This exclusive interview with Dr. Kjell A. Nordström was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Stockholm during August 2011
Interview with Dr. Kjell A. Nordström
You say that revolutionary reality is that 1.3 kilograms of brain please elaborate on that fact.
Yes, now it is the brain that stand center stage in western based business firms (in particular). Today we know that low cost competitors from among other China can and will challange us in every industry. It is no longer a guess.....it is a reality. This in effect leave us with one way forward: INNOVATION ! Human creativity is what will make the difference. However, most of our institutions are not designed for Innovation or Creation. Any business firm has to do two things : Creation and Exploitation. The problem today is that most of our firms are extremely good, even excellent, in the area of exploitation. That is to sell more of the same and slowely improve and adjust the product or service ovewr time. Creation is usually a carefully fenced off activity (usually called R & D) that involves a relatively speaking small group of creation specalist.
The ultimate goal for firms in this part of the world is to build a creation machine with the ability to also efficiently exploit this flow of insights and break-troughs. Is there such a firm ? Among bigger firms......maybe Apple.
How does competitive advantage come from being different?
A successful firm....actually in any industry....is a "TEMPORARY MONOPOLY". Unique. Perceived to be unique. One of a kind. The moment you are no longer unique or one of a kind you are in the process of loosing your position......average or below average returns is the name of the game.
If technology, institutions and values are being subverted and overturned what is the future looking like as a consequence?
Technology, Institutions and Values has always been in a state of flux. Sometimes slow. Sometimes fast (industrial revolution). Sometimes just one of them (Christianity) sometimes all of them. The latter case is what we have today. Consequence.....maximum uncertainty.....or what scientists sometimes call GENUINE UNCERTAINTY. A state or a stage where it is impossible do do any predictions. Hence, no plans can be made. In effect.....the way forward in most cases is do do do...EXPERIMENTATION!!! The future looks like much more experimentation....
How does the concept of freedom play into the deregulation you see for ourselves and our children?
The deregulation......of everything basically implies a freedom to Know, go, do and be for more and more people in more and more countries and regions. Just look at North Africa these days. it is among other things an empowerment that enable us to tear down any hierarchy we believe lack legitimacy. But it also implies responsibility for you own life and life project. More and more freedom.......but at the same time more and more responsibility.
Malcolm Forbes once said "Failure is success if we learn from it". What do you think about this?
Malcolm Forbes is not right......he is exactly right!!!! There is at the end of the day only one way to learn new things ....Trial and ....yes sometimes error.....and move on. There is no such thing as doing things right the first time. Well, maybe in our dreams.
What do you need to survive in the current world of business?
Well, you either need a low cost position and/or a continous flow of Innovations. Practically speaking this means that we need a higher tolerance for failure (otherwise no flow of innovations......remember Mr Forbes) and a new organizational form beyond the traditional hierarchy that do not castrate talents.
The above interview with Dr. Kjell A. Nordström 2011 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.