Faculty Profile: Entrepreneurship Professor Looks to Apply Research to the Classroom to Prepare Aspiring Entrepreneurs with Neurological Disorders

Johan WiklandWhat do the founders of Virgin Group, JetBlue and Ikea have in common? They are all successful entrepreneurs who share an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosis. Dr. Johan Wiklund, Whitman professor of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises, is studying the correlation between ADHD and entrepreneurship. He asserts that the accompanying characteristics of ADHD, such as sensation seeking, risk tolerance, hyper focus and impulsivity, can be assets for entrepreneurs.

Wiklund is conducting research and has interviewed numerous individuals with an ADHD diagnosis who pursue entrepreneurship. He has found these individuals often gravitate to business ownership, because they can dictate the parameters of the business to their comfort. They can work hours that suit their internal clocks and patterns of sleep and alert times, they can choose the tasks for which they are best suited and pursue activities they are passionate about. Wiklund’s conviction is that entrepreneurship can offer a productive career path for people who otherwise have problems fitting in and contributing to society.

Knowing that people with ADHD gravitate towards entrepreneurship, Wiklund feels it is important to provide education to these individuals in ways that suit their needs. He aspires to offer entrepreneurship classes that are pedagogically tailored for students with ADHD and other neurological diagnoses.

“We often speak about inclusion and diversity in higher education,” shared Wiklund. “I would like to offer classes that truly embrace neurodiversity and build on the strengths of people with such diagnoses. My ultimate aim is to assist these individuals in reaching their maximum potential through entrepreneurship.”

To learn more about Professor Wiklund and his research, visit his online bio or watch the video below: