profiting from the Peoples Republic of Paris Hilton
  • Polarization: Get ready for the double economy
Re-energize!: Making Change Happen

In today’s topsy-turvy times, a company is either quick or dead. A function of mass and energy determines velocity – the lower the mass and the greater the energy the faster an object moves. Since the early 1990s, most companies have been more or less obsessed with processes focused on de-massification. Managers have out-sourced and off-shored, downsized and rightsized.

At the same time, many organizations have neglected the other variable of the function – energy. The new challenge is the one of re-energizing the corporation. The 1990s gave us a competence-based view of the firm. Now, the time has come to move on and profit from a new perspective that boosts the energy level of the enterprise.

​Dr. Ridderstråle talks about how you can lead change by:

  • Envisioning the future: use your competence to analyze the context and challenge the organization
  • Engaging people: build confidence by managing all critical relationships individually and commitment will follow
  • Executing strategies: combine personal courage with an uncanny ability to secure both the capacity and capabilities necessary to make change happen.
The Future Firm: The shape of things to come

The successful corporation of the 21st century will be fundamentally different from the one that dominated the industrial era. Gone are the days of the local and bureaucratic conglomerate.

Today, wealth is made with wisdom, and customers are more demanding than ever. In a world with a surplus of products and services of similar prices and quality, the future firm must thrive on its ability to be different and add value in new ways.

Dr. Ridderstråle outlines where we should expect to find the firm of the future, what it will look like, and how it will operate. Learn more about how the company of tomorrow profits from the changing circumstances and the unpredictability of our times. Find out why the winners must be;

  • Focused
  • Leveraged
  • Innovative
  • Heterarchical
    and how the best organizations are already working hard on re-inventing the corporation as we know it!
Leading leadership: Developing a corporate religion

People can be extraordinarily courageous and take tough decisions only when they have something to believe in. The most successful organizations on our planet are all systems of faith. Securing the capacity and capability to produce change, therefore, requires a “corporate religion”. This overall purpose guarantees a clear direction and co-ordinated action.

Dr. Ridderstråle outlines the key elements that you should find in a great business bible and poses a series of questions with a patented impact on the competitiveness of any organization:

  • Ideological – Your Dream: Do you have a dream or just five-year plans?
  • Mythical – Your Stories: Do you have a CSO – a Chief Storytelling Officer?
  • Ritual – Your Ceremonies: Do you hold ceremonies for triumphs and tragedies?
  • Ethical – Your Values: Do you tolerate mistakes and failure?
  • Emotional – Your Experience: Do you have personalized EVPs – Employee Value Propositions?
  • Material – Your Things: Do you have a place enabling talent to play at work?
  • Organizational – Your Structures: Do you have arrangements ensuring collective intelligence?

Books by Jonas Ridderstrale

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