Thoughts on successful collaboration opportunities

The news this week in January 2014 that Alicia Keys and Blackberry are to go their separate ways following a one year partnership started me thinking about the benefits and drawbacks of collaboration. Ms Keys was appointed as the Blackberry Global Creative Director at the beginning of last year in an effort to increase sales of the struggling technology company and promote their 10 mobile platform. Understanding how and when a collaboration is working or not and when to call it a day (in this instance after achieving increased publicity for both parties) is undoubtedly an important skill.

At its heart collaboration has the potential to benefit two parties working together through the sharing of ideas and knowledge in order to achieve a common goal. Whether it be in business, government, entertainment or technology a successful collaboration can create a valuable network whereby two groups combine resources while simultaneously increasing their organisational reputation.  In a competitive business environment collaboration can give companies the edge, provided both parties are committed to its success.

An article published (06/01/2014) last week in The Telegraph reveals how the founder of the Rare Tea Company, Henrietta Lovell, urges small business owners to share knowledge in order to grow at a faster rate and reduce the amount of mistakes that they make while expanding. She notes how in a large corporate company it is always possible to speak to someone in another department that has the resources to solve a problem. Small businesses, however, are unable to do this and must, therefore, cooperate with each other. Collaboration between non-competing small companies is a two-way process involving the sending and receiving of advice and is based on trust and communication. Lovell stated that without these partnerships her company would not have been able to achieve such success.

Collaboration can bring a range of benefits, yet in spite of this people may have doubts about forming a partnership due to the risks involved. Some may be put-off due to the preconception that the other party does not have the ability to be of use; others may be sceptical about building a successful working relationship. While at first it may seem daunting to trust another party with the outcome of one’s business, the new ideas that can come about through a fresh outlook and larger circle of connections can provide the energy to overcome a problem or implement an idea. According to Ms Lovell in the Telegraph it is especially beneficial to collaborate with other small businesses that share similar principles so that one feels more willing to obtain the best results for the other party, while knowing that the same will be done for yourself.

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