Preparing for a Ph.D

I’m about to start my Ph.D. It’s late in life, as I’m turning 50 this year. So why go through this process this late in life? Well, first of all it’s something I’ve wanted to do all my life, a path I opted out of when I was young that I’ve always regretted. Now, the chance has opened up and I can’t wait to start delving deeper into the academic path.

I’ve lived with games my entire life and my entry into the ”gaming nerd community” has shaped much of my personal and professional life. The things you learn from games, analog as well as digital ones, are astounding. And as I’m doing my doctorate in the field of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, I will get to look at how games as an industry has evolved in Sweden. It’s important work, as the industry, specifically the computer games industry, is currently a larger Swedish export than timber and trucks. This has been done without much structured support on the national level from the public sector, but it’s also apparent that there are some growth pains in access to funding, structures for international expansion and access to education for the professions related to the industyr.

In addition, with my background firmly rooted in TTRPGs and boardgames, I’m looking forward to look at the various cultural and social aspects as well, such as how civic society and non-profit gaming clubs and the 1980s role-playing game industry has a clear role in the growth of the computer games industry. It is also likely that in some aspect, the educational system with free university and (from a global perspective) generous grants and loans for university students, may have contributed to the growth of start-ups. This aspect will also be interesting to look at. Finally, the many local and regional initiatives and hubs, the collaboration between universities, municipalities, regions and incubators to support the growing game industry will be an important aspect.

Much of the research in the games sector in Sweden today is focused either in Computer Science with a technological approach, or on the design/cultural aspects of everything from usability, design, storytelling and so forth. To be able to add to that academic body with increased research in the area of business and entrepreneurship will be interesting.

I will likely also continue to pursue some academic work in my master’s field of information systems, as the two are intertwined to an extent. Games and gaming are information systems-related to a high degree, with the interaction of technology and humans, and I believe this background will be interesting. I’m not going to abandon the field I’ve worked in during my master’s either with upskilling/reskilling and micro-credentials either, as it has a merit all in itself – in addition to being potentially applicable for the work in the Ph.D.

So I’ve spent the summer reading up on current research in the field of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and preparing for starting. On Monday the 15th, I will have my start-up meeting with my supervisors as I begin my work at Luleå Technical University. I hope this will also give me an opportunity to make a new version of my book about entrepreneurship and business failure. In English this time.

I hope that you will follow my journey through these years. Welcome!

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