Diversity is a Key Value in Digital Globalization

Jan 27, 2017

Article ImageWhen it comes to digital globalization much time, energy, and money is spent on processes, workflows, specifications or tools. This is logical enough, but the values underlying and propelling globalization deserve as much attention and consideration from the outset. Diversity is indeed a value that comes up naturally and crucially to define, explain, and execute content globalization--because it is all about people and personal experience. Beyond philosophical and social dimensions, diversity fuels many tactical and strategic decisions about globalizing and localizing content effectively, whether it is internally or externally. It is part of the global success chain. Here are a few examples of areas where it is at home.

From an organizational standpoint, leading digital globalization implies influencing, mentoring, and convincing a number of stakeholders and leaders across multiple regions and countries. Embracing diversity in leadership and business practices must not be an afterthought. Instead we must consider candidates’ cultural, linguistic, and functional backgrounds and profiles. There are plenty of examples showing how decision-making protocols and communication requirements may vary according to what people are, and where they are located. For example, virtual collaboration may require some adaptation--or even some exceptions--in markets where in-person meetings and direct contacts turn out to be most effective, although online channels may seem easier and faster at first sight. This has a direct impact on initial and continuous engagement with other teams, and the relevant type of resource management. The ability to convey messages and get things achieved depends on how positively authority is perceived and received. So does the acceptance of micro management or management through influence.

From a customer perspective diversity means understanding and delighting clients as individuals and as part of groups or audiences. “Come as you are and we will make you happy as you are” should be a subliminal message in each online campaign, digital property, and experience delivery. As there is no such thing as a normalized experience around the world, diversity requirements and numbers must speak louder than words and assumptions. Tolerating no compromise about who customers really are and what they are used to doing is the first step to respect them--which should be made prior to creating and delivering any content for them. Actually moving without this preliminary step leads to failure more often than not and sooner rather than later. Acquiring and leveraging diversity data and insights are more than necessary efforts. It is an investment with one of highest returns ensuring and accelerating digital globalization at the speed of now. Neither is it easy nor is it quick for globalization leaders and practitioners to change their views and to let others change theirs. Alignment and education are keys to creating and maintaining a mindset embedding practices to accommodate customer diversity and evolving with it.

From a process and technology angle, diversity remains a challenge as much as a facilitator. Some may say that it makes product or project lifecycles more difficult. In other words, it may be seen as another layer of complexity. Obviously it would be more straightforward to simplify workflows and rely on out-of-the-box tools that are expected to fit nicely in “the rest of the world” framework just like it would be easier to consider the world flat. Reality may bite, but the human factor is still there regardless of the recent progress in automation, machine learning, or artificial intelligence. Embedding diversity imperatives in design and development processes, and in system specifications, helps keep the balance right between local acceptance and global effectiveness. While these are primarily user benefits they generate savings and gains for the business directly and indirectly. Here again requirements are of functional, linguistic, and cultural nature. At the same time diversity facilitates content globalization and localization by highlighting requirements, expectations, and standards that matter across markets from the start. As a matter of fact it speeds it up by reducing the number of iterations in design and development over time while anticipating local drivers and planning local enablers along the way.

Embracing diversity as a value may be scoped differently according to regions and countries. Yet it remains consistently defined as welcoming naturally and recognizing individually in order to deliver personally. It is the essence of local experiences and what makes digital content drive growth and be truly global.

Related Articles

The internet has closed the distance between countries around the world, democratizing access to content from wherever you are, whenever you need it. Increasingly, companies are operating in global markets—whether they intended to or not.