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Digitization as enabler of Denmark’s competitiveness

The Danish Competitiveness Council strives to help Denmark stay relevant in the future global competitive business environment. As part of their work, they invited business leaders to share their perspectives on the topic, i.e. what should Denmark do going forward to achieve an excellent business position in this arena? What is our moonshot project if we dared to be extremely bold? And how do we make sure that our prioritization can add value to both the largest and smallest companies in Denmark?

How can Denmark stay relevant in the global business environment?

My thoughts circulates firstly around technology with user eyes, not the technology it-self. Furthermore it is about processes, people and professional boards in Danish SME:s.

Better management and more leadership

As CEO of TDC Mobil, I learned that value innovation is about making the right technology choices at the right time from a user's point of view, i.e. the ability to distinguish between hype and real business potential. I also learned that it is not just about management, i.e. the right technology choices and processes, but just as much about leadership, i.e. development of the employees, who shall deliver both in terms of product development and sales.

Digital sales enablement

It was confirmed in a recent webinar on digital B2B sales in a COVID era. It is not just about turning the power on old processes, but about genuine process reengineering with the technology as enabler. Thus, a strong Danish competitiveness on the digital scene is about technological development as well as the ability to market and sell complex solutions with a focus on both product properties and end-user benefits. We need to foster sales talents to roll out our technological solutions in the world. In this connection, I have had the pleasure of being an advisory board member at Aalborg University, where a new and relatively unique Master of Science education with a focus on sales has been launched with great uptake.

Professional boards in owner-led SME:s

In the Danish government's strategy for digital growth (2018), the SME potential and digitization were recognized as clear levers. However, results are created by the teams we lead, and unfortunately many leaders experience that it can be difficult to make the good plans happen. In particular owner-managers are often buried in fully operational hands-on tasks and firefighting. In both cases, a professional board can play a vital role in facilitating involving and value-creating leadership, which can ensure the right balance between the management's good plan and the employees' solid execution.

Despite the 8th report from the CBS Center for Owner-Managed Companies in 2019 concluded that the value-added per. employee in companies with an external professional board is significantly higher than with internal family boards, the voluntary spread of professional boards in Danish owner-managed SMEs is only 6%. As part of the digital moonshot effort, the Danish government could perhaps utilize our untapped potential in SME:s by adding an increased tax deduction for board fees in line with the item on research and development investment. Such an initiative could at least help to spread the message about the value of professional board work in the SME segment, and thus progress of our digital competitiveness.

Such an initiative could at least help to spread the message about the value of professional board work in SME:s, and thus support the progress of Denmark's digital competitiveness. 

Executive Advisor & CEO

Mads Middelboe

Leadmore ®

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