Danish Industry – networks now and in the future
The Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri – DI) is Denmark’s largest employer and business association. The association represents 10,000 small, medium and large companies from all over Denmark and with activities all over the globe. To drive and facilitate networks and networking is in their DNA, and something they have done for a very long time both locally and internationally. Network facilitation is most often taking place at in real life meetings; however, there is an increasing focus on creating professional communities that are alive in between the face-to-face meetings, to foster micro-learning also in a digital space.
We have talked to Kinga Szabo Christensen, Director for Management Development & Productivity, whose department is in charge of working strategically with networks in DI.
How do you work strategically with networks?
We work with networks on three levels. The top level is at director level, typically at CEO level and directors of production, CFOs, innovation or HR directors. Then we work with networks on general manager level and finally specialist networks. The primary purpose of member networks is to strengthen the relationship and knowledge sharing between companies. We facilitate networks because we believe that it makes companies stronger and better. It is through networks that member companies have a sense of community, a space for learning and reflection and development, which means they actually strengthen each other.
How do you do it in practice?
In practice, we are very keen to put the members together physically at face-to-face meetings and conferences, as we believe personal relationships are very important and is also what is requested from our member companies. Each network therefore meets approximately four times per year, where the subject and theme is a result of co-creation between the members and DI. Most networks are based on individual relationships, but we of course also strive to make the professional outcome very high. We think it is important to hear what are the needs of the members and to address the challenges they are facing right now. In this way we stay relevant to the companies and create the best learning process.
How do you work with networks internationally?
DI is a global organization and have representatives in many different countries where we help member companies into these countries. DI has in many years worked with networking on a global level, which results in a large network with other employer associations in Africa, Asia, the BRIC-countries and in the US, where we have representatives. We work a lot with international networks so that our Danish member companies with a global presence can gain from these networks. Danish companies are major exporters, and their needs are therefore equally international.
Are you working with networks digitally?
Yes, we have a digital platform, DI Net, a digital system where we gather all our member companies and networks, so they can access their network site and exchange comments and information among each other about upcoming events, themes etc. We are currently working on an improved digital solution, where the objective is to create a full digital universe and community for our members. Here the focus is on further enabling our members to help and learn from each other in between meetings. In this way, we can create even more value.
Is it a challenge to get member companies to use the digital channels?
It is always a challenge to get people to change behavior. However, digitization is necessary and inevitable and we see digital solutions and face-to-face meetings as complementary channels rather than an either or. Furthermore, digitization is now anchored in most boards and among directors, so it is very much on the agenda, and once people see the advantages everybody will move in that direction.
Do you want to know more about DI and its networks? Please visit https://www.danskindustri.dk/kurser-netvark-og-konferencer