Transnational cooperation has become increasingly important in today’s globalized world, where businesses, organizations, and individuals are no longer restricted by geographical boundaries. With the rapid advancement of technology, it has become easier than ever to connect with people from different parts of the world, opening up endless opportunities for collaboration and innovation. At Vinco Innovation, we recognize the immense value of transnational cooperation, and it’s something we strive to achieve in all of our international projects.
Cooperation and innovation
One of our current projects, ZEVinnovation, is focused on strengthening transnational cooperation, knowledge and technology transfer in the development of zero emission vessels (ZEV), as well as fostering innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). During this project, we had the opportunity to invite our partners from Norway, Croatia, and Poland to Bergen in June 2022, where a workshop was held to discuss how to improve our transnational cooperation and how it impacts innovation.
In this article, we will summarize the findings of these discussions and provide practical tips for improving transnational cooperation in any context. Whether you’re working on a project with colleagues from different parts of the world, running a global business, or simply looking to expand your network and collaborate with like-minded individuals from different cultures, the tips we provide will be relevant and useful. So let’s dive in and explore how we can create better transnational collaboration leading to innovation.
Cooperation between countries is crucial for innovation and economic growth. However, international cooperation also faces many obstacles that can make it challenging. In this recent workshop, participants discussed some of the obstacles to cooperation between Norway, Croatia, and Poland. These obstacles can be summarized in ten points.
- The first obstacle is the lack of knowledge of who the main players are. In international collaboration, it is essential to know who are the companies, organizations, and institutions that are relevant to your field. Without this knowledge, it can be difficult to establish connections and find opportunities for cooperation.
- The second obstacle is that there are no “natural” connections between these countries. Unlike neighboring countries, such as Norway and Sweden, which have historical and cultural ties, Norway, Croatia, and Poland do not have a long-standing relationship that facilitates cooperation.
- Cultural and language differences also pose a challenge to cooperation. Each country has its own culture and way of doing things, which can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications. Language barriers can also make it difficult to communicate effectively.
- Another obstacle is that laws about intellectual property (IP) rights are different from one country to another. This can make it challenging to cooperate on projects that involve shared intellectual property, as the laws governing these rights may differ.
- Communication is another important obstacle to international cooperation. Different countries may have different communication styles, which can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. For example, some cultures may be more direct in their communication, while others may use more indirect language.
- Expectations that do not match can also hinder cooperation. Different countries may have different expectations about timelines, work processes, and outcomes. If these expectations are not aligned, it can lead to frustration and disappointment.
- The organizational structures of companies can also differ from one country to another. This can make it challenging to collaborate on projects, as the organizational structures may not be compatible or may require significant adjustments.
- Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) tend to work locally, which can make it difficult to cooperate internationally. SMEs may lack the resources or knowledge to establish partnerships with companies in other countries, which can limit their opportunities for growth.
- Trust issues can also be an obstacle to cooperation. Companies may be hesitant to collaborate with partners in other countries if they do not have a relationship of trust. This can be particularly true in cases where intellectual property or sensitive information is involved.
- Finally, geographical distance between partners can make it challenging to cooperate effectively. Physical distance can lead to delays in communication and coordination, which can slow down the progress of a project.
How to overcome these obstacles and change impressions?
To overcome the obstacles to international cooperation between Norway, Croatia, and Poland, participants in the workshop discussed various actions that can be taken. These actions can help build relationships, establish trust, and improve communication between partners.
- The first action is to network and participate in events to make yourself known and to learn about what is going on in your industry both locally and internationally. This can help you identify potential partners and stay up-to-date on developments in your field.
- The second action is to perfect your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a brief, concise, and compelling description of your project or business idea that can be delivered in the time it takes to ride an elevator. A well-crafted elevator pitch can help you clearly communicate your value proposition and generate interest from potential partners.
- The third action is to make efforts on an individual level. This includes being curious about the work and culture of others, being open-minded, and showing respect for different perspectives. Building personal relationships and trust is crucial for successful cooperation.
- The fourth action is to start with small cooperation projects to build trust and match expectations. By starting small, partners can test the waters and get to know each other’s work style, capabilities, and strengths. This can help establish a foundation for more significant projects in the future.
- The fifth action is to conduct research on intellectual property (IP) rights in other countries. This can help partners understand the legal framework for protecting their IP and avoid misunderstandings or conflicts related to IP rights. Working in a safe and secure environment from the start can help build trust between partners.
- The sixth action is to target the right person in the organization to pitch to. This requires research beforehand to understand the structure and decision-making processes of potential partners. By identifying the right person to pitch to, partners can increase their chances of success and avoid wasting time and resources on the wrong contacts.
- The seventh action is to take advantage of different funds that exist to help cooperation. There are several funding opportunities available at the national and international level that can support collaborative projects. These funds can help partners overcome financial barriers to cooperation and invest in joint initiatives that can lead to innovation and growth.
Cooperation is crucial for innovation, as it enables partners to share knowledge, resources, and expertise, leading to the development of new products, services, and processes. By working together, partners can overcome the limitations of working in isolation, tap into new markets and technologies, and achieve better outcomes than they would on their own. Thus, cooperation is not only desirable but necessary for organizations seeking to innovate and grow in today’s interconnected global economy.
While there may be challenges to international cooperation, these can be surmounted through commitment, perseverance, and a willingness to learn from and respect others’ perspectives. By embracing these values and taking the steps necessary to build strong and enduring relationships with partners, organizations can unlock the full potential of cooperation and achieve their innovation goals. In short, there are no obstacles to cooperation if we are willing enough to work together towards a common goal.
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