Rebel of the month

Every month we celebrate a Corporate Rebel who went the extra-mile: in helping our movement, in completing a hack, in pulling together a value practice, or doing something really awesome in the organisation they work for. “Rebel of the Month” is recognition for a Corporate Rebel exposing the sort of behaviours we would like to encourage in our movement.

April 2015

Our “Rebel of the Month” for April 2015 is Steve Jennings from Malmö, Sweden.


Steve is high-energy. He walks and talks fast. He acts fast. He dares to be great and take on big bets. He is for good and for better.

Most people associate Steve with business and social entrepreneurship, but in reality he’s probably more of an artist and adventurer, who most of the time just happens to be creating art and adventuring in a business context.

Steve’s background is varied and original. On the surface it may appear as if he’s had 9 different careers. The one constant in everything that he does is that it’s an extension of who he really is deep down inside. For Steve, it’s never been about a job or a career, it’s more about a calling.

Steve grew up in Hull in the north east of England in the 1960’s and 70’s. His journey has taken him from studying to be an engineer, to realizing his boyhood dream of becoming a professional road racing cyclist, to working as an investment broker with Lloyds – TSB, to founding Maxim one of Europe’s leading sports nutrition companies, to helping found the Canadian open-source non profit organization Bicycles for Humanity, to becoming one of the founding members of PepsiCo’s global good-for-you nutrition innovation team, to founding the youth empowerment initiative zyOzy Foundation, to developing GoodCred a complimentary currency platform, to co founding Better Ventures a company focused on bringing crowdsourcing innovation, marketing participation and intelligence commercialization to companies and brands with a global footprint.

Steve is the entrepreneur in residence at Lund Universities Open Innovation Center, where he’s focused on developing new models aimed at bringing about the radical change in attitudes that are needed during times of unprecedented social, economic, environmental, demographic, and political uncertainty. In addition to this role he also mentors students enrolled on the Masters of Entrepreneurship program at Lund University.

Steve’s personal mantra is; build paths for others to follow, share what you’ve learned and think like a pioneer.

“I create moments that give me a lot of freedom; physically, emotionally and creatively. The only way for me to remain relevant is to consistently help other people and companies to create value. For this to happen, I need to be out and about in the world, travelling, meeting and talking with a wide range of different and highly diverse people. It is a way of thinking, and a way of being as a person.” – Steve Jennings 2015.

When he is not travelling, you can find Steve in his home in Malmö in the south of Sweden, or online at the following destinations.

Please join me in congratulating Steve for being chosen as our April 2015 Rebel of the Month.

March 2015

Our “Rebel of the Month” for March 2015 is Steve Chapman from Esher, Surrey, United Kingdom.

Steve Chapman - March 2015 (Hi res colour)

Steve is fascinated by human beings, how they interact, fall out, make up, change and create stuff together. Before becoming an independent consultant, writer and coach he spent 20 years in the corporate world, his last role being Director of Leadership and Organisation Development for a large global blue chip. It was during this time that he became intrigued by the difference between what is supposed to happen in organisations versus what actually happens. He started to notice how many of the unquestioned corporate traditions (such as strategy, structure, change management, governance, meetings etc.) actually constrained the very things that organisations need to survive and thrive in the future – imagination, creativity, spontaneity and innovation. He decided to dedicate his work to making sense of all of this and thereby transformed his corporate career into creative adventure.

can scorpions smoke 2

Steve’s book Can Scorpions Smoke? Creative Adventures in the Corporate World (Amazon Associates Link) invites those who work in these things we call organisations to pause, look around and become more curious as to what extent day to day habits, norms, behaviours and beliefs stifle our own creativity and that of others. At its heart it encourages experimentation and playfulness in the belly of corporate life and offers a number of personal and organisational practices that gently dampen the psychological and social fear that keeps everything rather stuck, dull and grey.

Six Creative Practices at the heart of “Can Scorpions Smoke?”

  • Mad, bad and wrong: Letting go of our need to be perpetually seen as sane, good and right.
  • Say “yes” (to the mess): Letting go of saying “no” to novelty and brave new experiences.
  • Be obvious/be altered: Letting go of a need to be perceived as clever, original and impervious to the influence of others.
  • Fail Happy: Letting go of our need to perpetually succeed and our habit of avoiding the unknown through fear of messing up.
  • Embody it: Challenging the dictatorship of the logical brain and building a deeper trust with our physical and emotional instincts.
  • Make others look good: Championing and nurturing the creative spirit of others.

Chapman himself endeavours to practice what he preaches and continually tries to push the boundaries of his work through experimentation on the boundaries his own comfort zone. To this end he has run masked corporate innovation workshops, delivered off the wall, highly participative keynote speeches (one dressed as a pirate for example), taken his coaching clients on spontaneous ‘inexpert’ tour guide experiences and he launched his book by going busking on the banks of the Thames.

His current research interest is “The Failure Project” which aims to deconstruct the concept of failure through studying the rich experience of screwing up in excruciating slow-motion!

Steve is Chief Adventurer at Can Scorpions Smoke Change a Creativity Ltd. He has worked with a wide range of organisations and individuals helping them through times of change by nurturing their imaginative, creative and spontaneous talents. He is a regular speaker on change, creativity and innovation and is visiting faculty at Ashridge Business School and the Metanoia Institute. He is the author of “Can Scorpions Smoke? Creative Adventures in the Corporate World” – an acclaimed book on personal and organisational creativity. He is a blogger, a runner, an improviser and Daddy to Maya, aged 8, who is his Chief of Imagination and illustrator of the book.

Steve is based in Esher, Surrey, UK

Please join us in congratulating Steve for being our March 2015 Rebel of the Month

February 2015

Our “Rebel of the Month” for February 2015 is Mukesh Gupta from Bangalore.


He is an entrepreneur at heart and employee by choice. He is a corporate rebel and a change agent.
His day job is with SAP India as Director – Customer Advocacy and his passion is to help small business owners and startup founders build the organization that they would be proud of.
His mission is to re-invent sales:
  • The ever connected, social and mobile world has transformed how people buy (from other people or from other businesses).
  • The social media revolution has given consumers and buyers power to talk back to brands.
  • The rapid growth of online commerce (e-commerce or m-commerce) raises a question mark on the existence of many sales professionals.
  • The sales processes and methodologies have not kept up with this transformation of the buyers world.

The way we sell, measure the performance of the sales executives, work with other parts of our organization needs to be transformed for the sales executives to not only remain relevant but thrive in this new reality.

Mukesh volunteered on the Corporate Rebels United website to lead a new set of Value creation practices for the sales organziations which can help them thrive and grow! Check out his page:

Mukesh is also a great example on using social media to reach out to his community: he blogs at and hosts his podcast – Pushing Beyond the Obvious (

Mukesh is an author, blogger and podcaster. He has written the world’s first business poem – Your Startup Mentor, available exclusively on Kindle.

Mukesh is based in India, Bangalore.

Please join us in congratulating Mukesh for being our Feb 2015 Rebel of the Month

January 2015

Our first “Rebel of the Month” in 2015 is Khurshed Dehnugara from London.

KD Headshot 3a

Khurshed has had two careers, ten years as a senior executive for a complex, global corporate followed by fifteen years coaching and facilitating those leading them. He describes himself in both cases as having one foot inside and one foot outside the established system and culture. He describes that position as one of a Challenger – akin to our concept of being a corporate rebel.

His latest book “Flawed but Willing – Leading Large Organizations in the Age of Connection” (Amazon Affiliate Link) has at its heart the premise that there is a different quality of leadership needed as our corporations move from an industrial age to one that is defined by connection. One that is defined by our flaws rather than our perfection, where power is a function of quality of contact rather than hierarchy. An age in which we are never able or expected to be in control and yet can generate more creativity and growth than the Industrial Age imagined was possible.

Flawed by Willing

The writing is full of stories as the primary currency of contact, a voice more aligned with contemporary fiction than traditional business writing. It is playful and vulnerable, reflecting both his and his clients flaws as they do the hard work of being a rebel in a corporate culture that often wants to reject them. And at the same time there is an optimism; a persistence that comes from knowing it was never going to be easy and that overcoming repetitive defeats is part of our work.

Khurshed has a shout of for Corporate Rebels United on page 35 of his book, reproducing our Manifesto and linking it back to his table of the way organizations are integrating the new age into the old one.

Industrial Age Age of Connection
Machine metaphor Environment metaphor
Inherently stable Inherently unstable
Efficient dominant Adaptability dominant
Leader as controller Leader as wizard
Control through sign-off Control through self policing
Teacher as expert Community as expert
Architects Artists
Perfectionism Fast failure
Hierarchy Network
Fleas live of elephants Fleas can kill elephants
High growth, minimal fluctuation Low growth, maximum fluctuation
Relatively closed-off, defended from the outside world Highly permeable to the outside world
Rigid but mostly secure employment Voluntary, flexible, insecure employment
Leader as jerk. Can survive and thrive across whole career Leader as jerk. Gets exposed and rejected quickly
Self-interest Collective Interest

Khurshed is Partner at Relume Ltd. He is based in London.

Please join us in congratulating Khurshed for being our Jan 2015 Rebel of the Month

April 2014

Our rebel of the month is Nadja Petranovskaja from Hamburg. She stepped forward to offer help to get our movement going. After many Skype calls with Petervan, both finally met in person in her loft in Hamburg for hacking our a 2014 action pan and a revamp of our website. She calls herself “Business Muse” and she is helping people find their true potential and actually DO! something with it, and getting actionable.

More about Nadja on her site (both German and English) here:

Nadja - Mut and Clarity

“Mut & Klarheit” stands for “Courage and Clarity”; “Aus taten folgen resultaten” means “doing leads to results”

Nadja studied Organizational Psychology. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Speaks and writes several languages (Russian, German, English, and probably more). Multi-skilled, she can take on transformation project, from strategy till execution. A real do-it-all. She works as independent from her studio in Hamburg, and she has a rich international experience in many big organisations like IBM, PWC, and DaimlerChrysler. She may even have some time available as a free agent to help you with your disruption projects.

Here is a picture of Nadja creating the video for the first hack, when we were meeting in Hamburg in March 2014.

Nadja preparing hack video



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