The Purpose of a Collaborative Strategy

by Jay Deragon on 05/22/2013

collaborationMarkets are dramatically changing and thus old strategic thinking and related methods are no longer relevant to the market. What we think about strategy and how we develop strategy must change.  We are in the middle of a transition concerning the context of strategy and its meaning to business.

When organizations think about strategy, it’s often in the context of objectives defined in terms of achieving financial results. The old mental models about strategy were driven by competitive advantages aimed at optimizing financial results by dominating existing markets. But when the market realities change from an emphasis of domination to expansion and from price to value the organizational goals and behavior need to adjust in order to thrive in the new realities.

Strategic thinking has historically been guided by theories based on forces of competition. The purpose of competition is to force firms to produce more at a lower price.  The theory is that the buyer wins because the market drives the prices down.  Competitive strategy usually means someone loses. The purpose of a collaborative strategy is to collectively create more value by expanding a market. In other words if we work together we can discover and provide value that the collective parties weren’t expecting thus expanding everyone’s value.

This kind of strategic thinking is fueled by open and transparent information flows so than all parties have the opportunity to learn together. What you learn and how you apply it determines the quantity of value you create.  The competitive forces are aimed at learning how to create more value rather than beating a competitor on price.

A Collaborative Strategy is Guided by these 10 Principles:

  1. There is more to gain from learning what we don’t know together
  2. The new competition is around collaboration
  3. Collaboration requires a shift in thinking from keeping people out to letting people in
  4. Strategy no longer relies on the minds of the few rather the many.
  5. Power is increased through distribution rather than containment
  6. Innovation comes from the outside
  7. Think of people as Human Capital waiting to be invested
  8. Think of technology as a collaboration tool that accelerates needed change
  9. Think about customers as “co-creation” partners.
  10. Think about what people value most and give it freely

Tomorrow’s strategies will not come from competitive thinking rather they will come from radical thinking about how best to discover and create value. Value creation starts with people united with a purpose that creates passion for discovering how to create more and more value together.

Collaborative Strategies come from these guiding principles rather than any specific strategic process of yesterday.


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