Today the EIT ICT Labs CLC in Stockholm hosted a talk on innovation and entrepreneurship by Nicklas Lundblad. He is Public policy officer at Google, and also an adjunct professor at KTH.

The discussion touched on different topics related to innovation, with a focus on what Google is doing.

As Lundblad said, innovation needs to be useful, therefore it’s important to take a look at how it can be embedded in society. When innovations fail to address people’s needs, they face rejection. For example, Google Glass has been considered a failure under many aspects. The company eventually realised that they were not a viable consumer product, because there was no use case in which people would be willing to use them. On the other hand, certain contexts (e.g. medical practice, construction workers, etc.) proved to be more fruitful.

Lundblad also talked about how government policy can influence the trajectory a company takes and this is especially relevant to Google, which has been under scrutiny in Europe. Legislators argue that the company has a de-facto monopoly in the search market, while they say to be in the “information discovery market”, which is much broader and where competition is more than abundant. While definitely clever, this position only circumvents the issue at stake and I don’t think it is acceptable to have big corporations try to dictate policies and basically undermine regulations in the name of a better market. It is true that the lack of a single digital market has consequences on the entrepreneurial efforts of Europe, as Lundblad highlighted, but the solution is not as easy as Google might make it seem.

The discussion also focused on what innovation really is, and using Google’s mission statement as a reference, Lundblad concluded that it could be said that innovation really is about organising information. In that sense, Google is trying to keep innovating by moving in always new territories.

Overall, this was an extremely interesting event, that nicely touched on many topics we discussed and read about during the course.

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