Sound Judgment and Strategic Partnerships

Business alliances remain a tricky thing. On the one hand, alliances allow companies to tap into new markets and growth platforms. At the same time, forming alliances is risky, as it demands trust building and deep knowledge sharing with external parties. This article provides a pathway for successfully managing business alliance formation.

Business alliances remain a tricky thing. On the one hand, alliances allow companies to tap into new markets and growth platforms. At the same time, forming alliances is risky, as it demands trust building and deep knowledge sharing with external parties. In an uncertain business environment, today’s friend may be tomorrow’s enemy.

Nonetheless, the rise of open innovation has led many to believe that collaboration has become a key way of securing future innovation management and creativity —blurring the traditional lines between corporations and institutions within and across sectors. This provides new incentives to turn outwards and form business alliances.

Always consider new alliances carefully, without basing your judgment on past experiences only.

A real skill

The first step is to realize that business alliance formation is a real skill to be built and developed. Alliance building is similar to M&A –mergers and acquisitions. There are a lot of statistics about the rate of success of this type of business development. Most research indicates that M&A activity has an overall success rate of about 50%.

Purpose, people and prenups

Many consultants and business schools stress the importance of diligent post-deal execution of alliance, and integration of acquisitions. This is crucial in cases of very clear cost synergies, however, in cases of entrepreneurial endeavors this can be unnecessary limiting.

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Four Tools to Support Creativity and Innovation

There are four different types of innovation tools that we’ll describe here, including the design of the work place itself, practices that encourage and even enable effective collaboration, open innovation approach to connect inside innovation teams with outside partners and experts, and online learning tools that constitute the virtual work place. Separately and especially together, these can make a tremendous enhancement in the performance and the satisfaction of individuals, teams, and your entire organization.

The last element of the innovation formula is the tools that enable you, or support you, to produce better innovation outcomes more quickly. This is often a sensitive topic for small businesses, which generally don’t have the resources to provide innovation teams with big work spaces, generous travel budgets, and fancy prototyping tools.

As we were wrapping up the tour, however, one of the facilities leaders who had been our tour guide, and who had been with the company for decades, mentioned that while the new labs were certainly lovely, he noticed that something had been lost over the years. He remembered the early days of the company, which was started in left over Quonset huts from World War II.

The work place

The qualities and characteristics that make Quonset huts and skunkworks so useful is that they’re open, flexible, and no one is inhibited about messing around in them and trying something new.

Unfortunately, the architecture profession and office furniture manufacturers have standardized on this utterly drab and uninspiring concept of what “the physical space” ought to be.

Tom Allen and Gunter Henn address this issue in their lively book about the design of offices: “Most managers will likely acknowledge the critical role played by organizational structure in the innovation process, but few understand that physical space is equally important. It has tremendous influence on how and where communication takes place, on the quality of that communication, and on the movements – and hence, all interactions – of people within an organization. In fact, some of the most prevalent design elements of buildings nearly shut down the opportunities for the organizations that work within their walls to thrive and innovate.

Effective collaboration

To create innovation requires that people engage in exploring new topics, understanding, diagnosing, analyzing, modeling, creating, inventing, solving, communicating, and implementing concepts, ideas, insights, and projects. These attributes are all facets of “learning,” and any organization that thrives in a rapidly changing environment has surely encouraged its members to learn and to apply active learning results to keep up with external changes. Read more at >>