Cap Gemini recently reported that over 80% of CEO’s they surveyed identified idea sharing as the single most important element of innovation – and yet only 16% said they had the right culture to do it. And General Electric’s (GE) survey of top global marketers revealed that whilst 86% of them agreed that partnerships were the most important element of innovation – only 21% were able to build them. We call this ‘The Collaborative Paradox’: there is an increasing demand for innovation, which is driven by smarter relationships – but due to a lack of internal and external collaboration skills, there is often a failure to innovate.
Jonathan Haidt’s latest work The Righteous Mind is a serious piece of heavy reading in every way. The hardback thumped into my briefcase at a sturdy 702 grams. And its 321 pages of erudite thinking is backed up by a further 51 pages of notes plus 17 pages of detailed index. Its sections and sub-headings are seriously crisp and the arguments are summarised and presented as ‘Exhibits’ – to give the book the kind of gravitas that would suit a judge’s chambers. And to be fair, the subject matter and the quality of the work suits it.
It is March 2012 and I am in London listening to Susan Cain, who is a phenomenon in the world of current ideas. How influential is she? Well, in the one second it has taken you to read that sentence approximately thirty-two people have viewed her standout talk at TED. And a further 451 have viewed it on YouTube – in the last hour. Her book ‘Quiet’ – ‘The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking’ – sits in the New York Times Top Five – and her piece in the New York Times attracted an astonishing 241 comments alone.
We’ve had a long love affair with seeing our problems mirrored in triumphs & lives of exceptional people and high achievers. We love their biographies and hearing the secrets of great sports and military leaders. If only we could be respected like Nelson. If ony we could be as challenging as Richard Branson or as driven as Steve Jobs. If only we could manage like Mourinho – or bend it like Beckham. And – this love affair with heroes and leaders has its dangers. There is a danger of cliché and homilies – of group think and the leadership cult. But…
Cynthia McIntryre has just published a great piece in HBR explaining why and how SME’s & corporates need to collaborate. If they want to prosper – SME’s need to form smart relationships with powerful players – and get access to their resources and experience. And likewise, if corporates really want to innovate, its been proven that they need to add the energy, ideas and freshness of SME’s to their mix. Its partner – or perish. So, why do some people still – not get it?
When surveyed 80% of top executives agree their organisations need to innovate differently and 86% say that partnerships and collaboration is the key to innovation. Yet – only 21% say they are developing them. In their latest 2012 Innovation Monitor, General Electric call this – The Partnership Paradox. So why does it exist? And what can we do to change it?
In Dudley Moore’s classic 1990 movie ‘Crazy People’ the lead character, an ad-executive called Emory Leeson, hits on a novel idea for his new series of advertising campaigns: just tell the truth and stop the schmaltz and corny ads. His line for Volvo? ” They’re Boxy – But They’re Good”. And an on-message line to help promote the Greek tourism industry? “The French Can Be Annoying: Come to Greece – We’re Nicer”. Well, they do say all comedy is truth. And of course, with the natural hyperbole so common in advertising Dudley Moore highlights perhaps an inconvenient truth – that advertising is mostly not honest. But does that make it a bad thing?
Over 13 years – a Cambridge University PHd named Michael Lynch took his research into the mysterious world of ‘pattern based computing’ – added a £2000 chance investment he obtained from a bloke he met in a pub – and turned this into into an international technology giant that last month was purchased by Hewlett-Packard – for something in the region of $10.2 Billion. His story shares a lot of similarities with Mark Zuckerberg – the founder of FaceBook. And as he built up what would become Autonomy Corporation, Lynch agrees that there were indeed lots of late night coding marathons fuelled by chinese takeaways. However, unlike the movie ‘The Social Network’ – his ‘group of British nerds’ were never ever surrounded by beautiful women…
A bench stone is used to build and sharpen valuable blades and other important tools. Bench stones are specialist resources and some are even diamond coated. Over twenty years I have come to passionately believe that partnerships and alliances are vital and valuable marketing tools that when properly managed can give businesses a unique cutting edge – creating an advantage that is difficult, expensive if not impossible for rivals to replicate. And Benchstone Marketing Limited is established to support senior management, brands and organisations plan, pioneer and sharpen their marketing partnerships.