Why some ideas don’t go global

26 May

Why is it that some innovations are expanding into every area of the world while others – no matter how great – only work in a certain region?

The answer is the Galápagos syndrome. It refers to a phenomenon in which products have evolved isolated from the rest of the world despite their superior quality and advanced technology, just like endemic Galápagos Islands animals.

The most famous example are japanese cellphones. Japan was already using highly advanced smartphones when the rest of the world was still sceptical of the first generation iphone. Japan has always been ahead of the world: they had camera-phones in 2000, full music downloads in 2002, electronic payments in 2004 and digital TV in 2005. But somehow they couldn’t sell it to the rest oft he world.

We asked our selves: what are other examples for Galápagosization? Our little model lists ideas, products, innovations that are galápagosized vs those who are accepted almost everywhere. The vertical axis shows what we like and what we disklike.

Any suggestions for our Galápagos-Chart?

3 Responses to “Why some ideas don’t go global”

  1. Sam May 26, 2012 at 15:04 #

    So what’s the answer? Why do some things go global and others not? Why didn’t Japanese cell phones go global?

    • Roman May 26, 2012 at 17:21 #

      Right, we missed the punch line, sorry, here we go: Maybe Japanese cellphone makers have been too innovative. Their phones turned out to bee too advanced for most foreign markets. That was not a problem, as long as the domestic market was growing, but recession have shrunk the market in recent years. Another problem: japanese cell phones might be technologically advanced but they are bulky and less focused on design than, say, Apple’s. So why do some things don´t go global? Maybe because what seems important to us might not be the same that is important to other regions in this world.

  2. Eliane June 7, 2012 at 21:21 #

    Liked the article in NZZ am Sonntag, I wonder is it my limbic system that drive me to my blog http://www.salmonalvis.com? I am sure it did- I shall try and read more of you guys

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