Don’t think of a pink elephant!

For all intents and purposes, don’t think of a pink elephant! And yet, that’s what you have in mind now. Now what do you think happens when you constantly hear that climate is a big problem that is becoming expensive and requires having to do without several things? Yes, you guessed it – it is now labelled in your brain as costly, troublesome and something that will take away things in life you enjoy. The irony is, that the green transition is a massive business opportunity, and it can be used as a powerful tool to rethink and innovate on current solutions. What if we started talking about it as an opportunity for development?

Climate change is raging, and more and more people around the world are recognizing that we need to do things differently. No different as in stopping doing all sorts of things, but as in “I dream of continuing to be able to do a number of things, but without the harmful effect”, and “I dream of a future for myself and my children in a stable and secure environment that serves as a safe framework for our lives”.

For this reason alone, the green transition is a gigantic business opportunity for those who rethink and develop all essential products and solutions that the world uses, into a version that contributes to restoring a stable ecosystem. It is such a big opportunity that “someone” will sit on it, invest and create the new versions of products and services and develop completely new ones. In Denmark, we have a unique opportunity to become a central part of the “someone”, but it seems that we are not really aware of it. To some extent our neighboring counties have similar conditions so as region we could become the go-to solution center for the world.

I see three factors that make Danish companies have a particularly favourable starting point in this race for tomorrow’s export billions, and to become the heroes when the story of how humanity handled the climate crisis is to be written. Three conditions that enable us to succeed in creating the innovations needed to rethink and develop solutions that a whole world lacks:

1.       Flat organizational structure: To succeed with the green transition, strategy and management must be combined with specific knowledge of content and production of products and services. The first part is found in top management, and the last among employees. Our flat organizational structures promote innovation, as employees dare to propose new ideas, and managers are open to suggestions from below and not so afraid of losing face.

2.       High basic knowledge and acceptance of climate and sustainability:  Danes have a broad understanding and acceptance of climate change, and we believe in science, which makes it easier to develop and implement sustainable initiatives.

3.       High level of knowledge and digitalization: Denmark has a high level of education and a number of companies that are recognized globally for things like functionality, quality, design and sustainability. In addition, we are a leader in digitalization, which will be an essential tool for developing innovative and sustainable solutions.


We must reach for it

Thus have a very special starting point in this part of the world, for succeeding in creating the new and better versions of products and services that solve all essential needs people have. Clothing, housing, energy, transport, food, hobbies, experiences, health….continue the list yourself.

But we must dare to reach for it – think bigger. Drop the idea that the green transition can’t be allowed to change anything for anyone, and that it is important to maintain the status quo – even for industries that struggle to be profitable at all, or areas in society that obviously make the living conditions worse for people and animals. Recognize that Denmark and the world in 2023 are not in their optimal stage, and that we can allow ourselves to aim for e.g. greater mental well-being, better health, less stress, more joy in life, greater nature experiences, better conditions for our children, etc.

It starts with us treating and talking about the green transition and climate as a development agenda and an opportunity rather than a minimization agenda and a problem. Next, we need to start putting into words what we would like more of and what meaningful business problems we would like to solve while we are it. When we create versions of products and services the world (including Denmark) needs that meet the needs and solve problems in a smarter way, that also contribute to making the world a better place, then the economy and job creation come as a nice byproduct.