Denmark Remains A Digital Frontrunner: Cooperation Across All Levels Of Society
Published on August 25, 2022
In 2021, Denmark was ranked 1st out of the 27 EU member states as the most digitised society.
Today it leads the way in connectivity, with 99% of the total population being connected to the internet at the start of 2022
Denmark is one of the leaders in digital public services, with high levels of interaction between citizens and all levels of government.
As a result, it is now viewed as one of the world’s most advanced and successful GovTech countries.
Danish digital ambitions were large-scale, with all levels of government (from central to regional government) and municipalities involved.
This encompassed administrative institutions (such as ministries, municipal and regional administrations, public sector institutions and agencies) as well as hospitals, schools, universities and more.
One of the big wins of digitisation efforts is providing a single digital communications platform for all official letters sent to citizens and businesses, which has been available since 2014.
The Danish way
The government, businesses, and citizens have worked together in Denmark to create a digital society.
The country has a strong focus on innovation, which has led to the development of cutting-edge technologies and solutions.
The Agency for Digitisation has been the driving force enabling the country to reach its targets.
It was set up in 2011, and the agency was charged with the government’s digitisation policies.
Intending to renew the Danish welfare state, the agency is responsible for implementing the government’s digital ambitions and using digital welfare technology in the public sector.
However, the Danish digital transformation efforts are based on sharing a unique and common goal of embracing the digital mindset with citizens and the private sector as key partners in this process.
For the Danes, everyday life is digital.
This means the public sector is fast becoming wholly digital and focusing on creating a coherent and citizen-focused environment.
Keeping up with change
As the central sector that supports citizens, public sector organisations are under more pressure to provide the same customer experience as a bank.
At the same time, the cost-of-living crisis has put a massive strain on citizens, with inflation reaching 40 year high.
This means that support is needed more than ever.
The Danish government has really understood the challenges when it comes to building trust among the communities they serve.
In the first half of 2022, new political visions were offered for the next chapter in Denmark’s digital development.
These strategies emphasise the fact that digital solutions are not a goal in and of themselves.
After all, digital technologies are simply tools to meet significant societal challenges.
Strategic planning, strong collaboration and broad political and popular support
While the scope of the national strategy is, in fact, new, the digital strategy for the public sector isn’t.
It is built upon more than 20 years of ambitious strategic cooperation across different levels of government.
Previous strategies have included mandatory digital communication with the public sector and the introduction of digital solutions for almost all administrative public services.
The government established a partnership for the future of digital development in March 2021 to ensure that the new digital strategies would represent the interests of all stakeholders.
The partnership comprised 28 members from Danish businesses, civil society, research communities, and local/regional governments.
Their goal was to advise the government on how to harness the opportunities provided by digital technologies, offering more than 40 recommendations.
Denmark has long been a digital frontrunner, and its recent focus on innovative cooperation across all levels of society is a testament to that.
By focusing on collaboration and innovation, Denmark is able to maintain its position as a digital leader.
This commitment to cooperation ensures that all citizens have access to the latest technology and can take advantage of the opportunities it provides.
As other countries strive to catch up with Denmark’s digital prowess, it is clear that the country’s focus on cooperation will continue to pay off.
About the Author
Mohammad J Sear is focused on bringing purpose to digital in government.
He has obtained his leadership training from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, USA and holds an MBA from the University of Leicester, UK.
After a successful 12+ years career in the UK government during the premiership of three Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair, Mohammad moved to the private sector and has now for 20+ years been advising government organizations in the UK, Middle East, Australasia and South Asia on strategic challenges and digital transformation.
He is currently working for Ernst & Young (EY) and leading the Digital Government practice efforts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and is also a Digital Government and Innovation lecturer at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po, France.
As a thought-leader some of the articles he has authored include: “Digital is great but exclusion isn’t – make data work for driving better digital inclusion” published in Harvard Business Review, “Holistic Digital Government” published in the MIT Technology Review, “Want To Make Citizens Happy – Put Experience First” published in Forbes Middle East.
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