Emelie Ekblad: Make A Difference
Emelie Ekblad graduated from the master’s programme in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management in 2015. She is the Co-Founder of MAD, a global community aiming to solve tomorrow's major societal challenges.
Hi Emelie, where are you working with at the moment?
I'm the Co-Founder and Partner at MAD (Make A Difference), together with Fiona Hazell. MAD is a global community of Changemakers and we believe it is the people who are mad enough to think they can change the world who actually do. We are convinced we won't solve today's challenges with the same mindset that created them, and even less so the challenges of tomorrow. We bring MAD people together to Make A Difference Today for Tomorrow. Seeing the overlooked, turning things on their head, exploring alternative realities and emerging futures; MAD is anchored in grass root movements and local young leaders across close to 40 countries and more than 50 organisations around the world. Collectively we are contributing to all of the United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to unlock the biggest societal challenges of our time.
What can a regular day look like at your job?
There are truly no "regular days”, or rather how the "regular days" look tend to vary extensively.
If we are working on site together with one of our MAD Changemakers and their ecosystems, the focus is to strategize and catalyse insights and impact around social innovation ranging in topics and locations such as sanitation and clean water in a refugee village in Uganda - to the future of edutainment with the purpose to encourage mutual integration working with teenagers in Andean cities and elderly community leaders in the Amazon.
If we are back home at the MAD HQ, the days tend to be filled with meetings with our MAD Changemakers and Partners around different projects and interventions, combined with local activities such as guest lectures, Think Tanks, Hackathons, Meet-ups, and development of content such as The MAD Podcast, articles or the coming book. The portfolio of different activities is put together to drive the change we want to see in both comprehensive in depth formats (like the onsite work described above) - to more easily accessible and scalable products and services, such as the podcast.
Have you worked with anything else since you graduated?
My background ranges from working with brands such as Sony, LG, and Microsoft, institutions like the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation as well as numerous Start-ups. I've also held leadership team positions within Corporate and Civil Society Organisations as well as driving and supporting Start-ups and Non-profits with a presence across Asia, Africa, South and Central America and the Middle East.
Why did you choose this programme at KTH?
To further explore and develop my interest and experience in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management.
Are there any insights or knowledge you acquired during your studies that have been extra useful for you in your career?
Many, especially tools around ideation and business model innovation.
What were the best aspects of your studies at KTH?
The ability to combine the studies with my job at the Leadership Team for Microsoft's Consultancy business. This enabled me to practice what I learned directly in a real and fast-paced competitive environment.
What is your best memory from your time at the university?
A combination of the people I met, the skills I got, and the relationships I built.
What are your plans for the future?
Continue to build MAD. Our upcoming focus area, where we bring MAD Changemakers together from across the Globe, is Conflict Transformation.
I'm also very much looking forward to get The MAD Book out there - supporting people in their exploration of their purpose, their Why - connected to tangible opportunities to Make A Difference, their How.
What would you want to say to a student thinking of applying for this programme?
Go for it! And as with everything in life - it becomes what you make it into - so make sure you put the theories into practice; use them as tools to turn your vision into reality!