Culturalization of Information Technologies

The Internet and Information Technology hold the promise of being a great leveler in the global economy. As the world gets more interconnected, many companies are seeking to use the Internet to reach more markets. But the conventional way of simply changing their online portal to a different language or partnering with a few local companies isn't necessarily the best strategy. This is because although the Internet allows to tap into new markets and demographics, these markets often have their own infrastructural limitations (e.g., low broadband penetration, low speed), technological alternatives (e.g., high mobile phone adoption, better satellite communication), different needs and expectations of customers, and unique opportunities to create innovative IT based services.

Identifying these market trends, innovation opportunities, and adaptation strategies, as well as understanding how to grow an IT-based business in these unsaturated and rising economies are critical qualities needed by companies as they try to compete on a global scale. Many startups around the world are adapting or "culturalizing" established IT products and business models for their local markets with amazing results. This website showcases some interesting examples of adaptation and culturalization of IT products and companies to help develop an appreciation for this spirit of innovation and the transformative role of Information Technologies. The cases have been prepared by the class of IDSC 6050 (Information Technology & Services) of Carlson School of Management, UMN. Please click on the links to navigate to the webpage of each article:

In writing these articles, the authors have explored the following questions regarding the chosen company or product in each case study:
  1. What motivated the founders/CEOs to develop the IT solution that the company provides (i.e., what was the key opportunity for innovation in that market)?
  2. What hurdles (e.g., infrastructural, political, regulatory) did they face, and how did the chosen IT solution help overcome these challenges?
  3. Was the idea borrowed and adapted from an existing company (potentially operating in a different market, e.g., Alipay’s similarities to PayPal and Google Wallet, or RedBus' to travel sites like Expedia)? If so, how was the “adaptation” done, or was it simply cloned?
  4. Can some of these adapted ideas be relevant to the original company that inspired the startup idea?
  5. How did the company refine its IT-based offerings over time? What were the market demands that they were responding to in making those refinements?

The approach taken in creating this repository builds on two new educational trends - the flipped classroom model and crowdsourcing of content. The flipped classroom model in this context refers to the fact that instead of the students analyzing a case according to some thought-provoking questions, in our approach it's the students who gather these materials (much like a researcher) to prepare a case in the process of finding answers to these thought-provoking questions. The crowdsourcing of content refers to the collective efforts by the students to create such a repository of content on a given theme. Instead of a centralized system of instructor-led teaching, the entire process of creating these cases for the repository is now distributed across groups of students working closely on a case that interests them. We hope you enjoy reading the materials made available here as much as we did in the process of putting them together.

Contact Information:

Soumya Sen, Instructor, IDSC 6050-Spring 2014. (Email:

The articles on this website are being released under the Creative Commons CC-BY license attribution to allow other academics use the material to develop case studies etc. The CC-BY license allows others to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon these web articles, even commercially, as long as they credit the respective article's authors for the original creation. Recommended citation: Authors, Article Title, Web link, Reports of IDSC 6050 (Ed: S. Sen), Univ. of Minnesota.

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.