Hi Internet, welcome to my home on the web. I'm Tor Grønsund, and I believe passionately in empowering an entrepreneurial culture to challenge the status quo and inspire new ideas that make an impact on people's life. In other words, I build, write, and teach about technology and entrepreneurship.
In my teaching and workshops I like taking a modular, "lego-like" approach remixing innovation tools–e.g. design thinking, lean startup, effectuation, business model canvas, value proposition, disruptive innovation, jobs-to-be-done, blue ocean strategy, open innovation–into real world entrepreneurship programs. More recently, I'm applying methodological thinking to understand the dynamics and growth of startup ecosystems.
Also - an occasional speaker and blogger cited by Harvard Business School, Stanford University, among others, for inspiring new methodologies in entrepreneurship and marketing. Recently named to Tech.eu's 'Top European entrepreneur blogs' and LDRLB's 'Top Professors on Twitter', and invited to join The Nordic Council of Ministers' vision group on innovative digital solutions.
A little more about me
This is me at 5 years old on pop's IBM 5150, the first PC.
I grew up in an entrepreneurial home in the south of Norway and was fortunate enough to be exposed to the world of computers at an early age.
My true school wouldn't be the classroom but rather the World Wide Web. Caught by the dot-com boom and intrigued with how Internet search put the world at my feet, I'd study Information Science to learn about how people search, use, and share information.
I never had a big knack for writing code (although I try to keep enough to prototype ideas). Instead, I'd develop a thing for bringing that technology to market. That led me to pursue a MSc in Innovation and entrepreneurship, with special concentration in Informatics.
While still a grad student I ran my own market research practice, using disruptive innovation methodologies to write reports and analysis for management consulting, venture finance, and private equity firms.
I'd soon co-found a dorm room startup that, by turning private routers into public hotspots, let people easily share their WiFi connections. Spending most of my student loans on open source hardware alongside pitching global telcos and OEM's, taught me a thing or two about up-starts. I wasn't quite ready.
So, I took on a couple of internships at two soon-to-be-acquired technology ventures and a stint in Internet M&A at a leading Nordic media corporation – only to re-discover my entrepreneurial vocation.
I then joined as one of the first employees at an Internet investment and advisory company, where I had the opportunity to work on startup investments alongside showing organizations–ranging from global Internet companies to household brands, Norwegian ministers to the EU–how to use social media.
Essentially, that inspired me to start my own company called Lingo Labs. Our first venture, an Internet-enabled operating system netbooks (remember those?), was selected Lean Startup company for Web 2.o Expo in San Francisco in 2010. It made millions of downloads and users in over 160 countries but not quite a revenue model. Having another round at open source, however, taught me a lot about openness and collective culture, which remain my core ethos as of today.
Ironically enough, I already had began giving talks about business model design and lean startup methodologies at universities and events across the continent. What I found was, traditional management books weren't too useful in the world of entrepreneurship. Neither did computer science teach aspiring entrepreneurs much about marketing.
So in early 2010, I launched this blog to share my thoughts on applying agile and lean methodologies not only to product development but also to marketing. Fortunate enough, my pieces on bridging the business model canvas and lean startup were soon picked up by Stanford University followed by leading business schools and startup programmes.
The summer I turned 28, I was invited to the University of Oslo as an adjunct assistant professor in entrepreneurship. I became responsible for developing a real world entrepreneurship course based on design thinking, lean startup, and business model principles, with the goal of creating a launchpad for aspiring entrepreneurs at the university. Since that I've been trying to change how entrepreneurship is taught. My teaching philosophy is "learn to learn", which I've found to be the true value of higher education.
Perhaps entrepreneurship cannot be taught. But just like how many of the greatest artists of our time went to art school, or like many of the most inspiring leaders went to B-school, I believe it learning makes a difference. Whether it is through teaching or writing, I believe entrepreneurs who aspire to change the world around them deserve to have their stories told like any other.
Right, but what is the meth·od·ol·o·gist?
The Methodologist is the former title of this blog. More concretely, a methodologist is one who studies methodology. And a methodology is the system of methods and principles used in a particular discipline. My discipline happens to be Internet and entrepreneurship.
Some side projects
Creator of the first lean startup and business model framework.
Editor of Vevens Gang, a notebook dedicated to profiling the tech startup scene in Norway, in Norwegian.
Board member at betaFACTORY, the first tech startup accelerator in Norway.
Curator of the Norwegian Startup List.