Today I met with Niklas Zennström to discuss IT, entrepreneurship and Sweden’s climate to allow for innovation and growth. Of course, we came to talk quite a lot about the role of our universities in the context. Niklas confessed that when when he was a student, the university didn’t do anything in particular to encourage and supporte him in his entrepreneurship. It wasn’t before he came to Kinnevik that he learned what he needed in order to develop his innovative ideas and put them into thriving businesses. He said, however, that universities really have developed in this area since then and that it is now much better.
In the IT field, he said, entrepreneurship is largely based on product development and not so much on research as it does, for example, in the life science field. Therefore, the terms and conditions of entrepreneurship in IT is completely different, and this is something we should take with us when we are thinking about IT, innovation and entrepreneurship at our universities.
Finally, he said, probably unaware of the field that I come from, that “the interaction between people and technology, behavioral sciences, design and other interdisciplinary initiatives is probably where the IT industry, most will grow and prosper in the future” – it warmed ☺