X-Hub Tokyo, that supports overseas expansion of domestic startups, held a case study seminar on Denmark, the country that was ranked number one in terms of being an ideal place for business as well as for being the most suitable country for doing business in Europe. Kensuke Nakajima of the Royal Danish Embassy, Japan, who has worked with many companies and supported numerous businesses in advancing overseas, gave a lecture on the benefits of business expansion into Denmark and its future perspectives.
Denmark, the leading country in business
In Denmark, digitalization has been progressing rapidly, with virtual, real, goods and services are all being integrated around digital platforms. As a result, for three consecutive years Denmark has been ranked number one in digitalization by the EU’s digitalization ranking system. Denmark is also known for being home to the world’s number one ranked “smart city.”
Denmark’s CPR Number system that is similar to Japan’s recently introduced My Number system was implemented in Denmark in 1968. Since Denmark is an advanced socialist nation, they would like to offer public services that are normally only offered by private sector companies in other countries. Through digitalization, it is possible to use “big data” that has been saved by public companies as “open data.” They then made a website called “Open Data DK” where integrated data on every city can be found.
The CPR Number holds all of one’s personal information from birth until death. All information from public institutions such as nursery schools, elementary schools, colleges, as well as one’s employment history, income, and relocation history are linked to this number. One’s medical history, including doctor’s visits, hospitalization records, prescriptions, operations and any medical examination recordsare also linked to the CPR Number.
The release of Windows 95 is what led to the creation of the CPR Number. After seeing its interface, government officials of Denmark thought that they could provide high-quality services at a low-cost if they could effectively utilize it. Since the beginning of the year 2000, various tests have been conducted, and since 2011-2012 it has become widespread throughout Denmark’s infrastructure.
Becoming the world’s front runner in AI and making an AI nation
In Japan, people focus on cost reduction and work efficiency when they think about digitalization. In Denmark, however, how to best put digitalization into practical use for growth is a crucial point of discussion. Another point is that in Japan, DX (Digital Transformation) and digitalization within a company and the improvement of work efficiency within government agencies are the main objectives. In Denmark, however, when it comes to the whole country, including government, private firms, citizens, and the social system, the keyword is ‘DX.’
Moreover, Denmark announced that it would become the world’s front runner for artificial intelligence. Their ultimate goal is to implement an explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) with their infrastructure as a public service. They are aiming toward becoming an AI nation.
As a nation, Japan’s philosophy is “technology first.” There is little discussion about why a smart city should be built and in which direction to go. In Denmark, instead of coming up with solutions to city-wide issues, they strive to grow the nation in an environmentally friendly way and to share their small successful experiences with the world.
The difference between Denmark and other countries is social security. Their philosophy is that not only digitalization but also public welfare and income distribution will enrich all people. It is not only this philosophy, but Denmark’s unique system, with a focus on environment intelligence aNext is the holistic approach. Let’s look at an advanced waste power generation facility in Denmark. This particular system uses waste to supply power to 50,000 households in Copenhagen and to supply heat to 120,000 households. This is a holistic system. Actual ski slope was built on the roof of the waste-energy facility converting it to a resort facility.nd anthropocentrism, which makes people living there are the happiest in the world. They are building the nation along with this philosophy, with a focus on an energy-efficient infrastructure and the development of smart cities.
Anthropocentrism, holistic approach, digital integration, design, and creative leadership
I will explain the concept of anthropocentrism, a comprehensive and holistic approach, digital integration, design, and creative leadership.
Regarding the concept of anthropocentrism, some people believe that it is not right that only humans become rich, because there are also animals and plants in the world. So, we should think more comprehensively. The concept of anthropocentrism in Denmark is giving consideration to the global environment, linking with SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) while considering social welfare. They are taking a wide, human-centric view.
Next is the holistic approach. Let’s look at an advanced waste power generation facility in Denmark. This particular system uses waste to supply power to 50,000 households in Copenhagen and to supply heat to 120,000 households. This is a holistic system. Actual ski slope was built on the roof of the waste-energy facility converting it to a resort facility.
Waste-energy facilities and jails are necessary, but most people do not want such facilities near their homes. So they think in a different way and add extra value to such facilities. They create a new framework of smart cities with a holistic approach by combining bothersome facilities and resort facilities together, thereby promoting more investments to be made in the area.
Next is the digital integration. Various connections have been made through digitalization. What will occur from now on is not only limited to medical care and offshore wind power generation, but also a merging of technology with the digital. Depending on the case, it is the idea of taking two or three different things and combining them into one.
Next is design. What we are trying to do is not design products. We are trying to revolutionize the social system through design. This is a movement where we are trying to change the world through technology, but we first need to understand technology before it can be used for change. Most people do not have an understanding of quantum computers or how robots work in the first place. Asking users about something that they do not understand will not yield any answers. That is why experts need to take a step ahead of people in society and design a system that they can use.
And last is creative leadership. For what reason you are working, and what value you are trying to create are crucial perspectives to keep in mind for the people of Denmark. In Danish society the natural mind-set is that one does not work solely to fulfill one’s personal goals or desires, but rather for the betterment of society as a whole.
Unfortunately, the education system of Japan is knowledge-driven and focus is on memorization. What is important is that being able to get create insights into how to use the knowledge to change the world and how to, through leadership and courage, implement it in the society.
In advanced areas of Europe, including Denmark, we can see anthropocentrism, comprehensive holistic approaches, digital networks, along with usage of digital design and creative leadership. Successful companies meet these conditions. Currently, these ideas are not discussed in Japan, but they will need to be in the future. At that time, I hope you can use them as a way to grow and expand your business.