The current economic situation worldwide continues to be one of crisis. Once in a while, some gurus predict the end of the crisis, but they usually do not agree on the exact date. Over time, management teams of most organizations have understood that the key to survival is standing out from the competition. The main elements to pursue in order to reach this goal are innovation and multinational presence.
As such, technological companies have a great responsibility: they must be the leading sector in the path towards economic recovery. In fact, they already play an increasingly important economic part, as large technological enterprises have become economic leaders around the world, and the role of small and medium-sized companies on a more reduced scale should not be underestimated either. In other words, technological companies of all sizes will act as triggers for recovery, as they boost the efficiency and productivity levels of other sectors.
Innovation is team work
Guido Stompff, an Océ designer, highlights the importance of collective thinking for R+D in his PhD thesis, which he defended at the Delft University of Technology. “Innovation is often a new concept that usually arises from the interaction between experts, due to the fact that, when their knowledge is combined, new ideas appear that nobody had thought of before”. This new process, which Stompff refers to as “team cognition”, is the binding mechanism that aligns and coordinates group activities into a whole: the product.
When a company decides to invests their efforts in a product, their success basically resides in whether they are capable of standing out from the competition and positioning themselves correctly. In this sense, experts underline that it is not the rivalry among different products, but the customers’ view of these products that matters. This means that defining a target audience and highlighting product features essential to this target should be fundamental parts of the strategy.
Likewise, technological firms dedicate a large part of their revenue to R+D and adapt their processes to their clients’ needs. In other words, in addition to maintaining active players in the market, they are feeding back their experience from the field into their own processes. This ability to adapt and be flexible when needed will, without a doubt, mark the difference.
On the other hand, the competitive edge of small and medium-sized companies lies in their proximity to their clients. These close relationships enable these companies to innovate, as they turn direct first-hand information into new product development.
The Cluetrain Manifesto is a document written in 1995 that contains 95 ideas about how business relationships should develop in the newly connected market. One of its theses states that “Markets are now interconnected on a human-to-human level and, as a direct result, markets are getting smarter and profoundly joined in conversation. Companies that do not understand this evolution, are losing their best opportunity.”
International presence, both physically and virtually, means an added value for any company when competing in a globally connected market. In this sense, one of the Manifesto’s ideas highlights that “There are no secrets. The online market knows more than companies about their own products. Regardless of whether the news is good or bad, everyone is informed. “
From the beginning of the crisis, management teams of technological companies have reconsidered their strategies and repositioning methods to adapt to the new global situation. The goal is to sell their knowledge, structure and technologies outside their borders, as close relationships in their immediate environment are making way for a more international presence, with more opportunities to obtain resources if they are competitive.
A company’s international presence may consist of different levels, which may or may not be mutually compatible. Establishing business in one or more countries tends to be a valid option mainly for large enterprises, while expansion strategies through partner alliances seem to be the most interesting option for small and medium-sized companies as these alliances maximize the organization’s presence abroad. As such, English is without a doubt the language of technology worldwide. However, other languages, such as Russian, Chinese and Portuguese, should also be taken into account, via Website translation and/or direct communication, in order to better reach these important markets. Finally, there are the social media platforms, of course. Social media has become an essential means for companies to spread information and create fluid interaction with their public.
Information Sources: Guido Stompff, Delft University of Technology, Cluetrain Manifesto