Collaborate to Successfully Innovate
What does this mean anyway? The word ‘innovate’ gets tossed around so much these days it’s hard to even find an accurate definition of the word, so here is my take;
Innovation happens every single day and in every single kind of business, exceeding client expectations is in fact a form of innovation. Why you make certain choices as a consumer is probably directly influenced by a moment in time when you were ‘wowed’ by brands you faithfully support.
Now how about collaboration, this one is more difficult. While at face value it makes sense, it sounds nice and most entrepreneurs and business owners want to believe they are good collaborators… are they? Really? When pushed most will concede that they find it hard to collaborate because they feel it threatens what they perceive to be their strategic advantage. However, the most successful entrepreneurs in the world actively invest in things that will disrupt their own businesses. It is a sure fire way to push the innovation envelope within your company and will likely create partnerships for collaboration that you never expected.
Now, if you think about tying these two ideas together, collaboration and innovation, in an effort to maximize the success of your business you’ll likely see an ecosystem starting to develop around you. One where like-minded innovators start to work together recognizing that a rising tide really does float all boats. That it’s really a game of give and take but if executed properly the win column will far surpass the loses thereby making it easier to stay the course and develop long term strategic plans for your business that really tie collaboration to a winning innovation strategy.
The most successful tech ecosystems in the world have been doing this for decades, the music scene in Seattle was built on this model in the early 90s, bands and musicians collaborating together, supporting one another and as a result they created one of the most successful and globally recognized music cities in the world.
The next time you meet someone at a business mixer consider this, how can I help this person succeed and in turn how can they help me? What are your common areas of interest and how can you successfully exploit those areas together for mutual success.
And have fun doing it.
Jeremy Laurin is the President and CEO of ventureLAB and has overall responsibility for: Municipal, Regional, Provincial and National mandates including executive oversight for all innovation programs.
Previously a technology entrepreneur, Jeremy founded his first of three IT firms in Kingston, ON in 1995. Throughout his career he has successfully authored Patents and has been responsible for raising private equity, growing the IP assets of the firms he has led and creating shareholder value.
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