In Turbulent Times You Need Open Innovation – And Collaboration Skills

No matter how good the strategic aim, research and even the fit with a partner or ally – it will be the personal skills and behaviour of the relationship managers that will determine outcome.

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?

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The Death Of Traditional Strategy – And The Rise Of Connected Business

Nilofer Merchant says; ‘value can come from any individuals – inside and outside the organisation’. She explains that co-creation, collaboration and open innovation are more relevant than traditional business school text books.

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…

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NEW Book Review – ‘Team Geek’ by Fitzpatrick & Collins-Sussman – O’Reilly Publishing

Whether you’re a technical expert looking to build more influence, or a project manager or marketer who has to work with highly creative and talented people, ‘Team Geek’ by Fitzpatrick and Collins-Susmann will provide some excellent guidance and practical tips to help you deliver more.

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…

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Why Collaboration Is Not The Same

Many leaders the required skills to collaborate meaningfully

Good Things Happen When Ideas Connect.

In April I wrote a piece identifying what I call the Collaboration Paradox: whilst senior marketers and CEO’s agree  greater internal and external collaborative behaviour is required to reach their innovation goals, research shows that most people and organisations are not equipped to do it. And  recently a senior business leader raised a related paradoxical point: whilst more  executives than ever are trained in business studies to effectively manage operations, units and teams – why is there a worrying lack of creativity, customer focus, innovation and entrepreneurship?

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Honesty And Cooperation In Business Relationships

Martin Nowak points out that cooperation is achieved through direct and indirect reciprocity and an ability to make sacrifices and to think selflessly. In plain speech – you have to give up something to get something.

The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain.

The simple logic of this famous line is the wise advice that good parents have offered to their little treasures for generations. But how important is honesty in building & maintaining valuable relationships? Is honesty always the best policy? And is it natural – or something we have to practice? The answers are far from simple and the truth may surprise you…

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Simplicity Is The Ultimate Business Sophistication

A sensible maxim attributed to Leonardo da Vinci is ‘Simplicity, is the ultimate sophistication’. Its common sense wisdom is simple sophistication itself – as befits one of history’s greatest geniuses.  And yet so often in business otherwise sensible people, are quick to complicate and add layers of confusion. If in doubt – we add a feature, build more reports and more stuff. I recently took part in one of  the excellent Splash events organised by Working Knowledge to engage students in business that was held at Weston College – and one of the things that struck me was their ability to focus on the simple. In large part I think this is because none of the students were tainted with our often misplaced love of complexity…
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Stimulating Conversation And The Marketing Cafe

Marketing Cafes are a great way to liven up traditional conferences and seminars – bringing different questions to the table and encouraging new conversations ..

A Good Cafe Conversation Is About More Than The Coffee…

Albert Einstein once said  ‘not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted – counts’. In other words, we are in danger of spending a lot of time measuring and analysing what is not important – whilst ignoring what truly is. The marketing, innovation and sales business is not immune.  A great quantity of noise,  reports, feeds, briefing, planning – and meetings. Lots of meetings. Yet whilst we have a surplus of texts, emails and data we often overlook what is in real short supply – purposeful, collaborative, open and focused – business conversation.

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Building A Collaborative Business

“You have to learn that you make better decisions through collaboration” – John Chambers, CEO and Chairman, CISCO

“You have to learn that you make better decisions through collaboration.” John Chambers, CEO and Chairman CISCO. He leads a global technology business with a $40 Billion turnover and his career spans Wang Laboratories and IBM too. But he is now focusing on building better business – through smarter collaboration

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The CollaborativeEdge – Part Two: The Programme

The CollaborativeEdge Programme focuses upon sharpening the key relationship skills so critical to the success of innovation and business development projects. It’s a one-day Programme, ideal for marketing, sales, innovation and business development teams – and any executive or team responsible for managing high value strategic relationships.

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On Building A Hive Mentality – And Jonathan Haidt

Haidt recommends the kind of management tactics that can help build the kind of strong, collaborative, cohesive culture.

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.

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