Necessity is the mother of invention. In countries where political stability exists, capital is available, knowledge and technology are accessible, and business savvy is abundant, innovative organizations bloom to service these needs with new products and services.
In 1954, Maslow classified human needs in his hierarchy pyramid. Since, the spread of globalization proved his theory 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 companies to sell their products 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 innovate or influence innovation 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. It 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. You can infuse product ideas 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 to process localization projects for our customers. This portal interconnects all stakeholders including customers, project and product managers, translators, in-country reviewers and even client beta-testers. They 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 finds its way back to product managers and decision makers.
Reverse innovation starts with closing the feedback loop between worldwide users and product managers. Once you close that loop, astute product managers will see the potential of the shared feedback. This is 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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