Collaboration is a Key Competitive Advantage

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RP_Group_blueIn the 20th century, the key to business strategy was the linear value chain. The goal was to maximize bargaining power with buyers and suppliers, while at the same time minimizing threats from new market entrants and substitute goods. A strategy was like a game of chess and you had to maneuver all the right pieces in all the right places.

Today, that linear world has broken down and we operate in a semantic economy where everything connects. It no longer matters what resources you control, but what you can access and many of the best assets lie outside your organization. Firms that can collaborate win. What is collaboration all about?

SOCIAL ECONOMY
Today, that linear world has broken down and we operate in a semantic economy where everything connects. It no longer matters what resources you control, but what you can access and many of the best assets lie outside your organization. When everything is connected, closing yourself off means that you are more likely to lose access to valuable resources than you are to protect anything that can’t be duplicated elsewhere. That’s why now we need to use platforms to access ecosystems of talent, technology, and information. Nobody can go it alone anymore. Strategy in a networked world can no longer focus solely on efficiency.

Today many large companies see themselves as essentially utility companies, providing fundamental technology and letting smaller firms and startups explore new business models. Innovation has come to be seen as largely a matter of agility and adaptation. Small, nimble players can adapt to changing conditions much faster than industry giants. That gives them an advantage over large, bureaucratic firms in bringing new technologies and other products to market.

That’s why today’s economy is a social economy with collaboration at its center. In the past, we could dominate by accumulating resources and driving efficiency, but now agility and interoperability that rule the day. We need to shift our focus from assets and capabilities to trust, design and networked organizations.

SUCCESFUL COLLABORATION
Collaboration isn’t simply about “being nice to each other”. Effective collaboration, whether between individuals or whole businesses, is about strong, robust relationships where partners can scrutinize each other and deal with conflicts constructively in an environment based on trust.

Wikipedia says: “A Collaboration is a purposeful relationship in which all parties strategically choose to cooperate in order to achieve shared or overlapping objectives.”

Herminia Ibarra says: Collaboration is a way of working that attracts and involves people outside one’s formal control, organization, and expertise to accomplish common goals. Understanding what collaboration is not is a crucial part of getting better at it.

At Collaboration Growers we have developed the Collaboration Wheel. It is a 6 step process which guides you in terms of setting up your collaboration platform. If you would like to know more about the Collaboration Wheel you can check out this blogpost. The process has 6 steps:

  • Define the need and create awareness
  • Build the guiding governance
  • Build the collaboration platform
  • Define the customer collaborative activities
  • Get moving: Seek, assess, validate and engage
  • Stay on top of things: Manage and exit

The world needs new solutions & more effective collaboration to solve some of the biggest challenges. That is why we inspire companies to move to more open forms of strategic innovation. We are doing that by mobilizing capabilities and resources for mutual benefits and by putting more focus on trust in the relationship. Get inspired on the Collaboration Growers platform.

 

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