In 2008, ISPI realized members who do not have a Chapter background have difficulty wining Board-elections. Realizing this affects the ability of international members to assume Board of Directors positions in ISPI, a new position Director position was created. The post of the International Director is open only for members who do not live in North America. In 2010, I took this opportunity and became the current International Director.
Even with this new position and focus, the question remained, how could ISPI enter the international market? There are multiple problems to consider and now we have finally found a sound way to solve them with the help of our revenue sharing process.
What are the problems to consider if ISPI wants to go international?
There cannot be one strategy for international. International is a term. In the United States it describes all non-Americans, in other parts of the world it describes many nations (no exclusion). However you understand the word, it is general in meaning. While this seems to be a philosophical question, it has a tremendous consequence for any company going global. “International” is a summation of local places. This means that you cannot create one strategy for all places in the world. Take Europe as an example. The status of Human Resources is very different in Germany compared to Romania. Marketing works differently in France than in Great Britain. Learning is different in Finland than in Spain. This means that if ISPI wants to enter each of these markets, the content, the learning support, and the marketing materials need to be different. Since this is a lot of effort, we need to enter one market after the other.
Corporate Governance and the language barrier. While ISPI understands that we need to start with one market at a time, we also need to make sure that the quality of the provided material matches ISPI’s standards. Since many of the materials will be adjusted to the local needs and created in another language, there is a difficulty for ISPI to review the created material. ISPI presently offers the CPT review process in multiple languages, so the Board is convinced that we can solve this problem with the existing trained reviewers.
The difficulty is deciding where to start. ISPI has a number of members who have shown enormous interest in supporting ISPI with the outreach to local regions outside North America.
While an outreach effort is much easier if a member supports the process, it still needs ISPI staff time and resources. Creating material for a certain region is an enormous. Creating a completely new market is very hard work, we cannot expect a member to do this on a volunteer basis. At the same time we need to consider the interests of all members interested in pursuing international markets. It would be wrong to decide to allocate resources, staff time, and investments in one area of the world without having an objective process in place to select the region we start with.
The solution to go international with ISPI
Revenue Sharing Process. In order to allow all members to contribute to ISPI’s outreach and to cover the costs involved, ISPI offered for the second time, last July, the revenue sharing process. In this process members were invited to describe on 3-5 pages the intended project, describing objectives, indicators and deliverables.
The revenue sharing process allows the Board of Directors to take an objective approach and to consider where to allocate resources for the outreach without violating any member’s interest. This can be the key for a long-lasting process. I am looking forward to our first “international” activity —so that the “I” in ISPI finally becomes realized.