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Kjell Nordstrom

Unconventional Swedish economist and dynamic “funky” business thinker

Kjell Nordstrom Biography

Dr. Kjell A. Nordström has been described as the "enfant terrible of the new world of business". Known the world over for his books, articles and unconventional business concepts, he is also a highly gifted and much sought-after speaker. Over the past 20 years he has delivered dynamic, interactive and thought-provoking presentations around the globe.

Background / History

Kjell Nordstrom was born in Sweden in 1958 and grew up on a small island in Finland. After studying engineering initially, he went on to get a Ph.D from the Stockholm School of Economics in 1991. He taught there until 1994 as Assistant Professor in the Institute of International Business.

Nordstrom’s research and consulting focus is on the areas of corporate strategy, multinational corporations and globalisation.


Nordstrom is a guru of the new economy. In 2000 he coauthored “Funky Business – Talent Makes Capital Dance” with Jonas Ridderstrale. Together, they explain that business as usual is no longer an option and call for creative, unique organisations like Apple or IKEA as blueprints for the future. Funky Business was rated as one of the five best business books of the year by Amazon and became an international best-seller.

In their next book “Karaoke Capitalism – Management for Mankind” they argued that imitation had become institutionalised and that, instead of copying what is already out there, companies should have the courage to develop new and original ideas.

Finally, their third collaboration ‘Funky Business Forever‘ published in 2008 is the long awaited update that looks back on the later half of the new millennium’s first decade. It provides evolved thinking and commentary in a way that is truly funky and down to business.

Nordstrom has advised several large corporations as well as the UK government. His specialist areas of research include corporate strategy, multi-national corporations and globalization. He is now a full-time international speaker.

Both Nordstrom and Ridderstrale have appeared in the Thinkers 50 Biennial ranking of the Top Management Thinkers every time since its inception in 2001, regularly appearing in the top 5 list for Europe.

Nordstrom published his latest book ‘Urban Express‘, co-authored with Per Schlingmann which was released in 2014.

Current / Past Roles & Positions

  • Doctoral degree in International Business from the Stockholm School of Economics
  • Currently Associate Professor at the Institute of International Business (IIB)

Awards, Accolades, Achievements & Honours

  • In 2015, Kjell was named one of the world’s most influential management gurus – ranked number 15 out of 30
  • A founder of the Stockholm School of Economics’ most prestigious management program, which attracts the elite of Scandinavian executives

Speaking Style

Amusing, Educational, Enthusiastic, Informal, Interactive, Passionate, Story-telling and Thought-provoking. Kjell Nordstrom is one of a new generation of rock star speakers. His dynamic, agile and compelling style is matched by the scale and pace of his ideas.

In his talks around the world, Nordstrom tells leaders how to stand out in the new global bazaar’ and how to access the talent for innovation they need to succeed. The ideas behind Karaoke Capitalism went on to form the basis of an extended interview on CNNs Global Office programme.

His academic knowledge and charismatic personality make him one of the most dynamic and sought after speakers across Europe.

Kjell Nordstrom Videos



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Testimonials for Kjell Nordstrom

"If you loved Funky Business as much as I did, you'll love Karaoke Capitalism. Weird Most certainly. Different Most definitely. But, if you want to re-imagine your organization and your career, it's a thought-provoking place to start."

Tom Peters, 2004

“You have been a very nice Swedish surprise to us. It has been quite some time ago that I can remember that a lecture has been so inspiring, though provoking, personal, humorous and entertaining. Without any exception I have received similar feedback from my fellow partners, including our global team.”

Pieter J.A.M. Jongstra

AABS Managing Partner Central Europe, Ernst & Young

“Your presentation was tremendous and scored top marks on our delegates evaluation sheets!”

Mike Firth

Yorkshire International Business Convention Ltd

“The response to Dr Nordstrom’s session has so far been truly outstanding. I’ve heard many comments from very experienced conference goers that “Dr. Nordstrom is the best speaker they have ever seen.”

Suzie Brook

Incentives Manager, Commonwealth Bank Group, Australia

“Your presentation received fantastic feedback. Attendees described it as refreshing, entertaining and truly inspiring. It really out the emphasis of the conference on new thinking which was exactly what we wanted to achieve. We continue to get so many positive comments about your talk. It was excellent and helped people to think differently.”

Sylvia DeVoge

HayGroup, London

“Kjell, you are one of the best speakers that the leaders team and delegates have ever seen! Thank you.”

Vanessa Evans

IIR, Middle East Leaders in Dubai

“Our clients and my colleagues were impacted by your performance. We were able to enjoy a very entertaining while at the same time provoking speech outlining a wealth of ideas about the new world.”

Dirk Lohmann

CEO, Zurich Re

“It was incredibly powerful, immensely forward-looking and visionary. We are also full of admiration for your superb and inspirational facilitation techniques.”

Rudolf H. Messinger

Chief, Career Management Section, UNICEF Headquarters

“We thank you for the lecture you kindly gave to our future leaders onto the subject Emotion, Behaviour and Management. The participants of the Management Group Seminar seventh class appreciated in its real value this performance and in their name and that of my team, we really want to thank you warmly.”

Antonin Fotso

Vice President, corporate training, Total S.A

“What a great performance! Thank you so much for making our mini-conference into a seriously unique get-together!”

G. Volkert & H. Doeksen

Managing partner, CEO, AlpInvest

Kjell Nordstrom‘s Topics

Creating and Defending Competitive Advantages

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Multinational Corporations, Recipes and Global Tribes

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The Ultramodern Multinational: Strategies, Structures and Leadership in an International Firm

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The Role of the Leader when we are Free to Know, Go, Do, and Be

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How to Earn $$: The Principles for Earning Money in a Well Functioning Market Economy

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The Global Village: An Overview of Lifestyles and their Business Implications

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Articulate and Tacit Knowledge: The Foundation for the Fourth Generation of competitive advantages

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Talent Makes Capital Dance: How to Thrive in the New World

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Books by Kjell Nordstrom

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