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While we are waiting for the corporate world

During the last year there has been a lot of discussion in Denmark around how to cope with the globalisation – until now the governments answer has been the “Technology, Research and Innovation Fund”, which is to support strategic efforts in areas like information and communications technology, bio-technology and nano-technology.

But if you ask one of Denmark’s leading experts in globalisation, Anders Drejer, a professor of strategic management and business development at the Aarhus School of Business, this Fund is a huge mistake if the goal is to improve the possibilities for Danish businesses in a globalised world.
”It is a bad idea to pour 16 billion kroner into a high-tech fund. First of all, high-tech research targets industrial companies. This means that one would be promoting research that belongs in a different age. At least it has little to do with actively pursuing a knowledge society. Secondly, one is totally following in the footsteps of the Asian countries that are currently pouring billions into the high-tech sector. China, for example, is betting so massively on nano-technology that already today every second international research article in this field is written by a Chinese scientist,” says Anders Drejer.

If it were up to him, Denmark would seek its own path instead of trudging along in the same direction as a lot of other nations.

”Denmark should position itself in between Asia and the USA. Let the East handle industrial mass-production, and let the USA handle global marketing and branding. Instead, go for the development of business concepts and design. Compared with high-tech there is much more perspective in going for that mix of good business acumen and design that we have seen in Bang & Olufsen and Bestseller, or in the Danish plastics industry, which has done a phenomenal job of linking up with large global companies with clever solutions.”

What solutions has been chosen in your countries – how do you cope with the new challenges?

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» How can European countries address globalisation? - [CPH127) from Putting people first
The following CPH127 post features an analysis which goes far beyond its original context (Denmark) and is relevant for many other European countries. During the last year there has been a lot of discussion in Denmark around how to cope with the global... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 21, 2005 11:54:50 PM


This is an interesting topic Hans. Here in Australia we find ourselves in a very unusual position between China and America. It presents us with many challenges economically and diplomatically. Surprisingly, there are not a lot of resources online about this important issue.

Canadian writer John Ralston Saul recently published his book "The Collapse of Gloablism" and visited Australia to promote the publication. A transcript from a radio interview can be seen at http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2005/s1441983.htm

More broadly speaking Australia's approach seems to have been focussed on primary resources, something the country has a reputation for and also large reserves and supporting infastructure for dealing with the issues of export. The government and corporations have been enthusiastically fostering trade around these industries [coal, steel, minerals etc...]. Clearly it is a very energy focussed approach which suits countries like Australia.

Within the wider context of business I have detected an almost tangible fear about the implications of future challenges. The response form government has been industrial relation reform designed to make Australian business more competitive. Most people's concern at this is the apparent negative effects on work conditions, wages and security for families and communities. It is a controversial subject here at present.

From a more personal perspective, having lived in China for some time I can see that "globalism" is good for China and countries like her. Of course the populations of China and India et al are going to embrace the trend, as would we all in their situation.

I think in Australia, not enough attention is given to the possibilities afforded by creativity and innovation. There are as many opportunities as there are threats...The service industries, education and creative sectors come to mind as having significant and obvious potential.

Articles like this one at http://www.atimes.com/editor/AI30Ba01.html indicate that we cannot become complacent about how we are perceived by the East. We cannot take our place in the world for granted although in the past Australia has been very much guilty of this.

I guess the situation in every country is going to be different , but awareness of our individual experiences as countries is valuable. There are no easy answers though.

Posted by: Ian McArthur | Aug 22, 2005 5:18:11 AM


I also think that what's going to happen in Australia is that they will wake up one day and realize that the "innovation and creativity" space in the region has been ceded to countries like Singapore with it's Design Singapore policy spearheaded by the EDB and of course Hong Kong's design policy. Both islands are leveraging their prior history as " free trade zones" (now over) into "knowledge based economies". In fact, far more farsighted as governments go compared to most corporations.

Posted by: Niti Bhan | Aug 23, 2005 1:15:02 AM

You are clearly right on Niti.

My limited experience of Singapore [I worked there for 6 months in 2001 as a design lecturer] indicated that the Govt there had recognised what needed to be done in terms of building a design culture and had addressed the need in a very thorough manner. Subsequent return visits have led me to the conclusion that the design culture has taken root strongly and some very interesting work across all design disciplines is happening...Events like The upcoming International Design Forum in Singapore http://www.intldesignforum.com/2005/main.htm further support an already clear cut case of how innovative governments might proceed.

This is something that Australia has been very slow to catch on to. We have [as far as I am aware] no consolidated national policies promoting the role of design in industry, education and community.

A small ray of hope is the recent launch of a new Nation Centre for Design at Federation Square in Melbourne http://nationaldesigncentre.com/index.html

Posted by: Ian McArthur | Aug 23, 2005 7:27:23 AM


John Heskett discussed the pro's and cons of a national design policy in our "Design Policy" class. There seems to be a tossup since the UK's Design Council is deemed ineffective. But I think that the original comparison is with the US, which has a different culture of independence and a head start. For countries like NZ and Australia, a national body may be of use, if the Singapore and HK example are anything to go by.

Are you going to Singapore in October then?

Posted by: Niti Bhan | Aug 23, 2005 5:09:18 PM

The case of the US having a different culture and head start is true. It is kind of in category of its own.

I've found the UK Design Council website a good resource over the years if nothing else :-)

The nice thing about the Singapore design scene, and perhaps this is also true of the whole Asian design movement, is the freshness of a vibrant aesthetic coupled with an almost instinctive orientation to commerce. This balance of colour, style, customer experience and business savvy is the a near perfect answer to the innovation question.

It is a matter of perspective I think, but it is, to me, undeniable that Asian design is happening in a manner that the rest of the planet has yet to really wake to. It is not about sophistication, it is about speed of evolution, enthusiasm, culture, and a general 'go for it" attitude.

No Singapore in October for me Niti, but for the above reasons and more, I'm looking to relocate to a more central location within the Asia region as soon as possible.

Posted by: Ian McArthur | Aug 28, 2005 12:09:10 PM


I'm in total agreement with your read of the design movement in Asia, and Asia meaning not only ASEAN and China/HK but also further west to South Asia.

Moving to a better location in the Pacific Rim is certainly a valid move, I'd love to continue our conversation as I know there are benefits that the EDB is offering people just like you to encourage such a move. Google their site or I could provide you with links.

Good Luck

Posted by: Niti Bhan | Aug 28, 2005 8:57:05 PM

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CPH127 is a sense-making initiative. We aim to create a open dialogue around the profound understanding of the leadership, organization and strategy of creative business functions with the aim to create new value (for customers, employers and stakeholders.

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