I try to keep my radar tuned-in whilst trying to avoid too much of the noise. And for that reason there is still something essentially useful about a well structured book with quality content. My lecturing work at Tech Music School in Fulham and developing a paper on media industry collaboration for Henley Management School has seen me explore a number of interesting avenues from a range of great writers recently. From the latest thinking on strategic partnering and innovation to the lessons to be learnt from digital pioneers and brand & media franchising.
In the first of this two-part series I am reviewing; ‘Strategic Partnering’ by Luc Bardin, ‘Brandscaping’ by Andrew M Davis and ‘Media Franchising’ by Derek Johnson.
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.” – Bruce Lee.
The development of focused relationships with partners, allies and networks is a greater driver of innovation than countless rounds of internal brainstorming and intranet posts asking for everyone to be a bit more creative. Yet often individuals and companies cannot get over that first collaborative relationship step and move towards acting, testing and building something new, that could be greater than the sum of their two parts. Bruce Lee, knew a thing or two about the need to act and not just think.
2013 was a year that saw conversations speckled with comments on recovery, growth and creativity. The Economist says that Selfie and Bitcoin were the big words of the year. And many learnt the delights of twerking. But the big words for me last year were Data, Cafe Workshops and Collaboration. And according to my blog tag cloud, there was a fairly large amount of innovation, creativity, working and reading too.
Now in its third year, the 2013 General Electric Innovation Barometer, a global survey of the barriers and drivers of innovation, once again reinforces the vital role of partnerships and collaboration to successful innovation. The Partnership Paradox remains too; innovation requires partnerships, many commentators extol their value, leaders and CEO’s desire them but most individuals and organisations struggle to build them. A lack of trust seems a constant reason why these valuable marketing relationships are often so hard to secure yet often so easy to lose.
In challenging times and shifting markets the natural instinct of many is to focus on what they can control and the attention inevitably turns to rest on the internal and the concrete. However – research published by International Journal of Innovation Management shows that it is a collaborative and open approach that is the most effective way to innovate in turbulent times. The question we ask is, do people have the collaboration skills to build increasingly valuable and difficult to replace, partners and allies?
It is the powerful and traditional organisations that will lose out to those that are smaller, nimbler and more connected. In her recent essay and pod cast the excellent Nilofer Merchant describes how in the Social Era the herd of fast-moving gazelles will beat the 800lb gorilla. And with this in mind, she has also written the obituary for Traditional Marketing Strategy. RIP, Traditional Strategy: 1930-2012. We loved your work – and it was great knowing you…
History shows those who can collaborate most effectively prosper the most and no matter how good you are at your chosen craft it pays to be skilled in working well with others. ‘Team Geek’ – authored by two senior members of Google’s engineering team is an excellent, highly readable and useful guide for software professionals – on collaboration, leadership and team work. You don’t have to be a geek to read this book but it may help…
This is an excellent video of a recent presentation from Stefan Lindegaard in which he discusses how Open Innovation requires purposefully connecting and building the right networks. He points to the leading work by brands such as Lego and Proctor and Gamble who use crowdsourcing and open fluid communications across and outside their businesses to build their innovation successes. As Lindegaard says in this video; “You can’t have a strong innovation culture unless you have a strong networking culture”.