Translation and Localization Promote Reverse Innovation

Necessity is the mother of invention. In countries where political stability exists, capital is abundant, knowledge and technology are accessible, and business savvy can be depended upon, innovative organizations bloom to service these needs with new products and services.

In 1954, Maslow classified human needs in his hierarchy pyramid. Since, with the spread of globalization, it’s been proven that his theory is universal. Yes, differences among peoples still remain but they are mainly due to cultural nuances. By localizing products, we’ve been able to address cultural needs, facilitating for products to be sold worldwide.

While emerging countries have similar needs, often they differ based on where their average population is on the hierarchy pyramid. Given the right environment, they are also driven to innovate or influence to meet their specific needs.

Meet reverse innovation, or also known as trickle-up innovation. This is innovation that takes place in emerging countries, where cost containment measures are of chief concern, then finds its way into the developed world to be sold as a low-cost alternative to established more expensive products or services.

Is reverse innovation a prominent trend and can the translation-localization industry facilitate its propagation? Absolutely! Globalization trends are permitting companies to pursue markets wherever and whenever they materialize. Product ideas can be infused in the product no matter where they originate from, if they promise a market that can financially justify their existence. With the advent of technology and collaboration, cross-cultural innovation is very achievable.

To give you an example, GlobalVision uses a translation management portal called gvAccess to process localization projects for our customers. In this portal, all stakeholders including customers, project and product managers, translators, in-country reviewers and even client beta-testers are interconnected, share the same assets and collaborate on making sure the final product meets the needs of the international end-user in every detail.

With such portal and environment, feedback from the user is bound to find its way back to product managers and decision makers.

Reverse innovation starts with closing the feedback loop between worldwide users and product managers. Once that loop is closed, astute product managers will see the potential of the shared feedback, not only for a set of users, but for all potential users, regardless of their geographical location. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is indeed universal driving product demand worldwide.


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