“Global companies that collaborate better, perform better. Those that collaborate less, do not perform as well. It’s just that simple.” ~ Jaclyn Kostner.
So true – and this excellent post goes on to outline some great research pieces including Colin Brown’s ‘Six Degrees of Collaboration, which contains an excellent quote;
” While business was once all about keeping one step ahead of your rivals, in today’s socially networked society, working together can lead to greater success. Steering the enlightened path is a new C-word that has emerged as the way forward for business: Collaboration. In today’s hyper-socialized economy, it’s not who you know that really counts, but who you don’t. The priority for many CEOs today is to break down the barriers that stand between them and their employees, their customers, their partners, their vendors – even their rivals. National boundaries are being bridged, corporate walls breached, expertise shared. Google’s Eric Schmidt’s prevailing mantra is ‘collaborate or perish’.
Innovation and business advantage is about getting the most out of the best people.
There have been some heated debates across the innovation forums and sites over the past few months concerning the role of talented people in the innovation process. ( see this post by HBR’s Art Markman for example). Is innovation about just getting the smartest people, the greatest brains, the most dynamic individuals and waiting for their ‘eureka’ moment? Or is it about being smarter with the talent you have, creating a culture that challenges how things are done and finding systematic gaps in the market? Or – is it about something else altogether?
In ‘As You Like It’, William Shakespeare described the world as a stage, upon which we as actors, will change the parts we play. In the world of marketing relationships its important to know who you are, the role you play – and where others fit into your world. There are different dynamics at play in different levels of business relationships –
Brands and businesses do not really have relationships between each other. A laser printer does not set up meeting with the coffee machine and the old laptop case to have a chat about the relative costs of A4 paper. A delivery van does not have a workshop with a fork-lift truck to clarify a key delivery schedule. It is people – and the conversation between them that drives business activity, ideas and progress. Businesses have a legal status, missions, KPI’s, logs, processes and systems. But it is large complex, sometimes emotional, and often stressed ape like creatures such as you and me that do the talking and the listening. No matter what you do, or who you work for, if you’re in the business of marketing & innovation – you are in the conversation business.
I’ve just read Scott Berkun’s ‘Myths of Innovation‘ and Tom Kelley‘s ‘Ten Faces of Innovation’ (both excellent books) – and a recent article by psychologist Art Markman also now helps to support their view – that our obsession with individual heroic endeavor and discovery can often hinder true progress. The cultural myth of lone genius, tortured artist and brilliant technician who solves the worlds problems is still alive and well.
LOCOG (the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games) reports in the FT today that their race to secure £700 million of sponsorship for the 2012 games is nearly complete – with its current roster now including 41 domestic sponsors and 11 tier one partners from the IOC‘s ‘family. With the overall return to the UK economy now projected to be just 0.1% increase – on the back of £9.3 Billion of public sector investment – and in the middle of a deep recession, securing the support of valuable partners is a massive achievement from the LOCOG team led by Paul Deighton. However, as anyone who has managed large sponsorship, partnership and collaborative marketing projects realises – getting the deal signed is not the end – it’s just the start. As the race to acquire sponsors is nearing its end the relationship and partnership marathon is about to start…
When iTunes Store launched in 2003 it seemed like a gift from the future, so simple, so efficient so obviously better than other distribution channels. Spotify now changes that future, making iTunes now appear expensive, complicated, restrictive.
Two recent articles in HBR comment on the likely impact of Spotify – and how the launch of the Swedish music service could spell a radical change in the future of the music business, the broader content industry – and even Apple’s iTunes service. Maxwell Wessell points out that Spotify is a classic ‘low end disrupter’ that ironically could now have the same impact upon Apple – that iTunes originally had on the music retailing business – whilst James Allworth suggests consumers could get a shock if the Swedish system changes its pricing..
Rosabeth Moss Kanter explained about the collaborative advantage in her seminal essay ‘The Art Of Alliances’ back in 1994 and in her latest blog piece published today she neatly summarises the three reasons ‘why everything goes better with partners’. Over the past month I’ve been involved in many discussions about the role of partners, how best to develop and manage them – and the role of nurturing the most valuable relationships through a systematic programme.
The historian and philosopher Theodore Zeldin – founder of Oxford Muse.com says a lot with few words; “the kind of conversation I am interested in is one where you start it prepared to emerge from it a slightly different person”. As befits a great mind, this is a deceptively simple insight that contains within it a quite a profound truth. How often in business do you engage in a conversation where you are truly open to the ideas of others?
Matt Ridley is one of the world’s great science journalists and the ex-Science editor for The Economist. A common theme in his work – is the story of how collaboration and the exchange of ideas is the vital ingredient that powers great invention, trade, social change – and (and this is the important lesson for marketers) – commercial innovation. In the TED video below, Ridley explains the importance of specialism and working together. It’s an uplifting, fun and positive presentation – with a valuable message. This is something he explores in his excellent book – The Rational Optimist. Ridley points out that businesses manage a whole ecosystem of specialist suppliers, experts and increasingly, in our hyper connected super fast world, accessing those most valuable of raw business materials: knowledge and ideas. Nobody can do it alone. At Benchstone we believe in the vital importance of critical third party collaborations that need be driven by relationship managers with attention to Fit, Planning – and Momentum. For more information on how effective partnership management and smarter collaboration strategies can sharpen your marketing approach visit Benchstone Marketing