In a theatrical and highly individual keynote speech, Jonas Ridderstrale,
author of the best-selling Funky Business, called on HR directors to lead a
He warned that all sources of competitive advantage can only bring temporary
success and that HR needed to respond to sweeping changes in the economy and
society as a whole.
He argued that HR should champion emotions in the workplace. "Forget
about your core competencies and focus on your core compassions," he said.
"Why shouldn’t you be able to love your company. If you can love a pet you
should be able to love your employer."
Other themes were the challenges of managing talent, the need to find new
ways to motivate staff, the end of employee loyalty and the need for
organisations to exploit temporary monopolies – he cited Microsoft as a company
that had succeeded in capitalising in this way.
He told delegates to look beyond MBAs which he described as an acronym for
"mediocre but arrogant" and pointed out that all MBAs used the same
management books and therefore offered no route to competitive advantage.
Brandishing a Viagra pill in one hand and a Prozac pill in the other, he
said that delegates who failed to rise to the challenge of a changing business
world would only find fulfilment in artificial solutions.