Why local insights are the first step to global innovation

Why local insights are the first step to global innovation

03rd Jun 2022

Why local insights are the first step to global innovation

Local insights are an essential part of the innovation process and a key contributor to its success at an international level. When we refer to innovation we are looking at a broad range of industries, this can relate to product or market launch as well as more general startup launches.

In a global and cross-cultural environment, this isn’t an easy feat. Companies might come up with a great product concept that answers needs in their core/ home market, but how can they ensure it will also resonate in other countries?

These answers are all found in granular cultural insights and understanding, which are too often overseen. In a world where tech and digital are dominant, brand owners are overwhelmed with data and have forgotten how to truly read and understand the human dimension of people and audiences.

Here are some of the key insights from our webinar with Sanofi, Meta and The Otherly.

  Why Local Insights are the First Step to Global Innovation Infographic 1 1 More information about our panellist:

The Otherly is an independent innovation & brand agency with otherly imaginations and matter-of-fact realism. Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses. They are now moving beyond 2D screens and toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology. Sanofi is an innovative global healthcare company that chases the miracles of science to improve people’s lives while putting sustainability and social responsibility at the centre of its ambitions.


Why local insights are the first step to global innovation

When launching an innovation (brand, product, service), key to its success lies with the understanding of your diverse audiences – needs, aspirations, desirability and whether there is a market for it. Local insights and cultural intelligence across markets and audiences are critical to gather this understanding and should be a founding pillar of any innovation project. Here below is why local insights are vital to global innovation.



At launch, it is important to define whether the innovation responds to a need or aspiration from your audience. Cultural codes, behaviours and influences are some of the factors that will define whether your innovation will land. All markets being so different means careful mapping and decisions are to be made to meet all requirements.



Anchoring your innovation tactics into culture is one way to stand out from the competition. Global innovation is often based on standardisation and a one-size-fits-all approach. Consumers in different countries want to feel the offering has been customised to their needs so whatever levels of cultural adaptation you can embed into the process will increase your level of success.



Local insights may lead you to redefining your target markets and audiences. Assumptions on how your product may be suitable or used could lead you down the wrong path. Research into audiences, cultures and behaviours may open up opportunities to shift to new or additional markets (geographic, sub-cultures etc.).



Culture, just like innovation, evolves all the time. When innovating globally, it is important to keep up with these constant changes. Local insights and the ability to evolve the product/ service will ensure that your innovation remains relevant and has a longer lifespan.  


Innovation is critical to business growth. However, there is a life cycle to be considered in the process. Innovation in health, for instance, fulfils a purpose but not allowing enough time for it to be embedded into cultural habits and switching to the next innovation will lead to lack of adherence, relevance and viability.


Investing into cultural intelligence is a clever way to mitigate risk and to secure your initial investment and viability of your innovations globally in the long run.

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