Posted on 12. März 2015 · Posted in Avatech, Effectuation, Großgruppenveranstaltung, Impulsvortrag, Teheran
Discussing the globalisation strategy at egopreneurship we came to the conclusion, that the Iranian market would be an ideal test case for the business viability and so I went to Iran to …
OK, stop it. Of course not! But I spent 1 year in Iran 6,5 years ago studying at University of Tehran and building AIESEC in Iran. Out of the lasting friendships developed during that intense time a great opportunity came up.
 Sascha has written about effectuation before on this blog and I want to use my stay in Tehran as a practical example for applying effectuation principles in decision making at egopreneurship.
So going to Tehran was definitely nothing we would have planned for in advance, but as an email of my old friend Sara, who currently works there for an incubator called Avatech showed up in my inbox, it was a clear bird in the hand opportunity. With flights and travel taken care for by Avatech it was clear that it would be an affordable loss for us, too.
The worst case would have been to be able to visit my old friends with somebody else paying for that in exchange for providing two workshops on team-, stress- and conflict-management. The best case I expected was to find a market ready for our approach in Iran and to connect to the very vital community of Iranian start-ups around the world.
My initial task was to provide the two workshop mentioned for the start-ups and their mentors at Avatech. I asked to have these workshops during the Cologne street carnival for aligning this visit better with my current role of being the part time worker and main child and household caretaker. This resulted in a problem regarding the timing as almost all start-ups and mentors wanted to attend the Iran Web & Mobile Conference.
Discussing the issue with Sara this problem became a great chance to apply the lemonade principle. I extended my stay for another day and Sara connected me to Pouya Kondori (Facebook) from the Iranian Entrepreneurs Association. Pouya saw the benefit of our approach right away and offered me the opportunity for a 30 mins speech and a 60 mins workshop at the Iran Web & Mobile Conference. Presenting egopreneurship and its ideas to 800 people and having a chance to interact with them, maybe had an even greater potential for impacting or globalization strategy, than the workshops I initially came for.
This connection was of course already built on nothing like a simple crazy quilt but a great Iranian rug prepared by masters of their craft :)
So I went to Tehran for four days packed with work and great opportunities to get to know the Iranian start-up ecosystem. This could not have been better if we deliberately had planned for it! I would not know how to plan for such a great impact in four days! And the business case was greatly enhanced by having a chance to visit and emotionally connect again to Tehran and my friends!
So, looking back at these days now, the bottom line in terms of input for our globalization strategy is:
1. The country: Being a German in Iran definitely is a plus for getting our message through. I got a lot of good feedback, the conference and workshop attendants asked me for advice on just about anything stretching my skills across fields as diverse as internationalization strategies for Iranian start-ups to finding a business model for spreading Islamic geometry. (If anybody has a clear idea on what this is, I’d appreciate your input). So there is a good potential for our product there, but getting a decent amount of euros as a fee for our services is a great challenge because of different price levels, inflation and the ongoing changes in the exchange rate. This could be similar in other emerging markets.
2. The global community: Through connecting with the other speakers of the conference and their experience I got some good hints at tools used in other countries and people also working in fields close by. This confirms the potential, but also reveals some degree of competition in this area.
3. Our business model in general: The issues we have met working with start-ups in Germany are pretty much the same in Iran. Young start-ups who would benefit a lot from our ideas, but they are too busy with problems related to product, technology, finances or marketing. Incubators and more experienced start-ups know already, how important factor p / personality is.
4. Kind of off topic and of course overgeneralized: Effectuation is something deeply embedded in Iranian everyday life, because of permanent changes and insecurities. Maybe there is even a little bit too much of going with the flow and a little more traditional German foresight could be of great value. But of course this applies other way around as well :)
So thank you my dear friends Sara, Neda and Ghazal for making this possible. And thanks to my more than 100% perfect hosts Hojjat and Homa as well as my good old friends Maziar and Ehsan for taking me through Tehran after work!

Über den Autor

Jonas Lilienthal ist Gesellschafter bei egopreneurship.