In a year or so the Danish center-right government is facing an election. But I am pretty much apolitical and I find the choice between on the one side a new center-left government lead by spineless, opportunistic leftist career politicians backed by revamped old communists and on the other hand a tired, lethargic, sitting government with an apparent lack of intellectual substance who relies on a social-national party for its parliamentary majority as a choice between the plague and the cholera.
With such a pessimistic and cynical outlook it was a real pleasant surprise to hear this morning that as part of cabinet reshuffling a friend of mine, Charlotte Sahl-Madsen, was elected as the new Danish Minister of Science, which post has as its unofficial title: Minister of IT. This is good news for science, information technology and more generally speaking, innovative thinking in the Danish society.
The Danish media has been speculating since the announcement about who is the new minister. To her great credit, Charlotte Sahl-Madsen has not spent much of her time trying to make a name of herself within Danish mainstream media. She has held leading positions in the strategic departments of both Lego and Danfoss, two pillars of Danish exporting industry. Lately, she has worked as leader of Danfoss Universe, a wonderful science park in the south Denmark that I have visited several times with my kids.
What can Charlotte Sahl-Madsen achieve as new minister of science (and IT). Probably not wonders. But that is due to the unfortunate low status of that particular ministry within the hierarchy of Danish ministries. But I think that she more than any other minister of science before her can set the agenda for innovation within the ministry and its resort. I expect her to be much more genuinely interested in open innovation, open government, open data and all other good things than any of her predecessors that were all more or less clueless in this field.
Charlotte Sahl-Madsen has IMHO the potential to be the best minister of Science that Denmark have had so far.
Full disclosure: Charlotte and I are both members of VL67 – a network for Danish leaders with business and culture.