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Technology Transfer

A large part of international activity is transfer of technology and know how. This is true in cross-licensing agreements, in technology exchange agreements, in joint ventures, in expansion strategies and especially in mergers and acquisitions, where the ideal is to blend the "best of both worlds". Agreeing on common objectives and values is an important element. Moreover, in a technology transfer project specialists and those skilled in certain functions may have to 'train' others, something they do not necessarily know how to do, especially in languages other than their own. However knowledgeable or skilled they may be in their fields, training across borders is a task which requires a different approach and set of aptitudes from anything they have done before.

Technology Transfer projects require skills and knowledge to be transferred. This can often only be done by those who are knowledgeable and skilled, it is not a task which can be outsourced. What technology transfer requires then is to train those who are to transfer the skills and knowledge in 'transnational' training skills per se and often in language skills and intercultural skills. Each case is different, however, and can only be planned on the basis of a full blown needs analysis. Transcultural Synergy have gained a great deal of experience and know-how in managing large scale technology transfer projects.

An example of a successful technology transfer project is the joint venture between General Motors and Suzuki for the CAMI plant in Ontario Canada. The plant of 2000 associates was to be run by local Canadians but completely using Japanese management approach and lean flow technology (TQC, Kaizen, TPM, JIT, multitasking etc.). The main difficulty in achieving the transfer was that the Japanese plant workers and supervisors who were to train their Canadian counterparts had never trained in such a massive way, had never been abroad and for the most part could not speak a word of English. Addressing the issue required a massive training program to teach almost 200 workers language skills, training skills and intercultural skills, and also included support services like production manuals, video production, translation, project management and general consultancy (for a personal account click here).

The role of the international trainer is a key one in global business today. But being a good trainer in your home environment is no guarantee of success internationally. You may need to train in English as a foreign language, either for you and/or the trainees. The trainees may have different expectations and perceptions of your role as a trainer and their role as learners. Methods and techniques that work at home may fall flat elsewhere.

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Transcultural Synergy Ltd
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