Petter Kilefors and Kavian Ferdowsi: Cultivating a Positive Change through Collaborative Leadership Approach

Petter Kilefors and Kavian Ferdowsi: Cultivating a Positive Change | The Enterprise World

Leveraging the ever-evolving market trends to keep moving in the right direction is vital to making modern businesses successful. In such volatile environments of today, organizations need expert help, often external, to objectively analyze the situations and execute a plan to meet the organizational needs efficiently.

Led by this need for expertise, management consultants are in demand across the globe, helping businesses through tailored solutions. However, consulting firms also face challenges of their own and require balancing client satisfaction and achieving employee growth.

Petter Kilefors is a leader who has continually struck this balance for several years. As a Managing Partner at Arthur D. Little, Petter advises private and public organizations with strategy and innovation to tackle challenges across sectors. Our next leader, Kavian Ferdowsi, Founder of the non-profit organization Hemlö, helps homeless people 365 days a year.

Among the distinguished ranks of Iconic Business Leaders, there are individuals for whom success extends beyond the confines of business, encompassing a profound sense of purpose. These leaders merit acknowledgment for their exceptional contributions to leadership and entrepreneurship, particularly in the realm of human rights movements.

The United Nations has underscored homelessness as a global human rights crisis, citing its multifaceted nature. It involves the absence of a home in both physical and social dimensions, systemic discrimination leading to social exclusion and stigmatization, and a fundamental struggle for survival and dignity. In response, there is a collective call for change and action. Burning Man and its 10 principles – including radical inclusion, gifting and communal effort – has also served as a source of inspiration.

In the cover story below, you’ll witness the differences and similarities in Mr. Kilefors and Mr. Ferdowsi’s perspectives as they share their experiences of leading their organizations and often collaborating with each other to reach new heights, making them one of the most iconic leaders to watch out for in 2024.

Embracing the Responsibility

1. Petter Kilefors’s perspective: 

The responsibilities of an entrepreneur lie in articulating their vision into reality and sharing the joys and challenges with others on the journey. True entrepreneurs are highly committed to serving those in need, constantly generating new ideas, and embracing responsibility rather than dodging it.

Building human relationships, fostering friendships, and valuable contributions are cornerstones of authentic entrepreneurship. For Petter Kilefors, the journey itself is as important as the destination.

2. Kavian’s Perspective:

Kavian’s efforts for the homeless have garnered attention locally in Sweden and on the international stage. His perspective on business extends beyond profit to encompass a non-profit ethos, dedicated to the well-being of people. 

Having experienced homelessness in his own life, he made it a mission to serve the homeless. His connection with Petter Kilefors and Arthur D. Little over the past decade has grown into a genuine and mutually respectful mentor relationship, through collaboration in various initiatives.

According to him, an entrepreneur leads people toward a common goal. In his organization, this involves serving the homeless as the primary target group while motivating volunteers, partners, and donors to join the cause. Establishing clear values and ground rules is crucial, guiding the organization and its members beyond practical support. 

Illustrious Professional Journey

1. Petter Kilefors’s perspective: 

Petter Kilefors began his professional journey as a part-time freelancer for a newspaper. In 1996, he came across the management consulting arena while studying in Rotterdam. After a short time, he joined Arthur D. Little, which opened various doors to impactful projects, including developing the first business plan for a healthcare client that became a significant entity.

With some 350 clients and 650 projects under my belt, I’ve engaged with various stakeholders, ranging from investors to governments and enterprises.

Joining Arthur D. Little at a young age, Petter Kilefors faced challenges of inexperience and a lack of specialist competence. However, shifting his focus on aspects like collaboration and complementary work allowed him to overcome challenges to achieve personal success and help the clients succeed.

After joining Arthur D. Little, he rose to the position of Partner in a record time of six years and laid the groundwork for business activities in Private Equity and the Public Sector. Working across various sectors, engaging in DEI initiatives, and contributing to pro-bono work highlight his significant achievements.

2. Kavian’s Perspective:

Initiating hemlö in 2010, Kavian has devoted 14 years of his life to serving the homeless. From a personal experience of homelessness after leaving Iran, he decided to give back to society once he got back on his feet. Over the years, he has accomplished projects like the Cultural House for Homeless, Homeless Hero Gala, and Homeless Day. Moreover, Kavian has authored a book on the homeless and the coronavirus and 20 rules for peace.

Achieving the Maximum

1. Petter’s perspective: 

The values of empowerment, compassion, and tough love define Petter Kilefors’s leadership. He primarily focuses on fulfilling the dreams of his people and aims to foster a transformative culture, leading a team of remarkable individuals who consistently produce excellent results.

“I am a big fan of the ubuntu philosophy – I am because we are. The team and the society is bigger than the individual – divided there is little we can do, united there is little we cannot do”

2. Kavian’s Perspective:

Operating with a network of warm-hearted volunteers who share a common vision and a commitment to help the vulnerable, Kavian’s leadership involves co-creation, belief, and trust. The unique culture of helping minds, hands, and hearts sets histeam apart.

“To help the homeless is choosing the light of solidarity instead hiding in the dusk of ignorance”

Achieving Continuous Success 

1. Petter Kilefors’s Perspective: 

Founded in 1886, Arthur D. Little is the first management consultant company in the world and operates across 40+ countries. The firm prides itself on innovation and ambidexterity in addressing the problems related to strategy, technology, and innovation. Currently, the organization has grown significantly and employs 1500-2000 people. 

The firm operates on an open consulting business model—an approach where ideas, expertise, and cutting-edge insights flow freely to form dynamic ecosystems that create exciting new possibilities. Arthur D. Little connects you to a global network of more than 6 million experts globally who understand where opportunities lie.

The organization pairs the collective intelligence of its network with ground-breaking artificial intelligence to build the complete ecosystems needed to succeed from the outset—creating integrated, dynamic teams with the right tools to meet any challenge.

Staying true to your values and principles is vital to enduring success. With a “client-first” approach, Arthur D. Little has contributed to historical achievements such as assisting NASA in putting a man on the moon. The organization is deeply rooted in the belief that all men are created equal and one must not judge people by their origins, the color of their skin, sexual preferences or gender. 

Arthur D. Little welcomes diversity, equity, and inclusion in the true sense. It is part of the culture that ensures long-standing success.

2. Kavian’s Perspective:

According to Kavian, self-belief, conviction, and a willingness to take conscious risks are key to achieving long-standing success. To overcome obstacles in the success journey, trusting people, leveraging creativity, and embracing challenges are vital factors.

The culture of sharing and perseverance are key to our long-standing success.

Advice for the Budding

Entrepreneurship is a challenging journey with ups and downs. Embrace the roller coaster, believe in yourself and your ideas, and learn from mistakes. Seek common ground with fellow entrepreneurs, and remember that the journey is as important as the destination. Share your passion.

Petter Kilefors and Kavian Ferdowsi: Cultivating a Positive Change | The Enterprise World

Arthur D. Little

Founded: 1886
Industry: Management Consulting 
Organization size: ca 1500-2000 employees + a wide network of contractors
Headquarters: Virtual, legally Brussels, Belgium
Type: Partnership


Founded: 2010
Industry: Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) management
Organization size: The Founder + core team of 15 volunteers, peak of 300 volunteers at events
Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden
Type: Nonprofit organization


Arthur D. Little:

Arthur D. Little makes a difference for its clients by finding original and pragmatic ways to accelerate performance, innovate through digital and convergence, and make a positive impact on the world.

  • Corporate Finance
  • Digital Shift
  • Digital Problem Solving
  • Information Management
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Operations Management
  • Organization & Transformation
  • Risk
  • Strategy
  • Sustainability
  • Technology & Innovation Management


  • Every day the organization helps homeless people who have spent the night outside, most of them have not had a proper sleep. They meet the volunteers in the morning for the daily breakfast distribution and then they can come and get counseling, toilet money, or help with medicine.


Arthur D. Little

The organization helps people across multiple industries look at their business in a new light – capitalizing on the possibilities of the future while managing modern challenges.

  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Automotive
  • Chemicals
  • Consumer Goods & Retail
  • Energy & Utilities
  • Financial Services
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Industrial Goods & Services
  • Oil & Gas
  • Private Equity
  • Public Services
  • Telecommunications, Information Technology, Media & Electronics (TIME)
  • Travel & Transportation

10 Burning Man Principles

1. Radical Inclusion:

  • All are welcome without prerequisites.
  • Embrace and respect strangers as part of the community.

2. Gifting:

  • Devotion to unconditional acts of gift giving.
  • Gifts are not based on expectation of return or exchange.

3. Decommodification:

  • Create social environments free from commercial influence.
  • Resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

4. Radical Self-reliance:

  • Encourage individuals to rely on inner resources for self-discovery and growth.

5. Radical Self-expression:

  • Unique expressions are gifts, determined solely by individuals or collaborating groups.
  • Respect the rights and liberties of recipients.

6. Communal Effort:

  • Value creative cooperation and collaboration.
  • Promote and protect social networks, public spaces, art, and communication.

7. Civic Responsibility:

  • Value civil society and public welfare.
  • Organizers assume responsibility for events in accordance with laws.

8. Leaving No Trace:

  • Respect the environment and leave no physical trace of activities.
  • Clean up and leave places in a better state than found.

9. Participation:

  • Commitment to a radically participatory ethic.
  • Transformative change occurs through personal participation.
  • Everyone is invited to work and play to make the world real through actions.

10. Immediacy:

  • Value immediate experience as a touchstone of cultural value.
  • Overcome barriers to inner selves, reality, societal participation, and connection with the natural world.

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