Organisations need to nurture and build the collaboration skills in their people to enable them to effectively work both across the often closed silos of business – and outside of it…
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”.
Many leaders the required skills to collaborate meaningfully
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?
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.
“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…
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… Continue reading “Simplicity Is The Ultimate Business Sophistication”
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.
At its best – understanding the lessons from the edge of endeavour can help to sharpen our focus and our edge too
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…
We’re as strong as our network. And when small nimble players can appear and disrupt even the most powerful of industries – it is dangerous to be playing alone,
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?
In a world where its the quality of your personal business relationships that give you a collaborative advantage – empathy may be smartest thing to invest in.
It is a commonly accepted truth that there are only really two kinds of problems: you either have a process problem or a people problem. And, as a senior lawyer told me recently – even the process problems really boil down to people problems. As a practitioner and evangelist for collaboration, co-operation and partnerships for over 20 years I have seen how the success or failure of initiatives mostly comes down to how well we large apes can understand, communicate, solve problems – and work together.
High value, high risk relationships are not easy – and there is risk and conflict. A good business collaboration needs both commercial savvy and emotional intelligence.
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?
I am not a fan of brainstorming. But I am a fan of purposeful collaboration. And to some this may appear a contradiction. In an excellent article in a recent New York Times, Susan Cain explores the dangers of groupthink and the horrors of noisy, distracted offices. She points out that true genius needs solitude and time to think. Perhaps academia and ideas do. But innovation does not. As Matt Ridley pointed out, ‘ideas have sex’ – and economic and business history is littered with examples of pioneering that was only achieved by the accidental mixing, the casual alliance or the perfect partnership – at just the right time.