2020’s mega disruption is already posing a major question to the business community – what is the best way to recover? As far as business recovery goes, there is no off-the-shelf formula, no silver bullet, no magic forecast. Strategy will be the key. One of the serious contenders for effective recovery is the role of business collaboration. Collaboration with competition that is.

Competitors have collaborated forever. But more challenging times demand serious consideration to collaborative competition strategies which some businesses have executed really well. The idea of competitors working collaboratively oscillates in its appeal, but strategist Gary Hamel wrote about it more than thirty years ago (“Collaborate with Your Competitors—and Win”) and his points still resonate. Hamel is best known for the development of the influential management concept of ‘core competencies’. In highly disruptive business ecology, the capacity to collaborate with one’s competition should also be viewed as a core competency. This edition of reference resources is selected with that in mind; to give some insight into the way competitors can collaborate.


Why Collaborating With Your Competition Can Be A Great Idea


“Nowadays, the best partner might be your direct competitor,” says Paavo Ritala, a professor of Strategy and Innovation at LUT University of Technology in Finland. Image credit: GETTY

There’s a buzzword for companies looking to blend two priorities: innovation and cost savings. “Coopetition”—which signifies collaboration among business competitors—is an idea that’s picking up steam.

The risks of collaborating with rivals might seem daunting, but a study by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute finds the benefits are likely to outweigh any disadvantages. The study found that this kind of collaborative competition, when it lasted from three to five years, had more than a 50% chance of mutually reducing company costs…READ ON


Competition vs. Collaboration: The balancing act

While competition and collaboration are often considered mutually exclusive forces, one can actually strengthen the other. Tas Bindi speaks to industry leaders about how collaboration can improve competition and customer outcomes.

The leading 19th century economist Herbert Spencer once likened the economy to a jungle, in which only the fittest survive.

Especially in highly competitive industries, such as the financial services sector, this mode of thinking often leads people to fall into the trap of thinking that the opposite of competition is collaboration, and that the two are mutually exclusive forces…READ ON


Collaborate with Your Competitors—and Win

Collaboration between competitors is in fashion. General Motors and Toyota assemble automobiles, Siemens and Philips develop semiconductors, Canon supplies photocopiers to Kodak, France’s Thomson and Japan’s JVC manufacture videocassette recorders. But the spread of what we call “competitive collaboration”—joint ventures, outsourcing agreements, product licensings, cooperative research—has triggered unease about the long-term consequences. A strategic alliance can strengthen both companies against outsiders even as it weakens one partner vis-à-vis the other. In particular, alliances between Asian companies and Western rivals seem to work against the Western partner. Cooperation becomes a low-cost route for new competitors to gain technology and market access…READ ON


Partner with The Enemy? How Competitive Collaboration Can Improve Your Business and Boost Profits.

Kiss and make up with an enemy? Sound gross? Well, in life and business, we’d all be wise to heed Honest Abe’s advice.

In business, we call this concept a competitive collaboration. It may sound a little strange or maybe even impossible, but it really works. And it doesn’t destroy anyone. Building relationships with competitors is more than trying to avoid an all-out war. It’s learning how to turn a potential threat to your business into a tremendous benefit.

So whether you are just starting a business or feeling as if your momentum is stalling, I strongly recommend considering this strategy. Competitive collaboration can help you boost profits, improve brand awareness, attract your target audience, and much more.

In this article, you’ll learn something that could turn your world upside down. In a good way, of course…READ ON


Balancing competition and collaboration: one needs the other

In a culture of ‘winner takes all’, collaboration may be for wimps; until competition becomes the dominant practice, that is. However with dominance also comes rot, which manifests in many areas of an enterprise. Of course, this is not case with all organisations, but history tells us it is an expected norm, not an anomaly. It’s only with the benefit of hindsight that management gurus are able to tell us why that is.

One habitually omitted feature of collaboration is that it can push competition to a new level. Parties that collaborate are less likely to cut corners. In fact, I would go so far as to argue that serious collaboration is more likely to increase transparency between parties, and thereby avoid behaviours which are akin to cutting corners and substandard performance. There is no lack of arguments that talk about the ‘dark side’ of collaboration. Sometimes, these are wrapped around ‘high costs’; sometimes they are about ‘complexity’, and often ‘risk’ factors are evoked. However, none have stopped many organisations from continuing to explore and fine tune their collaborative practices. As the discipline matures, so too does innovation in strategy become clearer. It all boils down to how well the job of collaboration is done….READ ON


Competition Versus Collaboration

Which delivers better results? A highly competitive environment or a highly collaborative one? There are some signs that in our highly complex world, collaboration is currently winning.

Microsoft was a company that was hyper-competitive, both externally and internally. The strategy of pitting internal units against each other in a Darwinian struggle worked well for many years. However, as the web matured, Microsoft began to lose ground.

I have worked on Microsoft projects over many years, mainly relating to web content and navigation. Within the company, there was a very strong production culture. Someone once told me that they had estimated that there were about 15 million pages on Microsoft.com, four million of which had never been accessed. That’s practically the population of Ireland in pages that nobody has ever even looked at…READ ON


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