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November 21, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

My thoughts on the intercultural literacy sector

It doesn’t have to be exclusive to B2B…it could be B2C. I would see it as a value ad to existing products (i.e. a package or upsell)–although it could be sold in media form in a bookstore or as digital media download. B2G is another area & B2NGO another. In B2B it may just be wrapped mostly into marketing, strategy, or other services that could use a layer of intercultural knowledge to clear misperceptions & miscommunications.

There are probably key 7 drivers:
• Globalization
• International trade & travel
• Internet media & communication
• The need for companies and employees to stand out in the market–and this being a new way to do so in a rather lucrative way.
• The desire to reach base of the pyramid customers & other international customers.(this is a pretty huge driver)
• Outsourcing (its a value ad there from the company side–on two levels–customer interaction & employee interaction)
• The growth of coaching itself as a delivery method of services (this couples nicely with the need to onboard new employees in new responsibilities in new regions–including BRIC and BOP countries).

And like the law, health care (for the consumers–not the company), & in many ways real estate (rental or buy), companies that know they are doing business in a country they will have to have a quality communication–without blocks, misunderstandings, or crisis.

There’s probably 100 to 250 million lost every day for each major region due to poor intercultural literacy right now–my guess is that can grow to a rather large business.

I think it will mirror–although not be quite as lucrative as the language/translation services market. Although the later can probably be commoditized–I would argue that quality intercultural communication and training can’t be commoditized–at least to the same extent. This is 2008 report on the size of the translation market (obviously I don’t think anyone has stats on the intercultural training or intercultural coaching market):
Translation and Interpretation Services (

To be fair, it is a subsector of sorts–but anyone entering these markets who wants time, communication, culture, and people power on their side will invest in intercultural literacy be that training, coaching, or consulting (in the form of a deliverable in a package set up)

Admittedly, I don’t have all the numbers I need to make accurate predictions–but I don’t think many folks are–especially those making more innovative projections on the thread.


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