Coffee and collaboration – a perfect brew

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 12 May 2016 5:05 AM CAT

Ever thought about a collaborative era business built on collaboration with a crowd that is really just saying ‘thanks for the great service’? I recently came across exactly that. Sitting in my office, having created a great presentation with awesome images, and ready to press the send button, I glanced at size and realised it was 43.3mbs. Clearly, while wonderfully creative, it was just too damn big!

Google took me to and within a really short time I’d compressed it to just over 1.3mbs at no cost. A note on the site requested that I buy the team a cup of coffee if I liked the service. I may have bought more than 1 cup with $10 but was really grateful for the simplicity and effectiveness of the service offered.

A month or so later I received a note of thanks from along with a link to a blog. If ever there was a great example of a collaborative era business, this is it. Users have donated 240 000 cups of coffee to the company, and apart from a serious caffeine addiction, has increased its user-base from zero in 2013 to an astounding 8,5 million.


Writes, ‘None of it would have been possible, however, without the support that came from our donors. We are still amazed and overwhelmed that so many of you would support us with real money contributions. We always asked for a coffee donation (instead of just $3) and we received more than we could ever drink in a lifetime. We used your generous donations to pay server hosting bills and office rent.’

What a great story of innovator/customer collaboration and of course a helluva lot of coffee.

As an enthusiastic coffee drinker, this got me thinking more about collaboration in the coffee industry. After some digging, I found an organisation called UTZ. The focus is around multi-stakeholder collaboration as the key to achieving long-term impact in issues related to coffee production.

What is truly inspirational about UTZ is the fact that alongside issues of climate change adaptation are issues such as better working conditions and better living conditions. UTZ through a matrix of collaborations appears not to shy away from tough issues such as gender issues, child labour, and poverty. 


For those who don’t think coffee is part of collaboration, think again. 

For more insights into the collaborative era, subscribe to Collaboration Central. 

Janice Scheckter, collaboration activist and co-founder of Indigo New Media loves great coffee.

Sources: UTZ




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