At an innovation conference in Mexico in November of 2006, the Colombian journalist Alejandro Santos reminded us, in his eloquent summary, of the advice that the great Leo Tolstoy gave to prospective writers: "Describe your village, and you will be universal." Santos illustrated Tolstoy's maxim with the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature, whose world-renowned novel One Hundred Years of Solitude takes place in Arataca, the small river village of his childhood.
In other words, to come up with a successful innovation, capable of being appreciated by people around the world, you need something very compelling to offer those global markets. And where do you find such innovative, compelling ideas? Sometimes the answer is in world-class research labs. But often, the best new ideas are found in those areas that you know best - right around you.
Global aspirations need to be grounded in local actions.