|Global Partnering Strategies and Innovation - Rethinking Turf Protection|
Written by Dr. Catherine SeeTraditional approaches to partnering and outsourcing have seen many companies bogged down by contracts and negotiations as a mechanism of managing the risk associated with sharing commercially sensitive information. Such contractual arrangements often meant the opportunities to leverage from collaboration were stifled.
However recent literature has highlighted a number of organisations considering partnering and outsourcing differently as a strategic driver for innovation, organisational growth and, ultimately, competitive advantage.
Such partnerships provide an opportunity to drive a culture that embraces highly collaborative environments with people actively seeking mutual benefit for all players involved. Where the success of each player is entwined in this kind of way, the desire to win transcends contracts and sourcing arrangements.
Research conducted by a team from Harvard Business School involved a range of companies and many executives who had spent a great deal of time and energy considering partnering as a strategic priority. Their findings reinforced that, when approached in the right way, partnering and collaboration can increase capacity; provide access to hard-to-find talent not readily available internally; and can broaden the business playing fields for those seeking to move to new regions or different geographic locations. While the research warns companies not to be driven purely by cost reduction in developing a strategy that reflects partnering or outsourcing; they certainly see evidence that both bottom line and top line improvements will follow a well-executed partnering strategy.
Companies that are getting it right are considering carefully what their competitive advantage is (and is not) and how they can best leverage the talent and capability of their provider partners. Joint ventures and shared intellectual property are becoming vehicles for innovation and growth where the concerns of ‘giving away’ IP are being put aside in order to drive sustainable growth.
Boeing is one example of a transnational company that has made a deliberate strategic choice to partner on and off-shore. They involved over 100 global partners in the development of their new 787 aircraft. Their ability to collaborate and source ‘high-end’ skills not readily available in the market saw them achieve great success and they claim the advantages they gain from partnering far outway any costs of building strong contractual and operational relationships with their partners.