Excellence in innovation is turning Denmark into a global powerhouse
Business leaders that are striving to shine should look to the country’s world-leading innovation ecosystem.
While Denmark, and particularly the Greater Copenhagen region, has long enjoyed a reputation for business innovation, it’s now home to a growing number of companies that are breaking new ground. The Danish Business Authority – Erhvervsstyrelsen – has identified a number of Danish Clusters of Excellence, where companies and research environments are performing at the top of their fields, and they are creating a business ecosystem that rivals the paramount status of Boston in the USA.
These sectors include biopharma, life sciences, ICT, financial services, knowledge creation, clean technology and many more, and their success is attracting the support of institutions such as Copenhagen Business School – not to mention the attention of business leaders. Mercedes Delgado, Associate Professor for the Concentration in Entrepreneurship (for CBS’s MBA and EMBA programmes) and research scientist at MIT, agrees: “Talented people from across the business world are recognising that Copenhagen is where major advances are blossoming in so many areas of innovation.”
Professor Delgado continues: “These are highly-competitive, cutting-edge fields such as environmental technologies, energy, food production and bio resources, life sciences and welfare technologies, construction, design/fashion/furniture, advanced manufacturing… the list goes on! And of course, it is important not to forget the worlds of shipping, transport and logistics, which this region is famous for and, to an extent, underpin everything.”
There are many reasons why Denmark and the Copenhagen region have become recognised as a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship. Certainly, the larger organisations mentioned earlier paved the path for success, and they’re being assisted by many support institutions including accelerators (CBS School of Entrepreneurship, Skylab at DTU, BII, Accelerace) and the cluster organisation, Cluster Excellence Denmark. Prof. Delgado adds: “It’s worth noting that people are also interested in the Nordic context because it has a reputation for innovation and supports sustainability. There are many examples of intrapreneurship also – where larger, more established companies invest in pioneering labs and startup functions within their businesses.”
What’s helping to cultivate this is the fact that the region is known for the quality and quantity of its data – and data is, after all, the lifeblood of innovation in today’s knowledge economy. Says Professor Delgado: “Firms can utilise data and AI here in a way that is not so easy elsewhere. You can track the data of each citizen (anonymously) and build an extremely rich picture that is particularly powerful for areas such as healthcare innovation – and it’s part of the reason why these companies are leading the field.”
An MBA or EMBA or Blue MBA from Copenhagen Business School can be the bridge to all these career paths, and can provide participants with the specific tools they need to thrive. “For example, in the Copenhagen MBA/EMBA we offer concentrations on entrepreneurship, finance, digitalisation, and sustainability,” says Prof. Delgado. “A look at the top employers and sectors of MBA alumni gives a good indication of the quality in the region. The top Full-Time MBA employers are major business names such as Novo Nordisk, Danske Bank, A.P. Moller Mærsk, Ørsted, Implement Consulting Group, Christian Hansen, Pandora and Danfoss. And let’s not forget, there’s an extremely healthy community of more than 1,000 impact startups – fast-growing companies that are committed to solving some of the planet’s biggest challenges.”
Ultimately, Denmark’s Clusters of Innovation are built on firm foundations. And with institutions such as Copenhagen Business School’s MBA Programmes providing executives with vital tools and support, they’re calibrated for a bright future.