1.2 Innovation Process Collaboration


Collaborate or Die! That is what we stated in the introduction to this module, and perhaps we can match that by adding; Innovate or Die! Corporate growth springs from Innovation and so does new and improved processes. Therefore the Innovation Process is an excellent place to be collaborating as it offers many opportunities.
The Innovation Process should cover all levels within an organisation simultaneously, as no organisation can depend solely upon innovation occurring at one level only. Therefore, successful organisations will have an innovation process working its way through all the levels of the organisation.
For practical examples of Innovation Process collaboration, read any given case study provided on this website. Choose one to fit your sector or industry. The case studies specify how you find your collaborative partners and how you achieve common goals.
We can also recommend you to read the books of Michael E. Porter:
• The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy
• Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors
• “What is Strategy?”
Also, watch an interview with Michael E. Porter about the five competitive forces here:
No company is an island and some changes you can simply not achieve on your own!
Some good advice
Examine the value chain that you are a part of, in order to become more competitive. An organisation, which is part of your value chain, is not necessarily a competitor – on the contrary, joining forces in a collaborative relationship could be a valuable asset in the innovation process of your organisation.
Re-evaluate your value chain: Executives often view the supply chain as no more than a cost driver. Overcoming this perception can be one of the most difficult tasks a supply chain manager faces. So review the processes of the organisations and look for collaborative options to improve the value chain. This could be joining forces with another organisation in order to improve logistics or entering into a new market. Joining forces to re-evaluate how you supply your products or services to your customers or how customers can access your organisation.
End user collaboration: Remember that the end user of your product or service is also a part of your value chain and they can provide new perspectives for your product or service development. (For more information, see Module 3: User Driven Innovation)
Positive interpersonal relationships: No supply chain can operate at its full potential without positive interpersonal relationships among partners. Furthermore, many relationships fail due to poor communication of expectations so when entering into partnerships with your value chain (or other), be very clear in your communication about your expectations and goals – if you are not fighting to achieve the same goals the collaborative relationship will surely suffer.
Redesign your Business: Review your organisation by questioning your current processes and review the current competition both locally and globally. Analyse the situation by taking into account what is available to you in your value chain. Only then can you truly redesign your business and choose strategically beneficial collaborations to help your organisation gain competitive advantage.
Do not only reach for short term goals but make sure that your organisation also has long term strategic goals to move towards, otherwise, it will be impossible for your organisation to differentiate itself from its competition and the competitive advantage will be lost.
Re-evaluating your business and your environment will help you choose the right collaborative partners and the right collaborative projects. Whether it will be technical processes, innovation processes product development or other.
Make sure to implement properly. Have a ready plan for implementation or no actions will succeed. Many organizations fail in obtaining the benefits of their initiatives. The main cause is that true business process innovation requires a variety of skills – business knowledge, process thinking, IT literacy, people change management capability, project management skills, and, last but not least, excellent stakeholder management. Many organizations embark on this journey without a clear approach (way forward) and get lost on the way.