Working with an international team: Benefiting from local knowledge and food culture

The Cook With a Local team has members with backgrounds from seven different countries, and three different continents. We are born global and having an international team makes it possible for us to get a better understanding of foreign markets. It also enables a different dynamic inside the team, and gives us a better idea of what customers might want from our website. We have used the differences to our advantage and saw it become important already when making the initial wireframes for our website, as it led to a discussion about how much personal information should be visible to other members. It has also made us have to consider what kind of design and colours could have an international appeal. We ended up with one design for our website, but are making variations in our marketing material and videos.

Our company is all about food and the local experience. Having an international team has led to many interesting discussions about local cuisines, and the importance of food in different cultures and places around the world. Just before we launched our website we held a team event where one of the founders, Peter, taught the rest of the team how to make Danish Christmas duck. Even the Danes learnt something that evening and we had a lot of fun cooking and talking about each other’s holiday traditions. Christopher brought rum from his family’s former rum plantation in Barbados and told stories about cooking on the beach with coconuts taken straight from the tree.

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With Kishore, our Indian team member, we have had many conversations about the differences in Indian cuisine, and what is available and not available in Denmark. He has taught us how different cooking utensils, difference in stoves and difference in how the meat is chopped in Denmark has led him to need to constantly alter his Indian recipes. Kishore has also contributed developing an entry strategy for the Indian market, and helped identify which cities are the best to enter in. With his local knowledge we have been able to narrow that down further to specific areas in the cities.

Michael and Elan, our American team members altered us to the possibility of using Reddit for market research and to get honest, although possibly brutal, feedback on our product. So far we are using it for market research and it has given us a lot of insight into ways to potentially develop our product, and how to market in different markets. With help a family member, Gero, and Samira, our German team member we have been able to translate the website into German. Samira has begun doing market research on German bloggers, something that would been difficult to achieve without having someone on the team with native German language skills.

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CSE provides a great place for building an international team as its events and location often attract exchange students looking for internships. Other ways of finding international team members is by contacting educational institutions directly, such as DIS, or to use social media. Having an international team has really enriched our company. With our global focus, and aim to get a foothold in the global market, having an international team is invaluable. It gives the opportunity to get local knowledge about a market you want to enter, and to easier be able to find relevant partners and marketing outlets. Most importantly it enables one to learn from each other, and in our case have a lot of fun and learn about different food around the world. And cooking together is great for team building!

Inger Gislesen

Working with an international team: Benefiting from local knowledge and food culture
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