We were discussing in the office…. in this era of globalisation how cultural differences can still vary immensely. These cultural variances can really affect how people from different countries:
- respond to stimulus material
- use their body language
- understand marketing and design and thus their cynicism or acceptance
- have the ability to reveal the truth
- their appetite to get involved with consumer research
Realising this is absolutely key to ensure that you do not get false readings regarding the need for different country specific innovation ideas. We have often found far more commonalities than our clients had previously thought, which has enabled the successful development of global innovation ideas with consistent solutions across countries and regions. This is due to co-creating solutions with well thought through building block stimulus that has the flexibility to work universally.
So here is a little flavour from 4 recent countries we have been co-creating innovation ideas in and some of the cultural differences of the respondents we encountered….
- They are not used to having to rationalise or justify why they think something. So they need a lot of help to understand themselves. Co-creation games are important tools for this.
- What maybe surprising is they exhibit a strong ‘live and let live’ attitude. The Algerians are very accepting of other peoples’ ways and beliefs. However, this makes it difficult for them to say what they truly want for themselves.
- A very interesting misconception you may have is that it is a very male dominated society. It turns out that the mothers and mother-in-laws are all powerful and it is the women that make the jokes and suffer at the hands of their mother-in-laws!
- The stereotypical cliché of the Japanese is that they are very reserved and thus not a nation you could co-create with. However, they can open up and do, it is just not something they are used to doing. Gamification is a great tool to help them.
- As you may expect the Japanese are very considerate of other people. This means they tend to concentrate on what they think other people want and need rather than themselves.
- Their natural way of being is to be very logical so it is more difficult to get them engaged with their emotions. This makes positioning and tonality work very interesting so alternative approaches are required.
- It might be surprising to know that the Russians are very marketing and design savvy. They understand brands and use such terminology as positioning, renovation, colourways, graphics etc. On the other hand creative thinking is not one of their strengths.
- Guess most of you would have thought that Russian consumers would be very motivated by the opportunity to cash in on the respondent incentive. Uh no! In Moscow you need to be offering £60 an hour and on top of this they are notorious for not turning up so you always have to recruit two extra consumers.
- The Russians are not known for being great smilers but we have also found that they tend not to use many facial expressions. And it is surprising to realise how much we Brits rely on facial expression to read the level of engagement and appeal. If a Russian is looking completely nonplussed if often means they love it!
- As we all know, The Poles are well travelled but it maybe a surprise to know that they love all things British.
- There is a strong desire to be stylish and progressive and move away from their past but they haven’t quite got their design eyes in yet! What is considered contemporary and cool is often tacky and gaudy to us Brits.
- They are very happy to talk in detail about their lives and don’t hold anything back! Alongside this is a great bluntness and honesty. In fact, they are up there in the best nations to conduct co-creation with.
This has given us the idea for a league table of the best co-creating nations and what characteristics in a person or people make for great co-creators so watch this space!