Can Denmark Teach the World How to Ride a Bike? Unlocking the export potential in the Danish cycling industry through partnerships and innovation

Cecilie Buch Thomsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Cities all over the world are developing and an increase in urbanization will create several challenges related to energy, environment and climate such as flash floods, carbon emissions and congestion. This will lead to a growing demand for smarter and more sustainable solutions. The Danish cities take a holistic approach to urban development and alternative modes of transportation are elements in the solution. Denmark has for many years been known as a bicycle nation and numerous Danish companies work with cycling or in related industries. Due to the long tradition and cultural background with cycling, the Danish companies hold great knowledge and resources to develop innovative solutions for specific challenges and the world is increasingly looking towards Denmark for inspiration. The thesis examines how innovation and partnership in the Danish cycling industry can lead to an exploitation of the export potential. In order to identify an international competitive advantage, Porter’s Diamond Model is used as a framework, where the home demand is analysed through a PESTEL analysis and the factor conditions are identified by looking at the knowledge resources, where secondary data has been used as empirical evidence. The related and supporting industries are identified in a stakeholder map on the basis of the primary data, where semi-structured interviews have been conducted with companies in the industry, municipalities, and organisations. The salient stakeholders that possess all three attributes of urgency, power and legitimacy are consequently the municipalities and the related industries (transport, climate adaptation, architecture) where a horizontal integration in the value chain can benefit all actors. Through the analysis of the industry structure it is evident that such an integration is possible through a triple helix approach where public, private, and academia collaborate on the development of new innovative solutions. For a successful partnership, a governing body is necessary and the Cycling Embassy of Denmark potentially possesses these capabilities. A solution oriented partnership can incite the horizontal integration with other industries in order to develop solutions with multiple benefits as demanded by the cities. For a practical implementation, a platform for projects should be provided in order to inspire and illustrate the competences required to develop solutions. Thereby multiple stakeholders can join the partnership and contribute with knowledge in different areas. The industry should understand that a more holistic approach to both innovation, solution development and marketing is necessary in order to meet the demands from cities, both national and international.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages85