Collaboration and Innovation

Fast Company has a great article on collaborating “with enemies,” branding, and innovation. Here are some highlights:

“In 2012, growth is no longer a matter of market share. In a world dominated by constraint, the brands that grow do so by understanding and meeting more and more needs and producing products and services to meet those needs. Growth is about share of mind and wallet, not simply share of market.”

“The most important, most effective, most impactful brands are those that have put petty competition behind them and embraced collaboration as an operating principle—it is their core DNA. These brands are clear about their ambitions and are not shy about seeking out others who share those ambitions. And with these partners they will pool resources to create a better future.”


“This isn’t CSR or even crowdsourcing. It is a smarter way of doing business…The most impactful see themselves as players on a wider stage, as needing to understand and interact with the other players on that stage.”

“BE MORE LIKE (RED): Create an entirely new service or product with partnership as its proposition. (RED) pioneered a new model of charitable giving by harnessing the power of brands and consumerism to create partnerships for change. 100% of the funds generated by (RED) partners and events goes to global fund programes, which provide medical care and support services for people affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. The (RED) system is designed for mutual benefit—brands get an elevated profile through the custom product design and the cause’s own marketing, and the effort generates a steady stream of revenue for the global fund, far exceeding traditional one-off payments from corporate philanthropy budgets.”


Collaboration and Innovation

All organizations are merely conceptual embodiments of a very old, very basic idea — the idea of community. They can be no more or less than the sum of the beliefs of the people drawn to them; of their character, judgments, acts, and efforts. An organization’s success has enormously more to do with clarity of a shared purpose, common principles and strength of belief in them than to assets, expertise, operating ability, or management competence, important as they may be.

Dee Hock on organizations 

NextBillion Mini Case Study: Partnership Creates New Source of Income for Farmers in Brazil

A model for partnerships in international economic development. 

“‘The two-year pilot project is creating shared value by reorienting how a Brazilian company integrates farmers from poor communities into its value chain.’”

“‘It has been really important to develop this model of shared value creation in which the private company and the community benefit. Each player has brought contributions that can improve the value chain and positively impact people’s lives,’ says Deborah Aragão, project coordinator for TechnoServe in Brazil.”

Read about the partnership here

NextBillion Mini Case Study: Partnership Creates New Source of Income for Farmers in Brazil

“Or is power something that each of us manifests by knowing our purpose, applying it to what we create, and using that to define how we see ourselves in the world?…But, the Social Era shows us that power can also come from how we create with others…When each of us recognizes our own agency, we have power enough to each create and contribute what we can. What I see is a shift in the nature of power and influence.”

Read the whole piece: Just How Powerful Are You? by Nilofer Merchant

Cultural Intelligence in Global Teams – A fusion model of collaboration

“Multicultural teams have an obvious advantage over homogeneous teams: divergent thinking. Just as two heads are better than one, so two or more cultural perspectives should lead to more creative decisions and solutions. ‘While homogeneous teams are good at reproducing solutions,’ Brett asserts, ‘heterogeneous teams are appropriate for solving new, complex problems.’”

Cultural Intelligence in Global Teams – A fusion model of collaboration

The Synergist; Valuing All the Roles

Nilofer Merchant, author of the recommended book  The New How: Creating Business Solutions Through Collaborative Strategy, on the concepts in Les McKeown’s book on teams, The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success:

“In my own experience of working with teams, it seems that almost everyone values the role ofvisionary when of course not all of them are gifted at being visionary. There’s a kind of jealousy of “visionary is the best role”, when in reality all the different skills / roles matter. If the CEO is the visionary, then the other folks are completing the picture of what is needed for the business when they own their gifts of “Operator” or “Processor”. Alternatively, if the CEO is predominantly an operator, the Board might want to recognize they need to add visionary influence to help the company reimagine what customers they could serve in the future.”

I’ll be adding The Synergist to my reading list. 

The Synergist; Valuing All the Roles

“Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy, or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success. It is not on the margin of what companies do but at the center. We believe that it can give rise to the next major transformation of business thinking.”

From Harvard Business Review, “Creating Shared Value” by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer. The entire article is a must-read.