The Confused CEO’s Guide to 21st Century Organisations is a cartoon book (comic book) about business buzzwords everybody uses but no-one can explain: complexity, agile, design thinking, organisational culture, innovation and self-management.

The story is told through the eyes of a confused CEO who is trying to make sense of it all. Each chapter is also a stand-alone explanation.

The book also pokes fun at industrial era management practices. The underlying message is that of hope – not cynicism.

It’s about the Big Shift in management thinking

At a deeper level the book is about the paradigm shift, (argh, I used the word paradigm), that is happening in organisational thinking: we are slowly moving away from the idea of Tayloristic “efficiency machines” towards agile, networked organisations.
It won’t advocate the abandonment of efficiency thinking – it simply can’t be the only way of thinking about business and organisations.

Calling all consultants, intrapreneurs, design thinkers, agile coaches and organisational rebels

It’s first and foremost intended as a communication tool for the “converted” who can use it to explain the issues to their clients/colleagues/bosses (the non-converted) so they can see what needs to change. But it a non-threatening, fun way.
(It might also work as a therapeutic intervention in your moments of doubt: “will the organisational revolution ever come?!”)

Want to support the book?

If you like the concept – pledge your support on the book crowdfunding site Unbound! Also you get useful rewards – see below.
I’m especially looking for one more organisation that would like to be one of the sponsors of the book. Email me for details: virpi (at)

What you get as a supporter: cartoon image library, customised books…

Taylorism cartoon

Snippet from the chapter on self-management (here caricaturing Tayloristic management practices)

You can support the book as a company or an individual. The rewards are as follows:

  • Image bank of ALL the cartoons in the book and a license to use them in your work!
    (a good deal if you talk about these themes regularly)
  • Books. From a single copy to a bulk order of 10, 30 or 50 copies
  • Customised books. You can get a batch of customised books with your company logo on the cover and a message on the back cover. A gift your clients/potential clients find hard to ignore.
  • Workshops / talks. The workshop is about using the comic strip format to make sense of a problem and the talk is on the power of the drawn line.
  • There are also limited options for corporate sponsorship – message me for details (virpi(at)

Go to my Unbound crowdfunding page to learn more and pledge:

What happens if I hit/don’t hit the crowdfunding goal?

If the crowdfunding reaches its target the publisher behind the crowdfunding platform (Unbound) will push the book further. Maybe even all the way to airport bookshops where confused CEOs roam. I didn’t want to self publish because I want this book to spread as far as possible – and for that I need the distribution muscle of a real publisher. And if I don’t hit the goal? All money will be returned to you.

Why I think the concept works

I’ve been working within organisational change for many years now. My job is to explain and inspire through visual stories (comics, animations etc). In that line of work I see what people struggle to understand. I see senior managers google “what is agile” animations on their phones while listening to presentations about agile.

You might be asking yourself whether people take cartoons seriously? I think that’s the wrong question. A better question to ask is: will the cartoons have impact?

I would say yes. Probably more impact than all those very serious looking PowerPoint presentations with fancy graphs that people find intellectually appealing but that inspire no action, no shift in behaviour, no emotional response. There is something very visceral and gut level about cartoons, comics and humour (humour that is based on phenomena we can all observe in organisational setting).

There is a real, burning need for quick, easy to understand and fun visuals that cover the shift. Not just agile, not just design thinking, not just organisational culture – all of it. And link them together.

Who is this person anyway?

virpi oinonenI’m an artist and writer who wants to make a difference (and a living – hopefully those two can be combined). I used to work in digital campaigning where I learnt what tends to work when you need to get busy people to take action online. I’ve also experienced first hand both flat, goal driven organisations and those where office politics rule supreme (often at the expense of reaching actual business goals).

In other words I’ve seen what 20th century industrial management practices can do to people (and business) and I didn’t like what I saw.

Want to give feedback on the draft chapters?

Great! Drop me a line at virpi(at)

Thank you for your support!


PS. If you like the idea please share the news :).