Alf Rehn

Professor of management, speaker, writer, and popular culture geek.


Quick and Dirty

On Scholarship as Manual Labor


The following is an essay originally written over 10 years ago, in Swedish for a book on writing your PhD. I later


Reading a non-fiction book wherein many of the references are to works old enough to be half-forgotten but not old enough to be considered the wisdom of the ancients is a curious experience. On one hand one feels a certain detachment — as if the age of the references ages the text as well. On the other, one’s memory is kindled and one starts to see things anew. The temporal shift in frames of reference triggers a…


The HR Challenges of Creative Cultures


There can be no single HR manager, partner or executive alive today, not even in the darkest of jungles or in the loneliest mountain village, who by…


On the Rarity of Uncommon Futurism


All business is practical futurism, but not all futurism is practical for business.

Well Ello, Remember Yo? — On the Fallacy of “Always in Beta” and “Done Is Better Than Perfect”


Immense global PR, the kind that blankets media both old and new, is for many…


Finding the Points of (Surprising) Success


Failure, as celebrated as it has become, is easy to find and easier still to grasp. Failure, to state in a simple manner, is not surprising. As complex as the world is, as unpredictable and chaotic, failure seems more like the natural state of things. Nature fails, over and over. Evolution fails numerous times before it, through sheer dogged…


On Being Right and Unproductive at the Same Time


Academics are often described as an ineffectual bunch, and not very good at anything, really. But there is one thing academics are absolutely fantastic at, namely the deployment of a very specific kind of unproductive critique. I call it the “It’s more complicated than that”-gambit. This is used whenever any academic proposes an idea…


The Competitive Advantage of that Which You Cannot Measure


No-one seems to know who coined the phrase “What gets measured gets managed.”, or the variation “What gets measured gets done.”. Sure, it is often attributed to Peter Drucker, but as you can read here, this is dubious at best and provenance might instead be traced back to a statement by Lord Kelvin. Regardless of who said it…


Sometimes, Your Critics Are Right


Every entrepreneur, academic, and artist has experienced the ignominy of critique. Every one who has ever attempted to do something has had to endure the indignity of people commenting in less than charitable fashion. Our responses in these instances often follow a set pattern. We bristle. We look for flaws in their arguments, ignoring that they may have…


Critique Is Not the Enemy


We’ve all been there. The setting is corporate, the fluorescent lamps bright, and the coffee is stale. We’re in a conference room, and the facilitator in charge has…


When Futures Turn Boring


It has become something of a cliché to state that business today is conducted in a situation of ever-accelerating change, and that the business world itself is in a…