Welcome to Odense … City of Gamechangers … and a place to create the future.

January 25, 2016

Odense, Denmark’s third largest city, is probably most famous as the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. However in the 21st Century Odense is telling a new story – thinking differently about how to engage its citizens, to attract business and tourism, and to create a better future.

Odense wants to be a City of Gamechangers … which is where I come in.

Gamechangers are disruptive and innovative, start-ups and corporates, in every sector and region, reshaping our world. They are more ambitious, with stretching vision and enlightened purpose. They see markets as kaleidoscopes of infinite possibilities, assembling and defining them to their advantage. They find their own space, then shape it in their own vision.

They think about making things 10 times better, not just 10%.

Most of all they have great ideas. They out-think their competition, thinking bigger and different. They don’t play the game, they change the game.  They create their own space, innovating markets first, the way they work, what people want, and who they compete against – and then innovate their on business, on their own terms. They create their future.


Odense has already made a good start. Beyond the charming old houses, and quirky statues of their most famous son, there is a revolution happening. Here are just a few symbols of its “disruptive innovation” ..

Cycle down the transforming main street, Thomas B Thrives Street 

Odense has transformed its prospects by making itself a desirable place to live and invest. At the heart of this change is an extraordinary commitment to getting the whole city cycling.  Thomas B Thrives Street was built in the 1960s as a solution to growing car congestion: a fast-moving, four-lane road laid like a curved ribbon across the middle of the city. That ribbon was first trimmed 18 months ago when a central section of the street was closed to vehicles. More is to come as the rest of the road is transformed into a new heart for Odense, reserved for bikes and pedestrians, and lined with shops, cafes and homes. It is the centrepiece of a hugely ambitious, and initially controversial, near-£3bn makeover for Denmark’s third-biggest city, which is attempting to revive itself from slightly struggling post-industrial area to a hi-tech hub for education and industry. And at the centre of this transformation is the thing Odense boasts it does as well as anywhere in Europe: liveability.

Odense has become Europe’s “robot city” with a thriving high-tech cluster

Odense has become a world-class technology centre, with a unique cluster of companies and research institutes specializing in robotics and automation. Together, they create an ecosystem that fosters innovation from creative conception to industrial production. This environment offers ambitious technology companies prime conditions for growth.

25 years ago the city started on its robot journey, when Odense Steel Shipyard, Lindø, began developing robots and robot applications in collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark. Five years later, Mærsk McKinney Møller Institute, a high-tech center of excellence for intelligent autonomous systems, set up in Odense, as part of SDU. Following this, the Danish Technological Institute decided to establish their center for robotics in Odense. To date, the robotic and automation sector in Odense has grown exponentially, including 70 companies and 1,800 jobs.

Today’s robotic ecosystem established, enables companies and research institutions to contribute to each other’s growth and make each other stronger. These collaborative relationships have created a unique robot cluster, and advanced Odense Robotics to the forefront in several areas, with a particular strength in collaborative robots, drones and food automation.

Read more about Odense Robotics Start-up Hub

Changing the game in sports too … they don’t run around in circles in this town!

The athletics facility at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense has embarked on redefining the normal world of sport. Its running track, and sports facilities take on an unusual look within a rolling terrain with grass, lupines and trees. The classic races, throws and jumps are combined with unconventional obstacles along the way. Students jump over the sandy slope and run around in the steep running bowl.  The Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics use the facility as an outdoor laboratory and they have testing equipment, crossfit elements and an instruction room. It is also an open sports playground for the townspeople and passers-by. The daring grapple with the obstacle course’s 12 challenges, while roller skaters let the light guide them in the dark.

The “Athletics Exploratorium” is one more inspiring symbol of how Odense is intent on changing the game, becoming a 21st century city, a “City of Gamechangers” …




On 28 January 2016, I will be in Odense to explore the future …

How can we all be Gamechangers?

1000 – 1200 : Gamechanger Leaders … Are you ready to change the world? 

(CEO event, by invitation only)

  • Winning in a kaleidoscope world – Asia to Americas, young and old, genetics and robotics
  • What do the world’s 100 most innovative companies do – Alibaba to Amazon, Space X and Xiaomi
  • How can you change the game – 10 ways to rethink your business
  • Heads up … How will you change the world? … Bold, brave, brilliant
  • Q&A

1400 – 1600 : Gamechanger Innovators … The Future of Disruptive Innovation

(free event, sign up below)

  • Winning in a kaleidoscope world – Asia to Americas, young and old, genetics and robotics
  • What do the world’s 100 most innovative companies do – Alibaba to Amazon, Space X and Xiaomi
  • How can you change the game – 10 ways to rethink your business
  • Heads up … How will you change the world? … Bold, brave, brilliant
  • Q&A

Find out more about Gamechangers

The events will be stretching and inspiring, challenging you to see the world differently, embrace the best ideas of the world’s 100 most innovative companies, and think how could you disrupt your industry, and create a better future in your own vision.

Find out more about Gamechangers Odense

Download the keynote

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *