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An innovative jump

Higher Education Minister Morten Østergaard's speech at CBS Case Competition Welcome Dinner in Copenhagen 27 February 2012.

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Your Royal Highness, Your Excellency, honoured guests and students. There is something special about being in these exceptional surroundings. One can gain a true sense of the history of Carlsberg.

It is a perfect location for this Welcome Dinner for the CBS Case Competition, on its 11th anniversary. But I would like to begin somewhere else. A different time. And a completely different competition.

The place is Mexico. The year is 1968. And the competition is the Olympic Games. A 21-year-old American is ready for the final of the high jump. His name is Dick Fosbury.

Dick Fosbury found the established jumping techniques too complicated. And since he was 16, he had experimented with new ones. He tried different techniques. And trained intensively until he found one that worked for him. Throughout the Olympic Games he used his new jumping style.

His competitors were baffled. At the last moment of Fosbury's run-up, he turned and jumped backwards, head first over the bar. All other athletes used the straddle technique and jumped sideways.

Back to the final in Mexico. The bar was raised to 2.24 meters, which would be a new Olympic record. Fosbury missed on his first two attempts. But cleared on his third. And won the gold medal.

I'm sharing this story because it gets to the heart of the case competition. Fosbury's approach to competition is a good example of successful problem-solving. It's all about preparation, competitive spirit and innovative thinking.

Stiff competition

So let us now return to the present. To Copenhagen and the CBS Case Competition 2012. The CBS Case Competition is the real thing! The companies are real. The cases are real. It looks like the perfect setup to me.

As Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education, I think it's vital to facilitate collaboration between education and business. We must ensure students get to know about real challenges and problems in businesses.

And we must ensure that businesses get to know the young students. This is where the CBS Case Competition stands out. The event is an unique example of how we can build bridges between international universities and businesses. And I have no doubt of the importance of this bridge-building.

Collaboration is critical to innovation, strengthening competitiveness and creating jobs. We can't wait around in the hope that jobs will grow on trees. We must create growth ourselves. And you students will play a key role. That's why it is important that CBS Case Competition is raising the bar for cooperation between business and education.

The best challenge the best

The participant list at this year's CBS Case Competition is impressive. Some of the very best international universities have been gathered together. And there is a very strong field of high-profile and exciting businesses.

The best challenge the best. It raises the level of competition and improves quality. And there will be some great challenges in the coming days. It's no walk in the park. If anything, it is an academic marathon.

I wish to praise the organisers and participants for their efforts. And I would like to thank all the dedicated and ambitious student volunteers at CBS. You are the driving force behind this event. You bring this all together. Thank you also to the many businesses that have backed this event.

Innovative ideas are priceless

Let me return to high jump and Dick Fosbury. Everyone made fun of his new technique in the beginning. It was dubbed the "Fosbury Flop" after a reporter wrote that he looked like a, "fish flopping in a boat". But they weren't laughing for long. Especially after Fosbury won gold in Mexico.

At the Munich Olympics 4 years later, more than half the competitors used the Fosbury Flop. And it's the most popular high jump technique today. Dick Fosbury's perseverance and innovative approach were a huge success.

I believe there is a lesson there; a flop doesn't have to be a failure. Innovative ideas are priceless. And it doesn't matter how high the bar is set. Keep trying and you will clear it.

With these words I think we should raise our glasses in a toast to the student volunteers from CBS, all of the competitors and businesses involved.


last modified Jan 11, 2022