Learning from your experience is hard. Learning from others’ might often seem impossible. Yet, when Network Leadership principles come into the picture, they create basis for knowledge sharing among people, partners, and even competitors. This is a story of the lessons shared, in this case among 180.000 companies in Norway.

Digital Norway is a non-profit organization inititated by Norwegian goverement and 18 largest companies in the country, with a single aim: helping SMEs nation-wide succeed with digitalization, through courses and shared insights. The initiative’s basic idea is to collaborate when possible and compete when necessary. Our collaboration with them didn’t come from a problem we needed to solve, but rather opportunities we could gain. By the end of the Network Leadership process, we:

Enhanced communication and interaction across Digital Norway

Increased the number of knowledge brokers in the organization network 

Improved use of partners and suppliers in the ecosystem

Shared know-how and recommendation with a number of SMEs in their network

JOIN21 Network Analysis uncovered great potential in helping us help Norwegian SMEs succeed with digitalization! - Liv Dingsør, COO Digital Norway



DigitalNorway was looking to identify smart methodologies to share with 180.000 Norway’s SMEs, and help them understand the benefits of digitalization in improving internal and external collaboration. At the same time, they wanted to see if those principles and practices they were about to share could be based on their own experience. In other words, the task was to take learnings from network analysis of Digital Norway’s 16 employees and apply it to nearly 200.000 other small and medium businesses.


We used JOIN21 Baseline to gather data points from digital surveys and workshops and to ultimately establish the view of how the organization works as a mix of formal and informal relations or, in short, as a network. Key insights:


  • Major opportunity in the readiness of staff to handle digital tools (digital fitness) and the openness to the sharing culture.



  • Knowledge flow depended heavily on two central figures, who handled the majority of information and served as a middle-man between different roles. This dynamic is proven to slow down productivity and blocks expertise sharing.
  • Few employees were isolated and not utilizing their expertise across the network. This finding was contrasted with a great desire to work across expert domains and partners.



  • Everyone has external links and keeps in touch with some partners, while only a few have connections to the same partners. This means the distance between employees and partners was often too long and blocked agility.



The network analysis showed great motivation, high digital expertise and a solid foundation based on common values. What was lacking was a clear plan on how to improve knowledge flow and strengthen connections. Based on our analysis and insights, a number of strategic initiatives were implemented to create stronger relationships between employees, customers and partners:


  • Increase digital fitness by connecting high-scorers with low-scorers: few central people with high digital fitness and strong sharing attitude were motivated to help others improve their skills.
  • Implement JOIN21 Collaboration to boost connectivity, expertise and agility.
  • Implement JOIN21 Insights to see how collaboration platform impacts the organizational flow and digital competence.
  • Share motivational, personal reports to each employee on how they can improve their Network Leadership skills.
  • Plan workshops to align targets for collaboration and sharing with partners and customers.




Better communication and more practical interaction across the organization.


Successful setup of smarter and more motivated cross-functional teams and projects.


Leaders and employees learned through insights and felt more motivated to reach KPIs.


Digital Norway enlisted JOIN21 Network Leadership as one of the key tools to improve productivity, motivation, value and ultimately scale growth in SMEs.

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