Go local or go home! It might sound easier said than done, right? 

CollaborateUp works both internationally and domestically, developing projects, co-creation strategies, collaboration, and facilitation workshops. Over the past three years, we have had the opportunity to work in a number of countries in Latin America including Mexico, Colombia, and El Salvador.

From foundations to grassroots organizations, we have distilled the following tips for working on localization efforts. They are applicable whether you are part of a corporation, a startup, or non-profit organization:

  1. Candid and frequent communication: Be transparent and honest about all the information you know and don’t know. Collaboration is about working with what we know and navigating uncertainty together.
  2. Frequent Planning and Agile Adjusting: Dedicate time for strategic planning and adjustments along the way. Especially if you are starting to work with a different culture, workstyles and response timing might be different.
  3. Give Time and Space for Trust Building: Be intentional about creating a trusting environment from the kickoff, and continue revisiting the objectives. Pause and reflect, ensuring everyone has a pulse on how each stakeholder is progressing and engaging. New and local partners often have a steep learning curve when starting to collaborate with larger organizations.
  4. Keeping Momentum:  Once you start with the initial meetings and all stakeholders are ready for co-creation, schedule the activities within a few days or weeks of each other to maintain the initial collaborative ambience. 
  5. Bilingual Process: By implementing a co-creation process conducted primarily in the language of the co-creators, you demonstrate a commitment to ensuring that all voices are heard, that diverse insights and perspectives are valued, and that local needs are taken into account. 

In the world of collaboration, going local can be the key to success, but it’s not without its challenges. As CollaborateUp has learned through its international and local experiences, effective localization collaboration requires a specific set of practices. By following the five tips outlined in this post, you can navigate the complexities of working with different cultures, organizations, and partners.

If you’re looking for further guidance or have specific questions about localization collaboration, feel free to reach out to CollaborateUp for assistance and support on your journey to successful collaboration. 

By Mariana Quiroga 

Design Strategist & Facilitator, CollaborateUp