The digital transformation (and its speed), the demands made on global supply chains and their resilience, as well as climate change are only some of the challenges facing businesses nowadays. Increasing pressure to innovate is another issue that business executives need to deal with if they want to take their companies into the future securely and sustainably. Finding an appropriate innovative solution for each of these challenges that will stand the test of time exceeds the capabilities of not just small and medium-sized enterprises but most large companies as well. In addition, technological complexity and the multitude of options require wide-ranging expertise that individual businesses can hardly afford to acquire. And experts predict that this situation will grow more acute in future.
Rather than facing these challenges alone, it makes sense to join forces because the proverbial thinking outside the box encouraged by collaboration helps generate approaches that are truly novel. The diverse perspectives of the different collaboration partners produce synergy effects that ultimately benefit everybody. Particularly when those involved come from different industries or bring expertise from complementary areas to the table can people escape fixed trains of thought and innovation ensue.
And this does not only benefit those who initiated the collaboration process. While they frequently obtain a concrete solution to their existing problem at the end, others involved in the process also benefit because they in turn have the opportunity of testing out their technological solutions, concepts, or experiences in a concrete example and gain valuable experience.
But what about competition? During conversations about collaboration, one frequently posed question is if cooperating with others would not ultimately result in competitive disadvantages. It is important to look at the whole picture here. Of course it may be the case that others, even from the same industry, may profit from innovations generated by collaboration. But ultimately, the benefit gained from co-innovation is greater than any potential loss. Securing future business success is what it’s all about.