Tell us a bit about yourself and what you're working on?
My name is Sofie Lindblom, I’m 27 years old but some people mistake me for being 17. I was born in Stockholm, Sweden and am currently based here again after moving between different cities for a couple of years. I love adventures. Therefore I’ve spent most of the money I’ve earned on traveling the world. Because for every country you go to you learn a little bit more about the world and about yourself. You broaden your perspectives and develop empathy for cultures and lives different from your own. This addiction to adventures and seeing the world has helped me a lot in my professional life working with innovation and technological development. Since last year I’m the CEO and co-founder of a company called ideation360. Our mission is to empower organizations to innovate through modern platforms and methods. It is the journey of a lifetime to build a company from the ground up. I hope more women dare to make the jump because the learnings are invaluable even if it is hard work too.
How did you first get involved in tech?
As a kid I was curious and loved to play. Most kids love to play but I LOVED to play. When growing up that curiosity and creativity translated to several different hobbies, adventures, jobs and educations. I ended up studying engineering by coincidence. I didn’t think it was something for me but after switching programs from focusing on hardware to software I fell in love with it. I also had no idea you could work with Innovation Management until my third year at university when I found a course about it outside my curriculum. I was studying for a master in Computer Science and Media Technology but decided to take the Innovation Management course on the side. Since then I’ve been obsessed with creativity and how it transforms into innovation. Technology is a very important driver and enabler for innovation so I’m happy I also finished my Master in Computer Science and Media Technology.
Why are role models so important?
I believe it is important to create a wide variety of role models within different industries and fields. Taking engineers as an example you don’t have to love jolt cola and be like the guys in the TV show “Silicon Valley” to become great at math or programming. You can love high heels and parties and still rock those algorithms. I even did a TED talk on this topic called “IT girls are the new it girls”. We need role models that are world famous to lead the way but we also need role models closer by that we can identify with. Growing up you might have a hard time to identify with a CEO of Fortune 500 company but the 30 year old female engineer across the street who has cool job, a nice apartment, goes on holiday to amazing destinations and can take care of herself – her you might have an easier time to identify with and be inspired by. I really believe a more diverse set of role models is the one answer to the lack of diversity we see in so many companies, board rooms, CEO and founder positions.
Can you give us an example of how a role model has influenced you and your career?
I get inspired by people who have the guts to go their own way and speak up. People who dare to break structures, question inequalities and challenge how it has always been. No matter if it is a CEO of a big company or someone in the line at the gas station. The woman who has had the biggest influence on me so far in my career is my first manager at Spotify. She took a chance in hiring me and then supported me through five different roles in three years at Spotify. I learned a lot from her and have a lot to thank her for. I called her Batman, she called me Robin.
You can find Sofie on Twitter as @SosLindblom