Carl Stormer: Topics and talks

Norwegian Carl Størmer (pronounced “Stermer”), an award-winning speaker, talks on a wide range of topics.  A common theme is complexity, collaboration and creativity, embodied in the Jazzcode;  how to stay flexible and influence outcomes when out of control, working in near-real time.

Carl Størmer gives talks, teaches classes and play jazz.

Carl has a varied background in music, teaching and business, and can tailor his message to a number of specific themes applicable across industries.  Typical themes with which he is comfortable deals with strategies in a complex world: Collaboration, crisis management, structured thinking, creativity, innovation, complexity, attention management, learning strategies.

COLLABORATION.  Growing up with jazz, Carl always wondered how jazz musicians could collaborate without rehearsals.  After years studying and playing jazz, he coined the term The Jazzcode to encompass the stack of practices needed to facilitate instant teamwork.  In this talk, Carl, using stories from his years as a jazz musician, consultant and manager in large and small organizations, he unpacks the Jazzcode.  He describes the preparation, use of attention and configuration for flexiblity needed to influence outcomes when a complex real-time interaction among players excludes the use of scripts and preplanned responses. Carl, himself an accomplished musician, often brings local musicians on stage to show the Jazzcode in a powerful performance, half talk, half concert.  Typical duration: 60-90 minutes.  Can also be extended to a workshop, using the case Carl wrote for Harvard Business School in 2009 about Miles Davis. See a samle of a talk here.

Lars Jansson and Dave Friedman playing with Jazzcode at a CEO summit for a public company at “Blue Train”, a jazz venue in Berlin, Germany.

CRISIS MANAGEMENT.  When Carl´s wife had a massive stroke in 2009, Carl had prior experience with medical emergencies because he and his wife had spent ten months in an intensive care unit with two critically ill premies.  He knew how to be a caretaker in a crisis, and 2016 the Stormer family had its fourth round of crisis, Carl started to take stock of what he had learned that could be useful in other contexts.  This talk explores what we can learn from crisis, how we can prepare for unexpected events, and how to make the most out of the opportunitites emerging from sudden change.   He talks about crisis-blogging (what to do and not to do), the importance of sharing information in a crisis, how to prioritize, what to amplify when everything you care about is on the line, and the struggle to accept vulnerability and accept help.  Flexible duration:  25-60 minutes.

STRUCTURED THINKING.  With more specialization, connectivity and reliance on technology, experts struggle to communicate complex insight to others.  Busy decisions makers on the other hand, often struggle to understand the underlying issues when making big decisions.   This talk is based on Carl´s experience as a founder presenting to potential investors (he raised $15M in four rounds  with a partner for his startup and helped IPO Norwegian Airshuttle) and 15 years experience training management consultants, financial analysts and managers (at PwC, KPMG, DNB, Danske Bank and others), on how to structure ideas for maximum impact.  The talk, which can be expanded to 1/2 day, a full day or even a two day class, combines ideas from database design, film production and consulting methods.  Carl shows how to manage the attention of busy writers, readers and listeners by using sound structures, logical order and full sentences as a method to develop and communicate insight.  The full course helps experts process and relay insight in a way that enables leaders to make better decisions, and it also enables busy readers to speed-read long documents and more easily pinpoint bad structure and faulty logic. Flexible duration – from 15 minutes to two days.

Executives at a training session with Carl Størmer.

CREATIVITY.  Carl grew up with on of Norway´s leading contemporary artists, Sidsel Paaske (1937-1980).  Paaske, recently rediscovered 35 years after her death, was showcased at a six month retrospective exhibition at Norways National Galleries in 2016/17.  Through his mother´s images,  Carl tells the story of her life, her art and her method in a way that makes it relevant for anyone interested in creativity, innovation and learning.  He shows how an improvised work of art is a web of options and how we can all build continous improvement into our work by learning from this artist whose motto was, We play while we practice.  Duration:  15-60 minutes.  

“Hold On To Your Own Thing” – Sidsel Paaske 1973

INNOVATION.  When Carl and a friend raised 5M$ and founded an internet company, StudentUniverse (later sold for 35M$ to Flight Centre), Carl already had built a reputation at IBM, his previous employer, as a go-to person for creativity, innovation and digital strategies. In this talk, Carl tells the story about innovation inside a start-up where extreme changes in the external environment forced to company to reinvent itself and its offerings several times over to survive in a market where most competors ran out of funding before they managed to become profitable.  Duration: 15-60 minutes.  

COMPLEXITY.  With more connectivity, automation and specialization, work involving complex interactions is the fastest growing part of the labor force, according to McKinsey & Co.  Yet, complex interactions, involving tacit knowledge and professional judgement rather than rules and plans, are poorly understood.  In this talk, Carl reflects upon some of the less obvious examples of complexity such as language, text, abstract art and jazz .  He talks about what it means to work live, the trade-off between efficiency and flexibibility, and what it means for how we organize work in organisations.  Duration: 15-60 minutes.  

ATTENTION MANAGEMENT.  Attention, more than time, is the scarce resource in complex interactions because a changing environment requires us to understand the context before we can influence it.  In this talk, Carl introduces a simple yet powerful fractal model for managaging attention in organizations, teams and individuals.  The power of the model is that it can be applied immediately by making teams aware of how mental capacity is being wasted and how it can be used more efficiently in complex interactions.  The model applies traditional principal of efficiency to attention to balance our ability to both sense AND respond when faced with complexity.  Duration: 15-60 minutes or 1/2 day interactive workshop.  

LEARNING STRATEGIES.   Since 2004, Carl has trained consultants, analysts and project teams in structured thinking and writing.  Before that, he taught jazz drummers at Norways´s leading conservatory, Norges Musikkhøgskole.  Based on teaching techniques from performing arts and business, and experience from his own lateral moves — from Wall Street to music to IBM to startup to airline executive — Carl has developed his own teaching method and learning strategy that turbo-charge learning and value of existing expertise. Instead of teaching new skills, he capitalizes on making people aware of new ways to apply existing skills, a much faster way to proficiency.  In this talk, Carl talks about his teaching philosophy and how it can be used to build continous learning into any organization by expanding the value of existing skills through diligent daily practice routines.  Duration:  15-60 minutes.  

Carl Størmer was the highest ranked speaker at this two days event for Chief Information Officers in Brussels, Belgium

Click here if you want to inquire about a talk, training or concerts with Carl Størmer or call him at +4792280846.


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