Dr. Niclas Adler

Niclas Adler has a long track-record as an academic entrepreneur both within and outside the university system. He has co-founded and managed research centres as Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship as a collaboration between Stockholm School of Economics, Royal Institute of Technology, Karolinska Institutet and University College of Arts, Crafts and Design performing education, research and information activities in entrepreneurship and business creation and FENIX Centre for Innovations in Management, as a collaboration between Stockholm School of Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Institute for Management of Innovation and Technology and Ecole des Mines de Paris. He has founded and managed international research programs as CARE - Competitive Advantage, Regulation and Environment in collaboration between Chalmers University of Technology, Stockholm School of Economics, Massachusetts Institute for Technology, Swiss Federal Institute for Technology, Tokyo University and Judge Business School, Cambridge University. He has also co-founded 14 companies, many as spin-outs from technical or medical universities. He is an active management consultant and advisor to many international companies and is a board member in seven companies. His latest position has been as President for a Biopharma company called Immune Therapy Holdings and he is also engaged in the faculties of Institute for Management of Innovation and Technology, Gothenburg, Ecole des Mines in Paris, Judge Business School, Cambridge and the Sunningdale Institute in London.

MODULE - Innovation and Business Creation in Science-based Contexts Bridging Boundaries to Break out from Rigidities


The course aims to equip students with the understanding of the logics of innovation and business creation in science-based contexts and to develop the students expertise to engage in such endeavors.

Short description

Science is built by step-wise legitimization of new knowledge while successful innovation and business creation most often is based on major rethinking and reshaping of existing and dominating thinking. This creates a set of challenges both to identify, to allocate necessary resources to and to capture opportunities in science-based contexts as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and nanotechnology. Dominating science-based both private and public organizations tend to become major obstacles in realizing the full potential of any major innovation or business creation activity. Even if opportunities may be recognized by the organizations, few resources will be allocated to realize these opportunities and even if some resources will be allocated it is very hard to pursue the activity in a successful way within or in partnerships between dominating organization. Dominating opinion-leaders as scientists, major funders of research and R&D managers in leading organizations also tend to become major obstacles in realizing the full potential of these innovations and business creation activities. There is a strong tendency to over-value extrapolation of earlier successful activities and focus and in the same time under-value new (and often perceived as unknown) opportunities – especially the ones that challenges the present assumptions, frameworks and approaches. In the same time innovation and business creation in science-based contexts as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and nanotechnology provides immense global opportunities and possibilities for both fast international roll-out and a scalability that enables growing profitability. Hence, it is of vital importance for individual entrepreneurs, organizations, regions and nations to develop their ability to master innovation and business creation in science-based contexts Students will learn how to implement new concepts and practice newly acquired skills in specially designed, integrated simulation exercises or “concept plans” (learning by doing and sharing learning with peers). Students organized in teams are required to write a “concept plan” whose main contents are: Concept description of an innovation and/or business creation activity in a science-based context Value proposition both to existing actors and opinion-leaders as well as to new actors and customers Plan for international implementation and roll-out Business model, revenues and profitability under different scenarios Workshops with leading authorities as guest speakers are conducted regularly.

Course Structure

Part 1 – The character of science-based contexts Assumptions and frameworks that drives science and science-based contexts. Dominating principles for how to manage activities in science-based contexts Explanations for organizational and individual rigidities Part 2 – The logic of innovation and business creation in science-based contexts Opportunity recognition, opportunity selection and opportunity capture Opportunity creation to break rigidities Diffusion and sustainability in organizations and through global markets Part 3 – Managing and governing innovation and business creation in science-based contexts Myths and assumptions about management, leadership and governance in science-based contexts Managerial capacity: motivations and attributes Management opportunities Management across boundaries and groups of stakeholders Management creativity and management innovations Models and approaches for a successful management