New project accompanies Danish business leaders on their way towards the digital economy

Danish leaders need more knowledge about the impacts of digitalization if their businesses are to be competitive. The Danish Industry Foundation has recently decided to fund a research project at the IT University of Copenhagen. “Innovation4Leadership” (I4L) aims to equip organizational leaders for the upcoming challenges related to the digital economy.

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IT has become a vital part of our daily lives, requiring new skills among today's leaders, who need to keep up with competitors and meet the needs of employees and customers. This applies to nearly every industry - from clothing manufacturers to logistics companies.

However, according to the Danish Industry Foundation, many leaders find it difficult to keep up with the impacts of digitalization:
“We have an ongoing dialogue with company leaders, which shows that many companies seek to exploit the opportunities of recent developments in IT. However, it is hard to know where to start and which way to go,” says Mads Lebech, CEO of the Danish Industry Foundation. As part of the foundation’s focus on leadership, the project I4L will be funded with nearly DKK 1.7 million.

“It is an initiative that will provide business leaders with concrete approaches in a world that is becoming more and more digital”, says Mads Lebech.

According to Associate Professor at the IT University, Alexander Richter, the ability to think and act in a digitally innovative way, is absolutely essential for business leaders. For example, most leaders need to be capable of exploiting the potential of collaborating virtually with employees, customers and business partners.

If companies are not aware of “new digital opportunities” they will fail to provide their employees with the appropriate digital tools that support their daily tasks. For instance, we see the increase of ‘shadow IT’: Employees use IT that is not officially approved by the company and that they own privately. This does not happen because the employees want to do something "illegal", but simply because they feel it is necessary to use a more efficient tool (such as Whatsapp or Dropbox) to execute their tasks. This may have negative consequences for the companies. However, leaders who know how to leverage the use of shadow IT and think innovatively can gain a lot for their company.

Alexander Richter, who will head the project I4L till the end of 2018, says:
“In a series of workshops we want to inspire the leaders and provide them with an overview of specific methods and tools to exploit digitalization, whilst reducing the risks associated with it. After the workshops, we will keep track of the leaders’ experiences. We will disseminate our results through a report to be used by other companies and through an online community that will help them to make an effective digital strategy and execute it”. He adds, that his long-term goal is to create a centre that will continuously update and boost the digital capabilities of Danish business leaders.

For further information:

Vibeke Arildsen, Press Officer, phone 2555 0447, email