Collaboration drives creativity because innovation always emerges from a series of sparks – never a single flash of insight.
- Ken Sawyer
Two decades ago, author James Belasco wrote a business best seller “Teaching the Elephant to Dance”. It was all about helping companies and organizations to embrace change. If it was written today it would be all about embracing change and thinking about collaborative commerce.
Shackled like powerful elephants, companies and organizations become shackled to their past.
“But, we’ve always done it that way” should be a powerful warning sign, a symptom of impending disaster for us all. It most often robs us of the ingenuity required to meet new competitive challenges and focusing us instead on short term band aids versus long term solutions.
I suppose the elephant analogy was chosen to illustrate how big, lumbering companies typically lack agility and don’t respond quickly to change. The truth be known, responding quickly to change in the marketplace is not a problem of just large companies and organizations, it applies to us all, regardless of size.
I doubt that even Mr. Belasco anticipated the kind of changes that would be jolting companies two decades later. How the internet would transform nearly element of business and make their business models much more dependent on all sorts of business collaboration. With the rise of collaborative commerce, corporate elephants not only have to dance, they have to perform choreographed numbers in rhythm with other elephants.
What if someone had suggested, 20 years ago, that you share information about your customers, do joint advertising, share information systems, or even totally outsource your supply chain?
Not surprisingly, my guess would be that you would have totally dismissed all those suggestions without a passing thought. Same probably goes true even 5 years ago. Now … not so fast! These are precisely the kind of steps that many companies of all sizes are taking today. And even more surprising, these types of alliances are beginning to account for more and more business revenue.
Our discussions with many companies lead us to these conclusions. Ask most companies and they will tell you why they’ve given up trying to do everything themselves. It has to do with decision making speed, speed to market, faster expertise, business growth and expansion, and risk reduction.
Listen to them, and they will tell you it is collaboration or suffocation.
So what are you doing to get started in collaborative commerce? Please share a story or two about your experiences.
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