28 April, 2012

Changing Culture?

After being back for a months or so now, a few things strikes me as common amongst all culture and that is the need of being local. I guess you all heard about the 80s and 90s theme about Think Global - Act Locally - basically build global solutions and localize them for each market's need. Very much the foundation of Nokia's world dominance (and now also Apple's) but more and more that is becoming more uncommon.

A few other companies have shown a different route to success, which is the reverse - Think Locally - Act Globally; in the sense where local market requirements, opportunities or skills can create global opportunities. Not totally different but creates a different mindset of how to operate and run a business.

But surprisingly in the industry where I now operate (software development/outsourcing), the need to think and act locally is far stronger than I expected. And it does not really differ from Finland, Stockholm, Malmö, Oslo or Copenhagen. Whoever I talk to, the need to speak local language and reside locally is equally important despite the obvious advantage of off-shoring test and development work. For example, in Oslo, there are no free IT resources. Unemployments is close to zero and the cost of hiring or sourcing consultants locally are amongst the highest in the world. Still, the thinking is to hire locally.

I would have thought that the ever-increasing globally competition would force companies to further drive cost-reductions, productivity enhancements and shorten time-to-market. In the case of Norway, productivity per hour are the highest in the world but the output is not that high, given the few hours worked, which slows down deliveries.

What are the change drivers? Will it ever change or?

Another reflection is the constant need to complain about how limited their local community is and the dream of how exciting other cities (read Beijing, Hong Kong) are in comparison. Amazingly actually as both Stockholm and Oslo are quite interesting, though a bit expensive, but the grass is always greener on the other side.

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