Like Clockwork: Experts and Expertise in Stockholm’s Startup and Innovation Ecosystem


  • Angela Kristin VandenBroek



SthlmTech, Stockholm’s startup ecosystem, is famous for being an innovation hub that produces more billion-dollar startups per capita than anywhere else except Silicon Valley. This success, people within the community say, is down to the ecosystem of organizations and experts that facilitate the creation and growth of startups via a well-organized curriculum that guides entrepreneurs through the “business” of starting-up. In this article, I examine this understanding of the ecosystem as a neutral, smooth, and ordered apparatus for maximizing the speed and efficiency of innovation. Specifically, I challenge how this popular conception of the ecosystem conceptualizes expertise and experts as mechanistic components ready to be deployed along the path of entrepreneurs training. By analyzing the expertise of ecosystem experts in practice, this paper aims to demonstrate what the ecosystem curriculum foregrounds and what it obscures and how the ideas behind this curriculum shape much more than routine business procedure.

Author Biography

Angela Kristin VandenBroek

is an assistant professor of anthropology at Texas State University. She holds a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from Binghamton University in the Department of Anthropology. Additionally, she has worked as an applied anthropologist in design, branding, and information technologies since 2008. Broadly speaking, her work sits at the intersection of business and design anthropology and science and technology studies and focuses on how ambitions for better futures by states, citizens, and entrepreneurs are coopted and reformed by innovation culture and its infrastructures. She has conducted research in Stockholm Sweden’s startup and innovation ecosystem and is currently starting up research in the Texas Innovation Corridor.

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