Companies that collaborate will ride on rocket powered roller skates
Collaboration will drive success in your company over the next 5 years. You will have to collaborate with your competitors, with your supply chain, with Government, with NFPs and with companies and people who aren’t even on your radar.
The companies that get it right will be riding on rocket powered roller skates, those that don’t will be left behind. Do you have Collaboration for Impact strategy? Here are 3 tips to get you started.
We often see trends start out as individual or society driven before they make it into the mainstream. It does happen the other way round – the ipod as one example – but I think collaboration is a trend that is coming to corporates. It started with the rapid uprise of individual collaboration.
Trends in individual collaboration
This has been massive over the last few years, if you missed it its because you didn’t see it as collaboration. Here is a summary, we have had ‘collaborative consumption’ bandied around as the label but also ‘sharing economy’, which ever label you use its about people sharing products or services rather than buying their own. Oh and a few people have made a bit of money along the way.
Enabled by technology we have seen AirBnB (and who an forget its bastard child AirPnP), in Australia we have seen GoGet car sharing services, Uber is now in most major cities, city provided bike sharing, crowd funding, crowd sourcing and a few more that I have probably missed. The theory goes ‘why would you want to own a car if I can make it so easy for you to borrow one on short and simple terms’ – well yes absolutely.
The other side of collaborative consumption which hasn’t taken off is the idea that for example ‘I need a hole in the wall, I don’t need a drill’. Well yes that is true but it’s difficult to set up a business that makes money from providing quick easy simple term access to drills, so far.
But putting the drill aside, individuals are now collaborating or sharing services, yes it has been accelerated by people making a bit of money but it is still collaboration.
And from my post early this week the Millennials are claiming the ecological and social benefit of collaboration as theirs – “Millennials are far less likely to own a car, or to even make that a priority. Instead, we tend to opt for public transit, biking, or car sharing. While millennials don’t identify as vegetarians, either, we actually trend towards eating less meat – and we value the eating experience, which means that, though we tend to make less for our work (or sometimes nothing at all), a lot of us are still willing to spend a little more to go organic and local. Heck, even the fact that so many of us still live at home, or choose to live in shared houses or dorms rather than getting a place of our own, translates to a more efficient use of household water, electricity, and gas.”
A recent Deloitte’s survey found that “Millennials believe solutions to society’s challenges will not come from business and government acting on their own. Individual businesses will need to work with governments, universities, and non-profit organizations, as well as with other companies. The clear message is that businesses need to look outside the confines of their own enterprises and seek collaborative partners if they are to maximize the chances of finding innovative solutions to the issues facing society.”
So it’s not just that they are doing it as individuals they are expecting that business collaborate like they never have before as well. If you read the Deloitte survey you will be looking to collaborate purely to attract and retain the best talent.
Collaboration in business is starting to happen
The first sign of trend towards collaboration is the recent shift within the business or corporate world away from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to Corporate Shared Values (CSV). It is a subtle but important shift away from CSR being a internally focused process of creating our company values on our own to creating and sharing our company values with others – typically with government. It takes it away from compliance and reporting to something towards sustainable or transformative.
So in the regulatory world of companies – the annual reports – we are seeing a shift towards companied being less internalised about what they are trying to do beyond the bottom line. But that’s reporting, what about doing?
I wrote a series of posts late last year Competitive Collaboration and how as a business you and the planet can thrive as a result. I got a lot of positive feedback about the posts and the need for more competitive collaboration to happen. Better Building Partnership is a great example of competitive collaboration in the property industry.
Again the start of competitive collaboration is at the individual level where companies are trying to work out how to keep their employees competitive but to also collaborate towards the common goal of making the company awesome.
Collaboration for Impact – Rocket Powered Rolled Skates
So, we have some great trends, survey data and anecdotal evidence that suggests that collaboration is part of future business models and in my opinion that future business model is only a year or two away.
Collaboration is key to our necessary move away from ‘green’ or ‘reducing our environmental impact’ towards ‘creating positive social and ecological impact’. But how?
Well apart from the obvious ‘contact me at email@example.com and I will tell you how’ here are 3 tips to get started.
1. You and your company are connected to everyone and every company.
What ever your service or your product, your upstream and downstream supply chains are huge and like Kevin Bacon, you are probably only 6 links away from impacting every single person in the world.
2. You probably don’t currently know the collaborator that has the rockets.
The person, or company, or NGO, or government body that holds the rockets and fuel for your roller skates is probably not even on your radar. You probably haven’t even heard of the service they provide or the country they reside in. So be open to any opportunity.
3. Find your shared values.
Not just in the corporate annual report sense of shared values but in the sense of the not reported values. Find the commonalities and exploit them. And yes when its not used in relation to people and resources, exploit is a good term to use. Exploit the hell out of the impact you can create through collaboration.
4. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org