Director of Ian Richardson, Assistant Proffesor & Executive & Commissioned Education
Director of Ian Richardson, Assistant Proffesor & Executive & Commissioned Education

Please tell us about your background and research area.

I have a background in the media and internet sectors having run a number of businesses in the UK and across Europe. I came to academia quite late, by some standards, but my research interests were very much motivated by my experiences in the digital information sector – specifically, the ever closer harmonization of market and political agendas.

You have studied the Bilderberg People and elite power and consensus in world affairs- why did you become interested in this topic?

For some time, I’d been fascinated by how our systems resist change and, critically, the question of whether transformational change is possible at all. In particular, I wanted to understand the role of market forces in resisting and, where necessary, unlocking the capacity for change. Our societies are held together by powerful narratives that are beyond the strategizing reach of most people – instead, we look to our elites to interpret, negotiate and articulate meaning on our behalf. Given the appalling mess we find ourselves in today, I wanted to know more of what motivates these forces.

You have vast experience of managing and developing businesses in the publishing and internet sectors - how do you use this in your teaching and research?

I think vast might be overstating it but, given the infant nature of the industry, I guess I am something of an old-hand. One of the things I’ve noticed in business schools generally is a slightly “rose tinted” view of business and, in particular, entrepreneurship in innovation sectors. One benefit of having experienced it is that I’m able to debunk some of the myths around the subject and present a rather more critical perspective. At the same time, I try to encourage students to see and act on opportunities – rather than constantly trying to create something with the elusive “god particle”. So many opportunities are about motivation and “doing”.

What do you enjoy the most- teaching, researching or running a business?

And the right answer would be..? I like to do all three.

You have teaching experience from both Sweden and the UK, have you noticed any difference in study climate and between students in the two countries?

I was struck almost immediately by the work ethic and seriousness of Swedish students - but, over time, I’ve begun to appreciate the differences more. British students tend to be more vocal and, in general terms, more openly competitive. I don’t really want to stereotype because there are exceptions on both sides – one thing I will say is that both appear to share an unhealthy love of bars.

What advice would you give today’s students?

Don’t work for a bank..