Denmark


Featured case study:

NemID – Danish National eID and digital signature scheme
NemID is a national electronic ID and digital signature infrastructure that has been developed in close cooperation with the banking sector and is operated by a private provider for the government and Danish banks. The system, which is provided free of charge to Danish citizens, offers a common identification method for citizens to access both public and private services. Read more about this case study here.
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For Denmark, public sector innovation is not a goal in itself but a means to reach a number of key political objectives. Being under the continued pressure of the recovery from the financial and economic crisis, forces the public sector to innovate. It is forced to take decisions on needed reforms, but not necessarily decisions following conventional or habitual approaches to finding solutions to a number of short- to medium-term financial and longer-term demographic challenges in a highly sophisticated welfare state as seen in Denmark.

Political and economic goals towards 2020
The Danish government launched in February 2013 a revised plan for job creation and economic growth towards 2020. The main focus of the plan is to increase job creation in especially the private sector and support increased competitiveness and economic growth in general by:

  • Reforming the framework conditions for private enterprises (with a growth contribution of EUR 2.7 billion).
  • Initiating reforms that increase the educational level and the employment (with a growth contribution of EUR 2.7 billion).
  • Initiating reforms of the public sector and ensuring sustainable public finances (with a growth contribution of EUR 1.6 billion).

Key elements for public sector innovation
For Denmark, public sector innovation is an important tool to achieve the political and strategic goals for public sector modernisation as an integrated part of an overarching policy for job creation and economic growth towards 2020.

The Danish government has identified eight areas for public sector modernisation:

  • Focus on impacts, results and mutual learning.
  • Digitisation in the public sector.
  • Use of welfare technology.
  • A service-minded public sector by supporting a continuous cultural transformation with the citizens in mind.
  • Work time regulation and working conditions in the public sector should support a more flexible usage of resources with a continuous improvement of productivity in mind.
  • Increased public-private co-operation.
  • Better regulation and goal-orientation.
  • Increased focus on exploiting capacities, economic management, leadership and better public procurement for all public institutions.

Digitisation – a key driver for innovation and cost-savings
For the period 2011-2015, the Danish government approved a strategy and action plan for public sector digitisation paving the way for the next ambitious steps towards full digital service delivery in Denmark – or “digital-by-default”. By 2015, Denmark has the goal of having at least 80% of all written communication between the public and public authorities digital only by law.

Towards a more efficient and smarter welfare state
A common public sector strategy for digital welfare was launched by the government in September 2013 and covers the period 2013-2020. It targets seven areas. The aim is to transform public front-line services within the health sector, social services, and education and learning and make them long-term sustainable in the light of increasing demographic challenges:

  • Dissemination of telemedicine throughout Denmark.
  • Effective collaboration in the health area.
  • Welfare technology in nursing and care.
  • New digital paths in case processing.
  • Digital learning and education.
  • Digital collaboration in education.
  • Preconditions for digital welfare.

Latest tweets about public sector innovation in Denmark

Public sector innovation activities in Denmark


A common public sector Strategy for Digital Welfare 2013-2020 was launched in September 2013. The aim of the strategy is to accelerate the use of ICT and welfare technology in front-line public service delivery. Specifically, concrete initiatives and objectives in the strategy will speed up the use of efficient and effective digital and technological solutions in healthcare, care for the elderly, social services and education.

The Digital Strategy 2016-2020 sets the course for Danish public sector digitisation efforts and their interaction with businesses and industry. Jointly with the businesses and public institutions at local, regional and central-government levels, which on a daily basis take advantage of the opportunities provided by digitisation, this strategy will help build the basis for a strong and secure digital Denmark.
Read more on the Danish Agency for Digitisation’s website

OECD publications
about Denmark


The Governance of Inclusive Growth 2016 chapter on Denmark (full report available here)

Government at a Glance 2015: Denmark factsheet (full report available here)
Find more OECD publications about Denmark