PREPARING NORWAY FOR A DIGITAL SHIFT
BY KIRSTI HOVLAND
Its aim is to create a platform that enables the sharing of knowledge and expertise as well as to encourage collaboration across companies and industries. It is a non-profit commercially-oriented company owned by 15 leading companies, of which Ferd is the only one that is an investment company. Its other shareholders include Kongsberg Gruppen, Telenor, Statoil, DNB, DNV-GL, Yara, Aker and Schibsted.
Ferd Magazine recently met with the CEO of DigitalNorway, Tor Olav Mørseth, at Blindern Science Park, from where the company is setting up collaborations with prominent innovation teams across Norway. Its aim is to develop and disseminate digital expertise by connecting companies, industries and academics with each other and driving digitisation projects across companies and industries.
“We can sometimes be a bit too traditional in terms of how we learn from one another”, explains Tor Olav Mørseth, who joined DigitalNorway from Adressavisen, a regional newspaper, where he was Chief Editor. In this role, particularly over the last two years, he experienced just how challenging it can be to face competition from global companies such as Facebook and Google.
“Working in an industry that is changing from what was in practice a monopolistic industry to one experiencing how digital technology can completely change the way in which people work, who your competitors are, and what your business model is, was a great learning experience”, explains Tor Olav Mørseth.
DigitalNorway has already launched specific services aimed at SMEs, including a tool to assess how digitally mature companies are. This service also identifies to what extent different businesses are able to renew their expertise and business models and so reinvent themselves as digital organisations.
“Many business leaders are still struggling to understand what they need to do differently to succeed. Also, very few have the resources and tools they need to be successful”, comments Tor Olav Mørseth.
Fredrik Bjørland summarises why it is appropriate for Ferd to have an ownership stake in DigitalNorway as follows: “It makes sense for Ferd to have an ownership stake in DigitalNorway because our portfolio companies are becoming exposed to new and potentially disruptive technologies that are creating threats and opportunities in terms of their future growth and profitability. Knowing more about new technology and digital business models will be important to their ability to maintain and create value, as well as to their capacity to address threats from competitors. We are now seeing examples of this in Norway, such as Facebook taking market share from Schibsted in the classified ads area”.
The whole interview is available in the Ferd Magazine (in Norwegian).