This past week, I visited Copenhagen, invited to speak about my new book by Francesco Lapenta at Roskilde University. It was part of a seminar for his research group, and I spoke alongside Claus Bunkenborg from Danske Bank and Michael Eis from Booomerang.dk, a Danish crowdfunding platform.
Good scholarly conversations are, sadly, hard to come by, but I’m happy to say this was one of the best ones I’ve taken part in. The discussion was lively.
Bunkenborg discussed the changes facing Danske Bank (and many other banks around the world), as banks move to close many of their branches and shift from face-to-face tellers to other digital products, such as mobile banking apps. This raises an interesting question:
If customer service is a core concept for banks, how does customer service change when tellers are replaced by apps? The answer, I think, is that well-designed, usable digital interfaces become oh so important. This resonates with a study I published out of my dissertation last year, which found that an interest, well-designed, usable website was a key motivator for participation in crowdsourcing. That is, people actually are motivated to participate by good design, not just dependent on it.
Eis discussed the progress crowdfunding has made in Denmark and his plans for crowdfunding in the investment sector going forward. In the U.S., crowdfunding as an investment strategy is hitting some legal snags, but it will eventually come to be. So here is the key question: How big will crowdfunding as an investment strategy for start-ups become in the U.S. and abroad? Will this become a normal thing or still a niche, specialty kind of route for entrepreneurs? Is crowdfunding suitable for all industries, or just some? And what are the potential abuses in crowdfunding?
See? Many, many thought-provoking questions from my Denmark trip. That’s the sign of a good seminar.
I also had the pleasure of enjoying some great meals and casual conversations with Francesco and Fabian Holt, another professor at Roskilde. I also made a day trip to beautiful Malmö, Sweden, to see grad school colleague and Lund University researcher Katie Sullivan, and I got back in touch with a friend from Trinity University, Nora Ziegenhagen, who is heading up branding for Google in the region. So I guess Facebook serves a function…to keep people connected!