How doing business internationally broadens the mind

Get ready for impact

The use of cloud services and web technologies means that it is no longer important where your physical base is located. Technology is changing every aspect of our lives and the ability for people working within both government and private organisations to work remotely is changing the way we do business (for the better). This sociological impact means that designers, developers and business professionals who work remotely can have a direct impact on both the environment around them and the wider world.

Adopted globally

This decentralisation of knowledge and work has disrupted many industries and price is often the first thing to change. A coder based in a low-cost region such as Asia can undercut his peers in California or Western Europe. Real time working tools such as Jira boards, Trello and Slack mean that teams can work effectively and efficiently wherever team members are located.

Add culture to this globalised decentralisation and the mix becomes significantly richer. I have first-hand experience working with clients in some of the most multi-cultural cities in the world such as Amsterdam, London and Dubai. Multi-cultural teams look at challenges through different lenses. It is natural to have inbuilt bias even if you don’t realise yourself. Where you were brought up, where you went to college and your circle of friends all influence your outlook on life and how you approach a challenge. Bringing together diverse cultures encourages discussion, it helps to produce a richer all-inclusive solution. Digital products and services are used by humans and so a rich all-inclusive product or service is more likely to be successful.

Culture promotes creativity

It is often said that travel broadens the mind however people who travel but fail to engage with the local culture have less of a creative boost than those who immerse themselves in it.

Dubai Future Accelerators

Lee and Abs from Dubai Future Accelerators

There are many examples of companies who have failed in their attempt at doing business in a new territory because they haven’t recognised the cultural differences. If you want to succeed in developing a product or service internationally you need to consider many things including, language, religious beliefs and different ways of working in order to build a robust and mutually beneficial business strategy.

Understanding your audience

Body language, casual and business etiquette, transparency and respect are some of the first things that I personally consider when approaching new international markets. It is important to recognise the cultural differences and ways of working, but more importantly to respect these differences even if you do not yet understand them. Change impacts all of us, it’s just that some adapt to it easier than others. Whether one shares the same beliefs or not, if you are to achieve success in international business a mutual understanding is imperative. Relationship building blocks are a foundation for growth. It is my belief that strong international collaboration between diverse cultures can and will produce better products and services and allow people to achieve more.

Take every opportunity to learn, understand and appreciate as many different cultures as you can in your lifetime. You never know where the creativity can lead you. Disruptive innovation comes from all corners of the earth. Often a problem in the most challenging environment can create the most life-changing solution.

Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA)

In September 2018 Gofore were selected to participate on the DFA program. This program is designed to bring together companies from across the Globe to co-create products and services with the aim of helping the Dubai Government entities face challenges of making Dubai the City of the Future. Working with the DFA and various government authorities has highlighted the importance of appreciating and embracing cultural differences. I have been working with people from all walks of life from university students to senior government officials all of whom share a passion for improving peoples lives through digital. This phase of the DFA program draws to a close in late November – check out my next post to learn more about some of the exciting solutions that will be developed as a result of the program.

You can read more about the Dubai Future Accelerator program here:  The Dubai Future Accelerator Program

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