Innovation: Creativity and Cross-Connections

welocalize July 24, 2018

In a 1959 essay on creativity, the science fiction writer Issac Asimov of renown reflected on the question of “How do people get new ideas?” This question is timeless, and so are his insights. One of Asimov’s thoughts was the ability to make a “cross-connection” between item 1 and item 2.

This year, Welocalize launched regional LocLeaders IdeaLab, a forum to help spur those cross-connections. We do this by bringing together industry peers, field experts, and practitioners to discuss common challenges to enabling brands to be global-ready. To that mix of people and perspectives, we sprinkle in some other key ingredients like food, fun, and surprises. The results have often been delightful and amazing.

The Innovation Superhero contest winners were one of the fun outcomes of LocLeaders IdeaLab in Silicon Valley, London, and Warsaw. From the submissions, it quickly became apparent that people were actively injecting or promoting creative approaches to team building, adapting mundane tasks, or fixing a problem upstream in a defined process.

All three winners agreed that a unifying characteristic for innovation is for an organization to be flexible and open-minded, even to the simplest idea as that’s how cross-connections thrive. Being receptive to new ideas creates a culture of innovation and helps people to be passionate and speak up however basic or offbeat the idea!

Meet our three Innovation Superheroes:


Software localization is the mainstay at OSIsoft for localization leader, Daisy Sortland. Daisy shared her idea for the Miru project. Miru is a platform that improves direct communication with vendors and aims to improve long-term efficiency of the software localization process.

‘Creativity and innovation play an important role in the software localization process, for the human and soft-skills element as well as technology. There are a lot of different people we need to connect – vendors, QA testers, reviewers, and users. We must bring everyone together to deliver a global product. Getting creative with our communications is key, as well as enabling people in the process to understand and leverage technologies, such as JIRA, to improve production.’

‘OSIsoft creates a strong team environment, that is trusted and safe so you feel free to talk about your ideas. Within the OSIsoft localization team, each team member has the power to make team decisions and with transparency, this gives people the freedom to talk. It promotes a culture of openness and innovation – which benefits everyone.’


Elle Finn suggested a simple but effective idea for reviewing localized content – to set up weekly meetings involving food and music from a target culture, stimulating discussion at the meeting and ensuring localized output is on target.

‘At TransferGo, there is great flexibility and open-mindedness, and we have an incredibly accessible C-suite level management. They visit offices regularly and chat with staff – so you’re not afraid to pitch in with your creative ideas, whether suggesting new office bean bags or recommending new features for the product itself. Having a culture which embraces innovation makes it a great place to work.’

‘We’re a real multicultural team and when we develop marketing content, we make sure we focus on the target culture, rather than look to translate the English source. We have a host of different cultures and since working at TransferGo, I’ve learned a lot about the Lithuanian and Romanian culture. It’s very important to see things from other’s people cultural perspective, it can alter your own opinion and help us to perform better as a company.’


Esko Hellgren’s winning idea focused on optimizing technical documentation for machine translation (MT) and neural MT.

‘Technical communication facilitates safe, efficient, and effective use of products. The real innovation challenge is to guide the user into having the best experience by integrating the product and its user guidance better. It’s about creating a natural content progression. Techniques such as visualization help you innovate formal, structured content. Process innovation is also a key area – how to build a better process by putting technology enablers, such as MT, in place.’

‘At Vaisala Oyj, you have access to the whole innovation process so you get to see first-hand the concept and basic science, through to the product being shipped. I get really energized by seeing first-hand how an innovation or physical phenomenon can be applied, and a product built around the concept. It’s exciting when you see that innovation in practice. For example, Vaisala Oyj provides weather measurement systems to airports. When traveling I can see this equipment working at the airport, there’s a connection, it’s not abstract. You get to validate the innovation.’

Making cross-connections? Indeed! Thanks to our three innovation superheroes for sharing their inspirational approaches.

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