This article is written by Brian Malika, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.
Yousef Hamidaddin leads the Innovative Solution Board, an initiative from the Foundation of HRH the Crown Prince of Jordan, and was previously the Chief Executive Officer of Oasis 500. His current focus is on developing funding models for startups and SME’s across the region to be launched this year, and creating innovative funds that can deliver the rebuilding requirements for distressed countries such as Syria, and Yemen.
In the pursuit of game-changing ideas, entrepreneurs find themselves traveling across the globe to experience the creativity from others that have already made it or figured the right way to do business. This is seen in the accelerator programs, business summits and even university courses that welcome entrepreneurs from all walks of life to participate.
The truth of the matter is that benchmarking innovative ideas with others from other communities opens up an entrepreneurs mind, but again does this model of gaining knowledge offer an effective solution in the long run? There have been instances where an entrepreneur gets a ‘perfect model’ of how to solve a certain problem and then imports it back to their countries or societies in its original form. Then after investing heavily in this borrowed idea, it turned out that things weren’t working as planned.
Therefore there stands a risk of entrepreneurs copying business ideas from abroad into their communities that eventually become hard to implement due to environmental differences in the two scenarios. Hence the reason we advise that in order to achieve exponential growth, then the business solutions intended to solve a particular social problem in a certain community must be ideated from scratch at the grassroots level and as such all the knowledge or experience is borrowed from a foreign place community must be localized.
Even the words that relate to business ideas that you have borrowed from a foreign country must be localized. This is because an entrepreneur might borrow a great business idea from abroad and still the maintain its foreign naming. The result of an entrepreneur maintaining a foreign name for a business idea that they copied abroad is sometimes felt when investors feel skeptical by thinking that such a business project might have foreign influence or bound to face patent concerns in future.
And sometimes, an entrepreneur might borrow a foreign business idea from abroad to effectuate the problem-solving process in their local community. Luckily, this foreign business concept might end up being exceptionally successful in the entrepreneurs’ community but not until someone comes from nowhere and start claiming patent rights to the same! In such scenarios, the local entrepreneur sometimes might lose huge shares
Another challenge that comes with borrowing completely ideas from a foreign country is the aspect of repeating the same innovative model that has been borrowed continuously in a particular society. The same way you as an entrepreneur are making efforts to borrow innovative ideas from a foreign community that has progressed in a certain field of business your working in could be the same move being taken by your many other competitors.
Therefore borrowing ideas from other communities is not authentic in its sense. But get me right am not discouraging the exchange of knowledge and ideas across societies but rather advocating for cautious and the need to include the localization aspect of ideating business solutions.