The more I travel, the more I realize that it’s not just language that can be a barrier to innovation.
Knowing that English is the de facto language of science and the default international business language helps facilitate global communication and collaboration. Advising on successful international collaboration means I spend a great deal of time travelling these days. Different people do the same thing in a variety of ways. They record results differently. Their approaches vary widely. The list goes on.
I’m just back from a six-week trip that brought me into contact with several research organizations looking to improve their research & development (R&D) collaborations across their global sites. It was a journey that took me across the US, Switzerland, Germany and Australia.
While everyone I met was involved in similar or even identical projects, what struck me was how each of these global sites automatically took a different approach. To put it simply, every one of them did it their way.
Whereas in one country, there was an overwhelming feeling of empowerment for everyone to contribute, precision and working to regimented standards took precedence in another. A strict hierarchy was the preferred tactic in one, as opposed to a strong focus on problem solving through social interaction elsewhere.
I’d never claim that any of these approaches are right or wrong. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. But what is blindingly clear is that successful collaboration needs a technological solution which bridges diversity and harmonizes processes, irrespective of the domain. Doing it your way is about having the right technology in place to ensure that language and cultural diversity, and differing methodologies are not barriers to global collaboration.
To do this requires sharing a single platform that can handle all kinds of input in various formats, from a range of global sources, presented in a way that gives everyone involved the fullest, clearest picture of everything that has been done to date. Imagine if you are following a set of instructions to repeat any experiment that omits a vital nuance, such as “Solution A has to be kept cold and agitated for 10 minutes prior to use”. That kind of thing happens MUCH more often than one might think!
IDBS E-WorkBook Suite puts everyone on the same platform, whatever their individual methodologies. It gives complete access to every recorded piece of information, in an easily accessible, comprehensive summary. That guarantees that all vital insights are passed on to everyone, wherever they work and however they work. And that’s got to be good news for successful international collaboration, whatever language you speak.