Innovation is a highly interactive, multidisciplinary process which increasingly involves cooperation and partnerships between a growing and diverse network of individuals and organizations. We find increasingly more organisations innovate through partnerships and collaborations.
Collaboration is defined as the process where two or more people or organizations work together towards achieving mutually beneficial goals and objectives. Collaboration extends over a range of activities, including the provision and transfer of skills, sharing of information, conducting research and product development, accessing channels to market and creating new market opportunities.
The aim of collaboration is the co-creation of value through sharing, creating new insights, and leveraging existing resources. The diagram below outlines a continuum of collaboration intensity from traditional business approaches of engaging customers and suppliers, to a shared destiny of creating new competitive space.
Therefore, what could be the causes of the low percentage of collaboration. A number of issues and barriers can occur in pursuing potential collaborations, including:
- Lack of professionalism on both sides of the collaboration, including poor project and intellectual property management
- Diverging interests and cultures, including impulsive relationships
- Problems over speed of negotiation, ownership of results and intellectual property, including exclusivity
- Compensation for indirect costs and background knowledge
- Equitable returns in the event of successful commercialisation
From a government policy perspective, a lack of incentivisation and program support for collaboration could also be a factor of low level collaboration in certain countries.
The concept of open innovation is worth re-visiting as collaboration plays a significant role. Open innovation implies that an organization has the willingness and desire to source and utilize external knowledge, ideas, intellectual assets and technologies, in addition to its internal capabilities, to identify solutions to problems, capitalize on opportunities, develop new technologies, create new products and services, improve processes, or design new organizational systems and business models. A great example of an organization practicing open innovation is Proctor & Gamble, where many of its products have been developed with external partners providing research, development and cross-licensing of intellectual property.
A number of benefits can be gained by firms and organizations through collaboration and open innovation:
- Reduced costs due to utilising others people’s experience, skills & equipment and sharing costs of research
- Higher quality research and development
- Accessing new and different skills, networks, contacts and distribution infrastructure
- Risk mitigation – collaboration can have reduced risk as it is shared
- Increased speed to market
How can we better collaborate to drive innovation?
Dr John Kapeleris