Branding a small state as an innovation business partner

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Approximately 50 small countries depend on international cooperation for their survival as sovereign nations. This case study contributes to the discussion of cosmopolitanism versus internationalism in public diplomacy and place branding. It argues that limited bilateral partnerships with universities and businesses based on government-to-government agreements and shared interest are a safer strategy for small countries seeking reputational security than outspoken support for cosmopolitan values. This strategy is a very useful form of place branding, especially in times of crisis and uncertainty. The case examined is Innovation Centre Denmark, with offices in innovation hotspots in various countries. It organizes its activities as bilateral triple helixes, inspired by the work of Henry Etzkowitz and his colleagues. The center developed as part of a nation branding strategy launched by Denmark, a small Nordic country, following the so-called Muhammad crisis in 2005-06. Then Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen described the controversy as Denmark’s worst international relations incident since WW2, as it damaged the country’s brand in some parts of the world. The article is multidisciplinary in nature, as it combines theories from international relations, business studies, and communication. The public diplomacy approach adopted is primarily represented by Nicholas Cull and his colleagues.
TidsskriftPlace Branding and Public Diplomacy
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - 2024
BegivenhedThe 7th Annual Conference of the International Place Branding Association: Place Branding in Times of Crisis and Uncertainty - Lund University, Helsingborg Campus, Helsingborg, Sverige
Varighed: 18 okt. 202320 okt. 2023


KonferenceThe 7th Annual Conference of the International Place Branding Association
LokationLund University, Helsingborg Campus

Bibliografisk note

In this article reference Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff (2000)
was missing and should have been ‘Etzkowitz, H., and
Leydesdorff, L. 2000. The dynamics of innovation: from
National Systems and “Mode 2” to a Triple Helix of univer-
sity-industry-government relations. Research Policy 29(2):
109–123. Figures 1, 2, 3 reprinted from page 111 in Etzkow-
itz and Leydesdorff with permission from Elsevier.’


  • Public Diplomacy
  • Triple Helix
  • Government-Private Partnerships
  • Innovation Centre Denmark
  • Reputational security
  • Place Branding Strategy

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