Collaboration: the means for survival in the digital world


4 August 2016

CEOs of the leading companies in each industry agree on the same idea: the need to tackle the digital transformation to survive in a new environment.

Nonetheless, it’s not the only challenge on the table. Companies born in the 21st century have this point solved but, will they be able to subsist?

Virtue is the golden mean between two vices, the one of excess and the other of deficiency.-Aristotle

Aristotle developed his theory of virtue more than 2,000 years ago. Classic examples of this theory are the value defined as the attribute that is found between fear and cowardice, or the level-headedness that is located between immoderation and insensitivity.

But, where is virtue found in the current corporate ecosystem?

It’s a fact that the technological revolution during the last few years has favored the emergence of the company 2.0 that has changed the rules of the corporate game. The traditional players see themselves forced to confront a digital transformation process if they want to remain on the playing field, while 21st-century enterprises have to demonstrate that they have a business model that is sustainable over time.

As we have previously mentioned, the primary differentiating trait of these new companies consists of putting people in the center. This could seem simple and obvious, implying that but implies taking on determined actions that in some cases could be difficult to put into practice in a traditional enterprise.

Betting on a company with these characteristics is synonymous with:

  • Agility to offer differentiating value propositions in an environment in continual evolution.
  • Constant innovation that fosters continuous improvement and exceeding expectations in real-time. Roche Innocentive is an innovation platform that connects more than 160,000 people with different profiles to develop new experience-based products.
  • Transparency understood as sharing knowledge to generate efficiency and optimize the meeting of objectives. Vineet Nayar in his tenure as CEO of HCL revolutionized and turned the company around, introducing a management style called employees first.
  • Self-management based on responsibility, acting from simple organizational structures. Valve characterizes itself by being a company where employees create their professional trajectory and decide the projects they want to work on.
  • Coherence in all and each action. The perfect correlation between values and the day-to-day life at a company is a mark of Atlassian’s corporate identity.

Traditional corporations, on their part, have embedded in their DNA values and learnings that have positioned themselves as leaders in their respective industries.

These firms, which rely on many years of history, stand out for their accumulated experience and a deep business knowledge. Thanks to that, they have been able to gain the consumer’s confidence over time and solidify their brand.

These companies similarly count on business models based on the main pillars that have let them successfully tackle periods of expansion or internationalization and confront times of crisis that have left them reinforced.

These two models of corporations are those that currently coexist and fight for belonging in the corporate world.

The way of meeting this challenge goes through successfully establishing models for collaboration that foster each model’s strengths. Innovation labs or acquiring startups are real solutions, but the one that has the greatest chances of success is the joint venture.

This model for collaboration allows both companies to preserve their essence and share the best of each one with the other.

To do so, it’s necessary to work on the following core concepts:

  • Analyzing and establishing clear collaboration objectives.
  • Respecting the different corporate culture while looking for points in common.
  • Overcoming the resistance to change and the fear of supposed loss of control.
  • Prioritizing talent on altars of innovation.

Living the culture in the Good Rebels (formerly Territorio creativo) close hand for two weeks has allowed me to prove that in fact people, both the team and clients, can be in the center.

One can observe that the day-to-day life revolves around this principle. This lets them stand out for their agility, self-management (the rhythm you and your surroundings set), and a way of sharing knowledge that exponentially increases creative and innovative capabilities, enriching everyone and all those who collaborate in and outside of the company.

This model of the company 2.0 could be exported to any organization that wants to adapt to the new context. Many of these enterprises, on their part, could collaborate in their new internationalization challenges.

There can be so many formulas for collaboration as we’re able to imagine, but what’s fundamental is always to accept them from respect and having present, as Artistole would say, that virtue is in the midpoint.