Why collaborate?

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 21 October 2015 6:20 AM CAT

Many enterprises and organisations are managing just fine without collaboration. They continue to deliver value to shareholders and many continue with market dominance or sector leadership. So why would they invest time and money to build a collaborative culture?

According to Salim Ismail, author of Exponential Organisations, up to 80% of today’s Forbes 500 companies will not be there is 20 years time. But what does this have to do with collaboration.

Here’s the bottom line – we’re in the collaborative economy and that is not just about the Peer 2 Peer businesses that keep disrupting major players. It’s about how organisations are disrupting themselves through cross-functional collaboration, inside-outside collaboration and big enterprise – small innovator collaboration.

Collaboration experts talk about collaboration driving better innovation, better sales and better operations and of course all of these remain the case. 

If we think about innovations, it’s hard not to include P&G. “According to its 2008 annual report, P&G has twenty-four brands, each racking up $1 billion or more in annual sales. Of these, thirteen come right from the collaborative lineage. That’s a bunch of $1 billion-plus brands, thanks to collaboration.” Morton T. Hansen, Collaboration, Harvard business review press.

Better sales has to be the opportunity in those organisations that continue on the acquisition paths, building sector-leading empires and better ops often lies in the reuse of existing resources.


So what are the real reasons to collaborate?

  • A healthier planet?

In some Asian countries, the cost of logistics averages more than one fifth of national gross domestic product (compared to around 10% in Europe and the US). Plus, the industry is grappling with serious public health impacts from air pollution.

To address these two hurdles, UPS and DHL partnered with Hewlett Packard, Lenovo and Ikea to form Green Freight Asia, a non-profit member organisation that promotes low-carbon transportation. While commercial trucks only represent 9% of vehicles in Asia, they contribute more than half the region's CO2 and air pollution emissions, notes Robert Earley, transport programme manager for the United Nations-backed Clean Air Asia. [source: The Guardian]

  • ·      Disruption and survival?
  • ·      The greater good?
  • ·      Poverty alleviation?
  • There is every reason in the world to collaborate. 


Janice Scheckter is a collaborative strategist that has a vision of a world where collaboration solves universal problems.


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