Dr. Kjell Nordström, business author and associate professor at the Stockholm School of Economics

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Session recap

Globalization and knowledge development are behind the rapid pace of change we’ve seen over the past 45 years. But Dr. Kjell A. Nordström said that while the former will ebb, knowledge development will grow at a far more rapid clip.

The business author and associate professor at the Stockholm School of Economics captivated attendees with the implications ahead for entrepreneurs. This “tsunami” of information development will call for greater collaboration and more experimentation. One implication, however, may be the most powerful. Technology is lowering transaction costs, and that’s affecting everything, from public service and health care to universities and shopping.

“If you start to play with transaction costs, which we do, then you can organize things in a different way,” Nordström said.

He also discussed the change in demographics, including the shift from families to singles and their move to cities in the fastest urbanization in human history. By 2040, more than 80% of the world’s population will live in cities. It means that when you take a company international, you don’t think in terms of countries — you think in terms of cities.

But perhaps the greatest challenge can be linked to something said at MIT in 1995: anything that can be digital will be digital. But Nordström took it a step further: “Anything that can be digital, will be digital — and copied.”

Companies, particularly in the US and Europe, are good at creating, but they are better at exploiting. Most of our corporations are outright exploitation machines with a little bit of creation. “Now we have to find ways and means to create corporations — firms, businesses — that do creation and exploitation at the same time,” he said.


Keynote speaker


Kjell A Nordström speaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

Dr. Kjell A Nordström
Business author and associate professor
Stockholm School of Economics

Dr. Kjell A. Nordström is the enfant terrible of the new world of business. The 2011 Thinkers50 ranked him at No. 5 in Europe and among the top 50 in the world, and he is one of the few who has been ranked among the 50 for 11 consecutive years. Dr. Nordström has 20 years of experience of working with multinational companies and has served as an advisor/consultant to several large multinationals throughout the world. His research focuses on corporate strategy, multinational corporations and globalization. His first book, Funky Business: Talent Makes Capital Dance (co-authored with Jonas Ridderstråle), is a manifesto of what our time requires from business firms and their leaders. Nordström’s second book, Karaoke Capitalism: Management for Mankind (co-authored with Ridderstråle), is a new manifesto for how to make it in the world of Karaoke Capitalism. With Ridderstråle, he recently co-authored Funky Business Forever, the long-awaited update to the international best seller. Funky Business Forever takes a look back on the latter half of the millennium’s first decade and provides evolved thinking and commentary in a way that is truly funky and down to business.