Creating an Innovation Culture to Avoid Disruption

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Creating an Innovation Culture to Avoid Disruption

Date: 5 Sep 2017, 8:30 - 12:30

Host: Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship at CBS, Porcelænshaven 26, 4th.floor Room PH407, 2000 Frederiksberg

Is your company aware of and prepared for how your business could be disrupted?  

Together with IBM and Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship we had a great set of speakers to give participants at glimpse into how 3 very different businesses are organizing themselves to prepare for disruption – Rambøll, Skywatch and CanopyLab.

Disruption and Innovation event Danish-American Business Forum

Key messages from IBM and the other speakers included the importance of creating and using an ecosystem (Odense Robotics, in the photo below, being a great example), as well as daring to be open and transparent despite fear of IP issues.

Odense Robotics Ecosystem

Ecosystem modelling can help point out partnerships you should explore (IBM), and the Nordics are already good at using ecosystems, and can be a model for US and other regions:

Example Ecosystem modelling IBM

There was good discussion about the difficulty of innovating and keeping an eye on disruptors,  while still running a business, with different points of view from among the speakers. Rambøll will be trying an incubator, and both Rambøll and SkyWatch have appointed specific people to be free of running the daily business, to allow them up to explore opportunities.

SkyWatch talked about how they are creating Technology Building Blocks as both a buffer and enabler of disruption, and the importance of finding both funding and resource hours for exploration for these high risk/high reward areas.  Choosing from so many opportunities requires a degree of focus, however, and it is an important rule of thumb that the innovation has to be the right idea at the right time in the right place.

right idea right time right place SkyWatch

According to Rambøll, big companies need to learn to discuss how much risk they want to take – how much “green” vs “blue”, and learn to fail fast and move on.  This is a HUGE cultural change for Rambøll as well as for many other large companies, but the important thing is to start the journey!

Attacking the Future Rambøll

Suggestions for avoiding disruption

CanopyLab presented a contrast to the larger companies, as it is a 2 year old startup with just 14 employees. It has come out of the CSE GoGrowth program and had great success with the advice from the CSE program and advisors.  Their product is “smart e-learning” which  presents the user with different exercises depending on the user’s existing knowledge, using big data from various sources as the underlying engine. Another term for it is adaptive learning.  Advice for avoiding disruption included looking for employees with CORE rather than purely STEM skills – Creativity, Originality, Responsibility and Empathy are all important for being able to tackle business issues, and knowing the technology is NOT key to developing products and services that people want and can use.   They use a term called Sustainable Disruption, which includes listening to your millenials and understanding the WHOLE person (not work vs personal separated).

It was an inspiring meeting with lots of food for thought!

The agenda follows here.


Traditional businesses are being disrupted constantly, taken by surprise and unable to cope with the unexpected. Those who don’t have good systems in place to work with ecosystems and innovators are likely to be caught out.  The US doesn’t have a monopoly on the solution, but as IBM can attest to, there is heavy focus on the issue, and many examples of companies who are setting up in new ways to be better prepared.

Join us to hear examples of recent industry disruption, and get tips from both Danish and US examples, about how businesses are preparing.  What are these companies doing well, and what can we learn? We’ll be joined by representatives of IBM, Sky-Watch, Rambøll and CBS’s School of Entrepreneurship (CSE).


Registration, Coffee, Networking

Einar Dyrhauge, Executive Director, Danish-American Business Forum

The Future of Growth
Patrick Halford, Nordic Robotics & Drone Ecosystem Director, and Anne Bendix, Business Development, IBM
New Technology  such as Machine Learning, Robotics & Drones, Genomics, new materials, Augmented & Virtual Reality, 3D Printing are simultaneously evolving and feeding off each other to create market value across traditional and radically new markets and  thus opportunites for companies to innovate and grow.

Reading this rapidly unfolding landscape requires skills in balancing the execution of existing business models, and simultaneously searching and experimenting with new ones. The only way to do this is to embrace consortiums of industry, start-ups & venture capital, universities & research, government & city institutions…and a modern mindset.

Learn from IBM how to translate sometimes obscure technological jargon into concrete opportunities for business growth

Innovating from Startup to Now
Michael Messerschmidt, Chief Business Development Officer, Sky-Watch
Sky-Watch is the biggest drone manufacturer in Denmark, with operations globally. They offer ruggedized Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV) technology for professional users, making it easy to deploy, fly and collect live video and data from remote, dangerous or inaccessible areas, saving lives, time and cost.  Michael will describe how Sky-Watch innovated from a startup company to where it is today

Coffee and Networking Break

From Fragile to Agile…
Torben Kjær, Senior Group Director, IT, Digital and Innovation, Rambøll
As CIO of the year 2017, specializing in leadership for digital transformation, Torben will cover the story behind Rambøll’s IT transformation and journey towards becoming more innovative

An Ecosystem in Action
Dorthea Haldrup Nielsen, Head of Startup Accelerator within Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship (CSE) at Copenhagen Business School (CBS)
The Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship (CSE) is part of CBS and has developed into a thriving place for learning entrepreneurship. Learn how Go Grow Startup Accelerator promotes collaboration between students, teachers, researchers and the corporate sector, for the benefit of society

The Secrets of Staying Ahead of the Curve
Sahra-Josephine Hjorth, co-founder, CanopyLAB
Launched in 2015 following the CSE program, CanopyLAB invented a new way for companies to help their employees prepare for the future labor market. CanopyLAB CEO and PhD Fellow, Sahra-Josephine Hjorth will discuss their innovative approach to learning and how they make use of algorithms, gamification, and soon AI to allow employees to customize their learning experiences based on their preferences and personal learning style. CanopyLAB have recently received their second investment from a group of business angels from Denmark and the US. Sahra-Josephine Hjorth will share examples of how to stay ahead of the curve

Wrapup and Q&A

Light Networking Lunch 

Note: this event is free for guests of the speakers, members of DABF and first-time guests who might consider eventual membership. To explore becoming a DABF member, read more at About DABF or contact us here.  All our events are in English!


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