Kaihan Krippendorff Profile

  • Globally in-demand business strategist known for his proven “Outthinker” innovation system, which has been used by multiple Fortune 500s

  • Kaihan and his firm Outthinker’s guidance and solutions have generated over $2.5 billion in revenue for their clients

  • Author of several ground-breaking business strategy books including Outthink the Competition, The Art of the Advantage, and, soon-to-be-released, The Employee Innovator: Driving Innovation From Within
  • Top business strategy, growth, and transformation guru, Kaihan Krippendorff teaches companies how to tap into the resources they already have to produce breakthrough market-disrupting solutions. As the founder of the innovative consulting firm, Outthinker, Kaihan and his team have helped their clients generate over $2.5 billion in revenue, while simultaneously breathing new life into their businesses.

    Kaihan‘s extensive list of clients include Fortune 500s across every industry, the Consumer Electronics Association, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, Harvard Business Review, Wharton Business School, National Restaurant Association, Produce Marketing Association, FORTUNE Growth Summit, Young Presidents’ Organization, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and the Institute for Management Studies, among many others.

    Kaihan is the author of four business strategy books and is currently working on a fifth. The Employee Innovator: Driving Innovation From Within (Columbia University Press, 2019) debunks the misconception that most market disruptions come from small start-ups and instead, focuses on the many overlooked innovations generated by large companies. Kaihan’s latest research for the book breaks down what made it possible innovations to occur, what innovation blockers exist today for organizations, and how they can overcome these blockers with simple yet effective frameworks, tools, and techniques.

    Kaihan’s work is frequently featured in major news and business media outlets like Fast Company, BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Time, Fox Business, and PBS.

    Kaihan started his career off at McKinsey and Company. He quickly built a lasting brand for himself in business consulting circles due to his unique holistic approach and deep understanding of global markets and cultures. He speaks three languages and has lived or spent extended periods of time in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the Pacific. He holds a PhD in Economics as well as a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Kaihan Krippendorff is committed to helping organizations and individuals thrive in today’s era of fast-paced disruptive technological change. Kaihan is known for his ability to turn difficult concepts into easy-to-understand ideas that drive meaningful outcomes and actions. He is an internationally recognized thought-leader, battle-tested consultant, and sought-after keynote speaker on the topics of business strategy, innovation, creativity and growth.

      Kaihan began his career as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company before founding the growth strategy and innovation consulting firm Outthinker. Growth strategies and innovations created through Outthinker have energized countless organizations, teams, and individuals all while generating over $2.5B in revenue for many of the world’s most recognizable Fortune 500 companies.

      An accomplished author, Kaihan has written four books on business strategy, innovation, and creativity, most recently Outthink the Competition (John Wiley & Sons). For his forthcoming book, The Employee Innovator: Driving Innovation From Within (Columbia University Press, 2019), Kaihan deeply researched and interviewed more than 150 internal innovators and leaders in nearly every conceivable industry.

      Kaihan founded the Outthinker Roundtables – a group of high-level strategists and innovators for large global organizations. Quarterly roundtables are a unique opportunity for senior executives to take part in an intimate, candid, and forward-looking conversation with a network of peer professionals and the world’s most sought-after disruptive thinkers, including Rita Gunther McGrath, John Hagel, and George Day, among others. Quarterly meetings facilitated by Kaihan connect him with both thought-leaders and organizational leaders, providing insights as to what issues are most relevant and how companies can approach and conquer threats of disruption.

      Amidst his dizzying schedule of keynotes, consulting projects, ongoing research and writing, Kaihan still finds time to be a consultant with Wharton Executive Education, faculty member of Florida International University, teacher of design strategy at Parsons School of Design, and lecturer at business schools throughout the US and internationally. He is regularly featured in key business media outlets, including BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Time, Fox Business, Fast Company, PBS, and Bloomberg Radio.

      He earned a Master of Business Administration at Columbia Business School, a Bachelor of Science in finance from Wharton Business School, and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and he holds a Doctorate of Science in economics.

      With a mother from Bangladesh and a father from Germany, Kaihan brings a holistic, diverse, and global perspective to everything he does. His work has brought him to 58 countries all over the world. He speaks three languages and has lived or spent significant periods of time in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the Pacific. He lives in Greenwich, Conn., with his wife and three children.

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    Kaihan Krippendorff's Speech Descriptions

    In-demand strategist and battle-tested “Outthinker,” Kaihan Krippendorff helps your people tap into their innate inability to think innovatively, increasing your business’ agility so that it can thrive in the Digital Age. Kaihan specializes in showing companies how they can disrupt their market without disrupting their own business. The seasoned consultant imparts a proven system that will enable you to better spot overlooked opportunities, produce breakthroughs with resources you already have, and leave your competition disoriented.

    Kaihan is a sought-after speaker and facilitator in a number of fields, including business strategy, disruptive innovation, agile-mindset, creativity, growth, and entrepreneurship. Working with Kaihan is easy and straightforward with no surprises. Kaihan incorporates his consulting experience into his speaking preparation. It can be expected that you will have at least one planning call before the actual event with Kaihan so he can ask questions and perform interviews that reveal the nuances of your industry, strategy, and vision. This allows him to craft a custom speech with a message that not only entertains and inspires but resonates with your audience.

    Kaihan’s team strives to exceed expectations for every keynote delivered. Anyone that has worked with Kaihan and his team will mention the great lengths they will go to in order to make your event a resounding success.


    As a successful entrepreneur, author, consultant and CEO, Kaihan has worked with and studied thousands of companies and the different approaches they take to drive growth, foster innovation, and set themselves apart from the competition. How is it that some companies are able to continually pivot their strategy, transform and pursue new growth ideas? The answer is they have a repeatable process and common language that can be learned and taught.

    Based on his most recent book, Outthink the Competition, Kaihan delivers a systematic process and set of proven business strategy tools he has used with more than 300 clients in almost every industry to create innovative strategies and growth ideas that have generated more than $2.5B in revenue. Blending together first-hand stories of inspiring business and social innovators, from Elon Musk to Noble Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus, Kaihan’s presentation teaches the audience a tested method for developing actionable growth ideas that unlock growth, increase competitiveness of their business and arm them with the tools needed to excel in today’s digital, agile, and purpose-driven world. In this inspiring keynote you will learn…

    • How to use The Outthinker Process® to generate powerful ideas that can drive bottom-line results across all levels of the business
    • Find a “Fourth Option”: the option beyond the obvious choices, the option others will not see or respond to
    • The Outthinker playbook: five strategic narratives you want to master now
    • A simple approach to avoid killing off “crazy” ideas and turn them into winning moves
    • Extract value of internal ideas to drive organic growth
    • Build a culture of Outthinking that celebrates fresh strategic and innovative ideas and thinking
    • Empowered and inspired employees ready to take action to develop, test and scale innovative growth ideas


    “Innovation” brings to our mind the maverick entrepreneur who quits their job, at unimaginable odds, to build a business on their own. But this entrepreneurial story is a myth. Kaihan argues that intrapreneurs – employees who incubate new businesses within corporations – have had a far greater impact on the world. Nearly all of the most transformative innovations over the past three decades, from e-mail and the Internet to DNA sequencing and MRI scans, were introduced by employees who did not quit their jobs but instead took the challenge of innovating from within.

    Drawing on five years of in-depth research of hundreds of successful innovators and Intrapreneurial Intensity, insights from thought leaders, C-suite leaders, business unit leaders, and front line employees – four time author, entrepreneur, and CEO Kaihan Krippendorff shares exclusive insights from his next book, The Employee Innovator: Driving Innovation from Within (Columbia University Press, 2019). Kaihan unveils the most common innovation barriers and shares specific tools, frameworks and techniques used by successful innovators to manage and unlock the value of employees’ ideas to drive corporate innovation levels and deliver bottom-line results. Audience members will leave feeling inspired and empowered with the actionable next steps for testing and scaling ideas that generate value and growth.

    Learnings and outcomes:

    • Understand Intrapreneurial Intensity (II) and its impact on growth rates and shareholder value
    • The IN-OVATE Framework
    • Simple tools, frameworks and techniques to navigate organizational barriers to increase II and deploy new and disruptive ideas that generate value in your company
    • How to shift your organizational mindset and culture to challenge the outdated status-quo
    • Increase engagement and empower employees to “be the change” and drive innovation inside of your company
    • Extract value of internal ideas to drive organic growth
    • Break free from traditional thinking and operations to embrace transformative new possibilities
    • Build a wave of support for growth, innovation and creativity by reinforcing the idea that innovation is possible, attainable, and ultimately actionable 


    When we say “innovation” we almost always mean “product innovation.” We talk about research & development and possible new solutions to meet unmet needs. This is a one-dimensional and incomplete approach to innovation. Dissect the most innovative companies of the last decade and you will see that great innovators disrupt their markets by reaching beyond the product. Oftentimes their success rests on choices that have little to do with new products.

    In this presentation, four-time author, entrepreneur, and CEO, Kaihan Krippendorff will take you through engaging examples from a broad array of industries such as Urban Outfitters in apparel, IKEA in furniture, VMware in technology, SpaceX in space launch vehicles, MasterCard in payments, and Vistaprint in printing services, showing how companies that outperform their competition seek disruptive innovation across eight dimensions (8Ps). The "8Ps" framework has proven to be a powerful structure to engage high-level marketers, business strategists and sales staff in an exploration of where competitive advantages lie, where to strengthen them, and where they are being underutilized. Learnings from this session include…

    • The 8P strategic innovation framework – systematically uncover new avenues for growth, innovation and transformation
    • How to construct a disruptive business model or strategy that leverages an underutilized 8P strength
    • Identify opportunities beyond the R&D lab – identify and reconstruct processes and operations to drive efficiency
    • Drive organic growth leveraging the value of unrealized ideas
    • How to build real confidence to apply new strategies everyday across all business units and roles


    In a world marked by accelerated change and innovation, mental agility has proven to be a critical driver of success in sports, warfare, business, career, and life. Yet few agree on what exactly “mental agility” is or know how to develop it. Companies that fail to move on quickly enough from their linear organization will not succeed. In this presentation, four-time author, entrepreneur, and CEO Kaihan Krippendorff shares insights from his work with top level corporate entrepreneurs and the study of more than 200 successful innovators into what sets them apart from the rest of the competitive pack. Kaihan will share the key practices that distinguishes those with high mental agility and arm the audience with tools and frameworks they can immediately apply to their own work. Audience members will learn to …

    • Connect the unconnected – pulling together seemingly unrelated pieces of information to rapidly form a mental image of the situation or opportunity.
    • Uncover unexpected causes – drilling down into the system to see the cause others overlook.
    • Shift your frame – shifting your frame on the problem to reveal solutions others dismiss.
    • Question the impossible – Why we fall into mental “traps” of false beliefs that prevent us from seeing what is possible and, more important, how to dig out of the trap that is keeping you from seizing the solution.
    • Leave with a boost of confidence, tools, and energy to increase the velocity and agility level of their organization on a daily basis


    We are experiencing a historic acceleration in the pace of change in our world. Artificial intelligence, digitization, robotics, 3D printing, social shifts, the rise of purpose-driven enterprises are reconfiguring how every conceivable industry operates. .

    These changes divide us into two camps: the “Disruptors” and the “Disrupted”.

    Four-time author, entrepreneur, and CEO Kaihan Krippendorff has spent over a decade studying the patterns of disruption. What makes companies thrive and what makes others fall behind? What gives some the power to shape the future and makes others struggle to keep up. Kaihan has applied his cutting-edge findings to create more than $2.5B in new value and help hundreds of businesses lean into change and thrive in tomorrows' fast-paced, digital, purpose-driven future. In this talk, Kaihan Krippendorff breaks down the underlying patterns of disruption and with compelling stories of successes, failures, and yet-unknown innovations, teaches practical tools to help you take action and become a Disruptor. Learnings and outcomes include…

    • The emerging trends that driving us into an era of disruption - from AI to digitizations - and how these will likely shape the future
    • How to use The Outthinker Process® to generate powerful ideas that can drive bottom-line results across all levels of the business
    • That strategic patterns and best practices that the world's most strategic and innovative companies use to thrive during the ongoing shift of global business structures and thinking
    • A systematic process you can use to overcome the "innovators' dilemma" and create breakthrough growth ideas that will disrupt your market without disrupting your organization
    • Empowered and inspired employees ready to take action to develop, test and scale innovative growth ideas


    Historically, we were taught corporations existed for one purpose: to maximize shareholder value. But companies are waking up to the realization that such a focus destroys shareholder value over the long term because it creates resistance to your growth.

    Four-time author, Entrepreneur, and CEO Kaihan Krippendorff’s proprietary research shows that today’s most successful companies more often speak of the strategic power of appealing to all stakeholders. If you design a strategy that benefits shareholders by also benefiting employees, the community, the country, and the environment, you have designed the ultimate strategy. When everyone wants you to win, you remove all competition. This idea goes beyond social responsibility. It points us toward removing the idea that doing good and making profit are inconsistent. You do not have to choose.

    By pulling together inspiring stories from organizations ranging from lesser-known jewels like Best Doctors, BrightFarms, and Holstee to leading socially directed corporations like IKEA, MasterCard, and Target, Kaihan will inspire and motivate the audience to rethink their role and how they interact with stakeholders, not just shareholders. The audience will learn…

    • The three primary goals of a “be good” socially minded strategy
    • Simple, yet effective tools and frameworks to apply and create your own “Do Good” strategy that complements your current organizational strengths and strategy
    • The next evolution of corporate social responsibility and how to embrace the shift toward a future where CSR is the norm
    • Empowered and inspired employees ready to take action to develop ideas, strategies, products, and programs that everyone benefits from

    What People are Saying about Seeing Kaihan Speak

    Rating Entries

    Kaihan spoke at our association's annual conference and crushed it! He shared great tools and insights for how we can not only think about, but take action to grow our businesses and adapt to the changing future. 10/10 fully recommend!


    Kaihan commanded the attention of the audience with insights from his amazing research in an entertaining and informative session!


    I saw Kaihan speak last weekend at our associations largest conference (held every 3 years). His speech inspired me and the rest of the audience to think about how my company can and should think about innovation, even if our industry has been largely unchanged for the past 100 years. Highly recommend him as a speaker.


    Great speech. Inspired our sales team and gave them some unique tools and a framework to think about agile decision making and innovation.


    A must have for any conference or event focuses on growth and competing in the digital age!


    Fantastic speaker with amazing stage presence. Great insights into how my organization can approach the future and innovate. Entertaining and humorous.


    Global Director, Leadership Programs, Microsoft

    Kaihan’s groundbreaking work on strategy development changes the game for organizations facing an increasingly competitive environment.

    Regional Director of Strategy, Wal-Mart

    Kaihan is very good at understanding the underlying patterns of strategy, then he trains the group to start recognizing these patterns, with time the strategic level of the group starts rising, generating breakthrough ideas that unleash untapped value.

    CAE Executive Director, Society for Human Resource Management

    Kaihan has the unique ability to frame questions in such a way that energizes a diverse group of leaders in strategic business planning. Through his guidance we were able to look at strategic issues for our board in unique ways that will have immediate application. He was quick to understand our issues and our mission and was an immense help in developing our strategy.

    Heather L. Davis
    President and Chief Investment Officer, Nuveen Private Investments

    Kaihan is a uniquely engaging speaker; he energizes and inspires. He uses cutting-edge business examples to make complex subjects simple, and offers the right balance of entertainment and deep insight.

    Chief Marketing Officer, L’Oreal USA (now Managing Director, Google)

    Kaihan provides practical methods to systematically analyze and intelligently manage the competition. This does not mean copying or even responding to the competition. It means precisely the opposite.

    CEO Gazelles inc., Founder Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), Author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits

    We’ve exposed thousands of executives of growth firms around the world to Kaihan Krippendorff’s concrete and practical stratagems for dealing with competitive threats and he’s been universally well received by our tough and discerning audiences.

    Five-time Tech Entrepreneur and Hyper-Growth CEO, NY Times Bestselling Author, Top-Choice Keynote Speaker on Innovation, Creativity, Reinvention, and Hyper-Growth Leadership

    Kaihan Krippendorff breaks down the complex into relevant, practical, and actionable insights that engage, entertain, and inspire your audience.

    US CEO, Publicis Worldwide, Retired: Author of The New Experts and The Inside Advantage

    Instant information, immediate price comparison, and an expanding breadth of customer choice are thrusting business leaders into a new era of competition. Kaihan’s fresh message opens minds and motivates strategic change in an era that demands change.

    Nobel Peace Prize Winner

    Kaihan shows that with a bold idea, anyone can change the world.

    Director of Global Customer Leadership, GE

    We invited Kaihan to address a global body of our top talent. He delivers cutting edge business concepts with his own unique tools in a way that inspires leaders to think differently. His professional approach, innovative concepts and deep knowledge of strategy holds up against the most sophisticated and experienced audiences.

    SVP, VITAS Healthcare Corporation

    Kaihan, has an innate ability to captivate his audience. He brings a fresh, unique and passionate perspective on strategy and leadership, his style is brilliant and engaging and he is clearly a rising star.

    Brand USA

    Kaihan’s speech for the Professional Convention Management Association left us inspired and wanting to change the world.

    CEO, IMEX Group

    We have had outstanding feedback from Kaihan’s sessions [at IMEX Frankfurt] and it was an honour to have him take part.

    A.C. Ganger
    Learning Chair 2017-‘18, EO Detroit

    Kaihan’s presentation was excellent, and highly rated by our membership. Not only did he educate and inspire us, but he left us with an actual framework to follow and engage our teams.

    Dan Leib
    CEO, Donnelley Financial Solutions

    Kaihan really understood the key messages we were trying to get across to our Senior Leadership team. He incorporated those key messages around strategy and innovation into his speech, which was energizing, practical and impactful.

    Heather Davis
    President an Chief Investment Officer, Nuveen Private Investments

    Kaihan is a uniquely engaging speaker; he energizes and inspires. He uses cutting-edge business examples to make complex subjects simple, and offers the right balance of entertainment and deep insight.

    Geraldine O’Brien
    Vice President of Communications, Newport Group

    Kaihan is a great communicator, who held the rapt attention of an audience of more than 200 financial services professionals from across the country. He opened our minds, made us think, and gave us actionable ideas that one could apply to their day-to-day lives.

    John R. DiJulius
    Keynote Speaker, Author, and President of The DiJulius Group

    Kaihan had over 700 business leaders captivated with his relevant content on how to build a business that disrupts your industry and distances yourself from your competition. He delivered!

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    Books by Kaihan Krippendorff:

    A “Fast Company” blogger and former McKinsey consultant profiles the next generation business strategists: the “Outthinkers.”

    “Outthinkers” are entrepreneurs and corporate leaders with a new playbook. They see opportunities others ignore, challenge dogma others accept as truth, rally resources others cannot influence, and unleash new strategies that disrupt their markets. “Outthink the Competition” proves that business competition is undergoing a fundamental paradigm shift and that during such revolutions, outthinkers beat traditionalists.

    “Outthink the Competition” presents stories of breakthrough companies like Apple, Google, Vistaprint, and Rosetta Stone whose stunning performances defy traditional explanation and will inspire readers to outthink the competition. Core concepts in the book include: Discover the Eight Dimensions of Disruption Learn to play by the Outthinker Playbook Develop the Five Habits of the Outthinker Implement the Outthinker Process
    It’s time to buck tradition in order to stay ahead. Outthink the competition and uncover opportunities hiding in plain sight.

    Hide a Dagger Behind a Smile

    Today’s global economy is a battleground. To survive and thrive, you’ll need every weapon you can get. Microsoft, Sony, and Starbucks use business practices based on the ancient Chinese military text The Thirty-Six Stratagems – now you can, too.

    Business is warfare. Western business has been inculcated in the belief that business is about win/win solutions. However, in today’s global marketplace there isn’t fairness – there are winners and losers. Today’s competitive terrain calls for new tactics as well as an understanding of how your opponents approach the world. Using ancient Eastern philosophy and military tactics from The 36 Stratagems, Hide a Dagger Behind a Smile shows how to create unpredictable corporate strategies.

    Weaving the story of each strategy with contemporary case studies from top business and strategic management schools, each chapter analyses a company’s situation, options, decisions and results. The book is divided into four parts: Polarity – explores the balance of opposing forces; Yielding – illustrates alternatives to confrontations; Continuous Change – shows how to thrive in fluid situations; and, Indirect Action – proposes alternatives to head-on conflict. Hide a Dagger Behind a Smile is a timely and timeless resource for executives and corporate strategists looking to win their most contentious battles.

    The Way of Innovation

    Inside The Way of Innovation, corporate strategist Kaihan Krippendorff explains how you can adapt and thrive by recognizing, understanding, and utilizing the ancient Asian approach to innovation. He illustrates how companies like Microsoft and Nokia use this powerful wisdom, and how you too can pass through the five stages of innovation:
    • Metal (Admit you are stuck)
    • Water (Conceive new winning options)
    • Wood (Assemble your resources)
    • Fire (Break out your innovation)
    • Earth (Make it sustainable)

    With this book, you have the ancient strategies you need to lead the way to a more productive – and profitable – future.

    The Art of the Advantage
    Contrary to commonly held beliefs, strength and resources play minor roles in a company s ability to beat the competition. Instead, the ability to conceive of unorthodox strategies that the competition will choose not to copy is the key to gaining a competitive edge. In “The Art of the Advantage,” former McKinsey & Co consultant Kaihan Krippendorff captures a decade of study into corporate conflict.

    He shows that the fundamental patterns that successful companies have used to outmaneuver their rivals are rooted in a set of ancient Chinese warfare metaphors known as “The 36 Stratagems.” “The Art of the Advantage” marries these ancient principles with modern application through graphical depictions, ancient examples, and modern case studies. More than a traditional business book, “The Art of the Advantage” is a manual for systematically outthinking the competition.

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