Nicolas Friederici, Dr.

Nicolas Friederici holds a dual appointment as Research Group Lead Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) and as Postdoctoral Researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute. Nicolas is interested in how economic development happens in the digital age, and how the opportunities of digital technologies unfold unevenly in different places and for different actors.

At HIIG, Nicolas coordinates our projects related to digital innovation and entrepreneurship. This includes work on digital business models, the digitization of small and medium-sized enterprises (Mittelstand), open and user-centric innovation, and startup collaborations. Nicolas’ own research consists of three streams: digital enterprise strategy, innovation intermediaries, and entrepreneurial ecosystems. He mostly focuses on Africa and Europe as empirical contexts.

Nicolas did his PhD at the Oxford Internet Institute, where he has studied digital entrepreneurship and innovation hubs in Africa. He was a visitor at SCANCOR in Stanford, a Clarendon Scholar, and grantee of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. Earlier, Nicolas was consultant for the Mobile Innovation for Development program at infoDev (World Bank). He was a Fulbright scholar at Michigan State University, where he did his MA in Telecommunications, Information Studies and Media. Nicolas also holds a Diplom in Media Management from the University of Cologne. Nicolas continues to be active as a consultant: for instance, he recently helped the World Bank assess the digital entrepreneurship ecosystems in Bangladesh and the Caribbean.


Nicolas Friederici Cropped


Head of Research Group: Innovation & Entrepreneurship


Our podcast with Nicolas Friederici

Journal articles and conference proceedings

Schmeiss, J., & Friederici, N. (2019). Understanding ‘AI Made in Germany’: A Report on the German Startup Landscape. Delphi - Interdisciplinary Review of Emerging Technologies, 2(2), 87–94. Publication details

Friederici, N. (2018). Grounding the Dream of African Innovation Hubs: Two Cases in Kigali. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 23(02). Publication details

Foster, C., Graham, M., Waema, T., Mann, L., & Friederici, N. (2018). Digital Control in Value Chains: Challenges of Connectivity for East African Firms. Economic Geography, 94(1), 68-86. Publication details

Graham, M., Ojanperä, S., Anwar, M. A., & Friederici, N. (2018). Digital Connectivity and African Knowledge Economies. Questions de Communication, 23, 345-360. Publication details

Friederici, N. (2018). Delineating African Innovation Hubs from Business Incubators: A Process Perspective. Research Paper submitted to 4th Biennial Conference of the Africa Academy of Management, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 3rd - 6th January 2018. Publication details

Book contributions and chapters

Friederici, N. (2019). Hope and Hype in Africa’s Digital Economy: The Rise of Innovation Hubs. In M. Graham (Ed.), Digital Economies at Global Margins (pp. 193-222). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, IDRC. Publication details

Friederici, N. (2019). Innovation Hubs in Africa: What Do They Really Do for Digital Entrepreneurs? In N. D. Taura, E. Bolat, & N. O. Madichie (Eds.), Digital Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. Publication details

Friederici, N. (2018). Innovation Hubs in Africa: Assemblers of Technology Entrepreneurs. In M. Tynnhammar (Ed.), New Waves in Innovation Management Research (ISPIM Insights) (pp. 435-454). Delaware, USA: Vernon Press. Publication details

Working paper

Friederici, N., & Graham, M. (2018). The Bounded Opportunities of Digital Enterprises in Global Economic Peripheries. Friederici, N., & Graham, M.. Publication details

Other publications

Schmeiss, J., & Friederici, N. (2019). How much magic lies behind German AI production? Digital Society Blog. Publication details

Schmeiss, J., & Friederici, N. (2019). Ein Autopilot für Online-Marketing. Digital Society Blog. Publication details

Schmeiss, J., & Friederici, N. (2019). Quo vadis – what types of AI are produced in Germany? Digital Society Blog. Publication details

Meier, P., Friederici, N. (2019). Den Blick weiten: Digitalisierung im Mittelstand. Digital Society Blog. Publication details

Lectures and presentations

Knowledge Talk "Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa: Escaping from Silicon Valley’s Long Shadow". World Bank Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation Global Practice, Washington, D.C., USA: 21.05.2019

Nicolas Friederici

Colloquium Development Geography (Session: Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa: Escaping from Silicon Valley’s Long Shadow). Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany: 01.02.2019

Nicolas Friederici

Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa
Management Research Seminar: Lecture on Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa. WU Wien, Vienna, Austria: 06.11.2018 Further information

Friederici, N.

Innovation ist überall
Symposium: Der smarte Weg für die Energiewende. Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin, Germany: 22.06.2018 Further information

Nicolas Friederici

Digital enterprise & ecosystems in Africa: An uneven and challenging landscape
7th GiZ Make-IT Alliance Networking Meeting (Session: Digital Enterprise and Ecosystems in Africa: An Uneven and Challenging Landscape). re:publica, Berlin, Germany: 04.05.2018

Nicolas Friederici

Moderation of workshops and panels

Digital Economies, Digital Connectivity, Digital Margins: Session I: Development, Entrepreneurship, and Inequality
5th Global Conference on Economic Geography. Universität zu Köln, Cologne, Germany: 24.07.2018

Mark Graham, Nicolas Friederici, Mohammad Amir Anwar, Sanna Ojanperä

Organisation of events

Digital Entrepreneurship in Africa: How a Continent Is Escaping from Silicon Valley’s Long Shadow
20.05.2019. Quello Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA (International) Further information

Nicolas Friederici

Participation as expert

UNCTAD Review Meeting "Digital Economy Report 2019" (Feb 2019)UNCTAD, Geneva, Switzerland: 12.02.2019

Nicolas Friederici

Media appearances

Britische Handelskammer rechnet mit „sehr harter Brexit-Phase“ (11.09.2019). Deutschlandfunk
Further information

A hub alone does not create a Silicon Valley (26.08.2019). IGF2019
Further information