Sean Silverthorne, Editor of HBS Working Knowledge., interviewed with Alan D. MacCormack, a Harvard Business School professor, in a blog article entitled “Best Practices of Global Innovators.”
Again, we revisit the uber-trend of taking innovation out of a removed lab or the world of internal R&D and beyond all walls and borders. MacCormack maintains that one of the keys to being competitive is in developing and managing the partnerships that form as a result of innovation needs and pursuits.
Like lions defending their pride, Silverthorne writes, engineers and scientists of yesteryear protected their intellectual property and would never have dreamed of venturing beyond corporate walls to seek out new ideas or forge new relationships. MacCormack says that “not invented here” is actually today’s “badge of honor” and a key to competitive advantage.
He cites Boeing and its efforts in designing the 787 Dreamliner. The aeronautical giant reached out to 50 partners in 130 locations over 4 years to manufacture and design as true partners.
Today’s truth is that no one firm or company can be master of all skills. Why?
- The complexity of products is increasing.
- A pool of low-cost yet highly skilled labor has emerged in developing countries, creating incentives to substitute these for higher-cost equivalents.
- Advances in development tools (e.g., computer-aided design) coupled with a move to more open architectures and technical standards have driven down the cost of distributing work.
The bottom line is that “collaboration is no longer a ‘nice to have.’” It is a must.
More insight from this great article in my next post.