Can globalisation be a strategy for innovation?

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Too few are looking to the world to grow their opportunities and innovation capabilities.

 

 

There is someone somewhere that needs what you have

Many people simply sit and wonder why they can’t keep up in this modern fast-paced global business world. With accelerating change, chaos, excitement and sometimes fear, the businesses that win will bypass the traditional approach of using mass reach to connect with the market segments that matter most and they will simply focus on innovation.

Change is inevitable and it’s your ability to embrace the constant ups and downs of running an organisation and reaching out to what is possible that will dictate your success.

There is a growing amount of time spent on social networks and communities. People’s desires have shifted expectations to websites that can and will personalise their experience in order to be relevant. Success today will come to business people who think beyond their own backyard.

By choosing who to Friend, Like, Follow or Connect with across the world, they ultimately customise each and every online experience. People are now understanding that in order to achieve that personalised experience, they have to reveal personal information and most are willing to do so in exchange for a relevant experience.

 

“Globalisation will make our societies more creative and prosperous, but also more vulnerable”. George Robertson

 

Long gone are the days where impersonal greetings, poorly targeted noisy ads, or irrelevant product recommendations are accepted by web savvy customers and potential customers. They will quickly leave a site with too much irrelevant information. or that is cluttered with irrelevant ads.

 

Where do you start?

Your website and social media are at the heart of any globalisation along with cloud computing, mobile and information.

Anyone can globalise their business, no matter how large or small that business is, thanks to digitisation, virtualization, mobilisation, and cloud technologies. In fact, these days you can have a global client base, even if you’re a company of one and have just started.

 

So where is your organisation in the hierarchy of globalisation?

When we meet individuals or businesses for the first time, we mostly evaluate two things, trustworthiness and confidence. Here are some options to think about as you assess where you currently are and where you might want to be:

  • You manufacture products and provide services in one country and you sell your products and services in other countries. You might license your services to providers in other countries.
  • You manufacture products in one country and you sell and service your products in other countries, but you also manufacture those goods in other countries, a higher level of globalisation.
  • You manufacture products and provide services in one country. You also manufacture products and provide services in other countries, but you customise the products and services in the various countries based on the unique wants and needs of those countries, a higher level again of globalisation.

Of course, the levels go beyond just where you manufacture, sell and service your products. Your company has an executive team and a board of directors, who most likely, have travelled around the world. They know the old adage “you don’t know if you don’t go”.

You may have people on your board of directors that are actually from other countries, or the president or CEO or one of the other top leaders is from another country.

 

Getting started with personalisation

The challenge with offering a personalised experience on your website or social media, or delivering relevant messages, is that these goals are difficult to achieve until you know your site visitor well. A visitor’s very first interaction with your site triggers a new relationship and allows you to start progressively building a more complete picture of the individuals that visit their site while putting you on a new road to innovation, profits and growth.

The good news for marketers is that the popularity of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and others have brought the concept of online profiles to the masses as a way to make introductions between people and brands on a large scale. In creating profiles across the social web, elements of identity are revealed.

When activities, interests and social graphs from these social profiles are linked with information gathered from multiple third-party data providers and with behavioural and site activity data to develop a robust profile. With this knowledge, you have the ability to authentically engage and communicate with individuals in ways that provide the foundation for a long-term relationship.

 

Getting started with innovation

When activities, global interests and social profiles are combined with information you have gathered, you are in a position to start to innovate. With this knowledge, you have the ability to authentically engage and communicate with individuals in ways that provide the foundation for further product and service development and refinements.

You might be really surprised how your new customers on the other side of the world will trigger the necessary information and actually help you.

Gaps that exist in the global market, may not be readily seen. But, with the help of some international relationships who have experienced and understand the gaps, you might find you actually have the answers everyone is looking for.  Information and technology transfers between countries coupled with international investment can make a huge difference to you future profitability, growth and sustainability.

The clear lesson is that where open markets prevail, for capital, technology and human resources, the spread of innovation and economic progress will follow. As globalisation progresses, this is likely to be truer than ever before.

It is encouraging when you place innovation at the centre of your current thinking. The life of an innovation, through the research and development process, to a marketable product and onto the widespread diffusion across international boundaries is exciting and can be very motivating.

 

A word of caution

Think global, act local, by all means, but caution is called for because macroeconomic policies and in particular monetary policies can have a big impact on the economic cycle, you are familiar with.

Globalisation and innovation while producing more wealth, also tend to increase social inequalities. Today innovation and globalisation have vast societal implications. We have gone from an “industrial” to a “post-industrial” society, and onto the “information” society, where innovative information products and services are becoming more successful.

 

What’s next?

The heart of the matter could be that the pace of continuing change, resulting from innovation and globalisation, calls for both creative people and creative societies. Indeed, once the world crisis-stricken financial markets are re-shaped, there will be even more opportunities for innovation.

The only path to higher growth and productivity in the real economy will be to continue riding up on the emerging wave of pervasive technologies; in business, in energy, environmental, biological technologies, and communications.

Some people and governments have rightly started a debate on the creative society. The educational sector should now take the lead because education has always been at the forefront when preparing for the future. It is also a way of transmitting to young people the heritage of the past, including the good, the bad and the ugly, so they don’t make the same mistakes.

 

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Personal Experience

Communities and their businesses would do well to map out the entire chain of stakeholders who will determine the community’s success when dealing with globalisation and innovation.

When many people think of globalisation and innovation they think of risk.  It’s true that you can’t innovate without taking risks, but impulsive risk-taking can be counter-productive.

In fact, the best way to realise your dream is not to throw caution to the wind, but to start small and look at innovation as a step by step process, the world will still be there tomorrow. Bite off one country at a time.

From little acorns, big oaks grow.

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