Creating Winning Partnerships
Our international experts present ways that working together can multiply your own best effort
This executive dossier includes the following articles:
High-Performing Alliance Portfolios
Ozcan, Pinar; Eisenhardt, Kathleen M.
Strategic alliances provide opportunities to strengthen your market position, gain new capabilities and resources, and enable you to grow and expand during difficult times. Many large, highly resourced companies already know this and are leveraging it to their advantage. But how can a small firm with fewer resources obtain and manage a high-performing alliance portfolio? Getting the alliance portfolio you dreamed of, and then managing it well over time, is not as impossible as it may seem, provided that you act early, make multiple approaches to various partners, give sequential attention to each, and generally avoid alliances with competitors.
Vollmann, Thomas; Cordon, Carlos
In this article, the authors present a tested process to transform traditional customer/supplier relationships into superior collaborative ones. It starts by managing the drivers, not the outcomes, of the business relationship. Instead of the classic procurement approach of cost lowering and combative negotiation, companies would do better to identify a few key partners – their so-called Pairs of Aces – and then focus on managing the network of interactions between them, addressing perception problems and fulfilling expectations, all designed to make themselves more attractive partners to do business with. Investing time in this process saves, and makes, money in the end. Smart companies have learned that by collaborating this way, they can outperform the competition and unleash the Power of Two.
The Rules of Engagement
The plethora of social networking tools available today, from Facebook to YouTube to blogs, attests to the new paradigm known as “co-creation,” which the author first described several years ago and now says is poised to take the world by storm. Co-creation is the process by which products, services and experiences are developed jointly by companies and their stakeholders, opening up a whole new world of value. Though increasingly being employed by certain progressive organizations, the author finds that individuals appear to be more ready than most enterprises to embrace what is fast defining the landscape of the future. To be ready, firms must stop thinking of individuals as mere passive recipients of value, to whom they have traditionally delivered goods and services. Instead, firms must seek to engage people as active co-creators of value on every front. For large, established organizations, it starts by co-creating a unique employee experience inside the organization. Then you can cultivate a co-creative engagement platform based on four basic building blocks: Dialogue, Access, Risk-Reward Assessment and Transparency (DART). Practiced effectively, your organization can grow into a mighty tree, from which all kinds of fruit will be ripe for the taking.
How to Spark R&D Innovation
With so much belt-tightening going on, pouring precious financial resources into partnerships with universities might seem an unnecessary extra. But think twice before cutting these long-term R&D investments: the money you save today could be the innovation, and consequently, the competitive edge, you lose tomorrow. The author examines the integral role university research can play in industry innovation. To enjoy the fruits of your alliance, your firm and your research partners must share complementary goals – and carefully lay the groundwork for a healthy and productive long-term relationship. The long haul is essential, he stresses, as the real value of these university links can be the unexpected results yielded over time. What’s needed is a proper framework to balance the myriad issues involved, so that you can protect your firm from the competitive issues while leveraging the cooperative ones in these testing times.