One student’s perspective on Technology, Entrepreneurship and Design in Sweden: Bryan Mucke (BL/Wellesley)
What are your favorite memories of your time in Stockholm?
What are some practical lessons and takeaways you learned in the course?
Student Quotes & Testimonials
"My visit to the city Stockholm and the myriad of opportunities presented to me there has added a lot of value to my entrepreneurial thought and action because I was able to live nothing but that for an intense one week period. I learned to seize the opportunity to study a problem with an open mind, quiet my own biases and dive deeper into the issue at hand layer by layer without jumping to a solution. I got the opportunity to engage with total complete strangers in a different country and environment, learned to embody empathy when speaking to them even with language barriers, and also learned the value of appreciating sacred silence even in a public space. Swedish culture values quiet, privacy and respecting people’s personal space, and for the first time in my life, I was forced to challenge myself to be more quiet, listen and observe more and really enjoy the sound of nobody speaking even on a public train. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it helps you hear and listen to your thoughts better, and see and appreciate things you otherwise would’ve missed." - Salimata Bangoura (Sweden Elective Abroad - May 2019)
"If you’re looking for a relaxing, one-week vacation in Stockholm as an easy way to knock out some elective units, I’d recommend looking elsewhere. Prof. Phil Kim has managed to put together an intensive one-week business design sprint that had us feeling like chickens with our heads cut off on the first day, and seasoned innovation experts by the final presentation. The speed and quality of growth I saw in myself and my classmates in such a short span of time was truly amazing, and I credit that to Prof. Kim’s vision and the seamless collaboration with our local partner school, the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship. We were given a great deal of autonomy to perform our field research throughout the city, and a variety of frameworks to test our observations and assumptions against. The dinners were great, the alumni event was amazing, but the thing I will never forget is Sweden’s world famous “fika,” the Swedish analog to an American coffee break, sans the smartphones and laptops. Despite the hectic schedule, we still found time to sit down for 30 minute coffee breaks with local Swedes to have rich, meaningful conversations about art, business ideas, and culture - that, to me, was more enlightening than any cookie cutter organized tour. If you’re looking for a hands-on experience that will boost your confidence in design thinking, there’s no better place to be than Stockholm with Prof. Kim." - Ryan Sadamitsu (Sweden Elective Abroad - May 2019)
"Sweden was an accelerated learning experience through boots on the ground observations, interviews, and collaboration with the local Stockholm students to design a meaningful solution to address disabled tourist accessibility. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to work with students from the 5 major universities to better learn about the local culture and work through details of product and service design with the end user as the ultimate stakeholder. The lessons learned extend beyond the project and directly apply to all aspects of my personal and professional – namely, don’t jump to conclusions. Although I think it is also important to listen to intuition and rely on personal experience and expertise, it’s also imperative to be aware on one’s own bias and be courageous to venture outside of a comfort zone to push to new levels of innovation.
One of the cultural insights gained was how socialism is not just a method government but it is ingrained into the Swedish culture. The best way to capture this is through “Lagom”, which literally means not too much and not too little; just the right amount. It is the equilibrium and balance that each person embodies, and this is felt in the culture and the city. It is a totally different way of life than in the USA, and it was very enlightening to see it firsthand." - Vanessa Aguilera (Sweden Elective Abroad - May 2019)
"Our elective course to Sweden was perhaps the most valuable professional development opportunity I have undertaken. It was a unique chance to step out of my bubble as well, as the team I was on was composed solely of students studying in San Francisco or Stockholm. I have been reflecting on four important takeaways since returning from the course:
1. The creative power of cross-talent and culturally diverse teams
2. Design as a necessary skill set that at least one person on every team should possess
3. Effective brainstorming
4. How much one can accomplish with a single goal and a tight deadline
This program can be marketed in a LinkedIn profile, resume, cover letter, or in an interview as an accomplishment that required teamwork, comfort with ambiguity, and creativity. If a small group who had just met can accomplish what we accomplished in one week, imagine what is possible for us as job candidates if given additional resources and more time. I would also highlight specific examples such as at Nordic House, where half of us participated in a short, two-hour brainstorming session that began with a problem and ended with believable yet creative solutions. Similarly, at Doberman, we each came up with an entrepreneurial idea within a matter of minutes while managing to a) establish a first step to how we can implement that idea with existing resources b) set a deadline and c) install an accountability system. Therefore, these activities taught us that entrepreneurial success can be applied anywhere as long as we adhere to the three-step waltz of brainstorming problems and solutions, prototyping, and committing, all while keeping to an agreed-upon schedule and deadlines. Therefore, in adhering to the maxim of “show, don’t tell” we each have at least three examples in our pockets that show our creativity, efficiency, and ability to work under pressure." - Daniel Lowe (Sweden Elective Abroad - May 2019)