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Co-creating through a collaborative partnership ecosystem

Co-creating through a collaborative partnership ecosystem

In my recent blog post, I talked about working with customers and external partners through an effective ecosystem, blending business and technology expertise and creating new value which can be delivered through a co-creation approach. A flexible approach and the sharing of sensitive knowledge with your partners is key to succeeding, but it can take some time, and trust, to succeed.

The topic of co-creating through collaborative partnerships raises a number of questions and areas to think about:

  • How important are your partners to you?
  • Which partners do you collaborate or even co-create with?
  • Do you co-create with your customers?
  • How open are you to sharing sensitive information with your partners?
  • Are you able to adapt to the technology challenges and changes that are happening?
  • How long will it take for your employees to be upskilled to handle the changes?
  • Do you feel the need to collaborate with your competitors?
  • And how long are you willing to wait for results before you declare a co-creation project a success, or start to record the learnings from it, to make the next project more successful?

A Fujitsu survey of over 1,600 business leaders worldwide highlighted that to be successful in the digital era organizations need to address People, Actions, Collaboration and Technology – PACT. I found the results very interesting and want to explore these further with you. One finding is that 63% of businesses are embarking on, or are already running, co-creation projects with partners. That’s a good sign, nearly two thirds of businesses are actively pursuing co-creation in the interests of evolving and transforming their business and positively benefiting their customers.

BUT… and this statistic shocked me..

73% say a partnership would be ended if it failed to deliver results quickly enough! I worry that organisations try something quick and expect rapid return, but without really addressing the underlying aspects of the business model. I also wonder if, in these situations, there has been clear agreement across all parties on what the measures of success should be throughout. How will transformation really happen through a co-creation project if there isn’t enough time? Isn’t that just applying some “lipstick to a pig” –  doing something to look better when it is bound to quickly wear away without meaningful and trusted effort between all the parties involved?

I wonder if you are in the 73% that will end a partnership engagement if the results do not happen quickly enough.  Or maybe you are one of the remaining 27% and worry that you wait too long for results – after all we talk more nowadays about fail fast and being agile. I cannot say one way is definitely right as it’s obviously a little more complicated than that. Perhaps, as with most things, finding the perfect balance is key.

Let’s also look at the types of organisations that are the most popular to engage with. Technology experts scored as the highest (64%), and next highest existing customers (42%), then start-ups (37%) and companies outside their own industry (36%). These statistics show that organisations see the most beneficial part of co-creation as being the sharing of knowledge which isn’t present already in an organisation, with broad ecosystems of experts being drawn upon. The importance of customers in helping with this process is clear from the findings.

Also and this may or may not surprise you, 30% say they are pursuing co-creation projects with their competitors. I liken this to examples in nature, where certain risks need to be taken to be able to adapt and survive, although at times I guess things can wrong too. However, perhaps you won’t be able to survive without taking some of these (educated) risks and it does indicate the importance and value in co-creation.

Interestingly 79% of organisations are willing to share sensitive information as part of these co-creation projects – now for me this is more encouraging. This is definitely not applying “lipstick to a pig”, and this depth of engagement and willingness to engage with confidential information means that so much more can be achieved through co-creating and meaningful partnerships, but only if you are willing to allow enough time for the engagement to succeed.

So – on the one hand our findings show that organisations are incredibly flexible about who they are willing to work with and what they are willing to share. But on the other hand they are locked into short term thinking! Very interesting results…

Let’s also look at Artificial Intelligence as a technology example

Our research found that 83% of business leaders believe that Artificial Intelligence will transform the skills needed in their organisation by 2020. BUT even today 9 out of 10 report that they have a digital skills gap today, in the latter part of 2017.

This is a prime example of where we need to act and work together through a co-creation ecosystem. The sharing and integration of knowledge could ensure that Artificial Intelligence has a positive impact, sooner, on both our personal and professional lives.

Fujitsu has established a CoE in Ecole Polytechnique’s incubator, Drahi X-Novation, which is at the heart of Paris-Saclay, one of the world’s preeminent research and technology clusters and that focuses on innovation. From this, Fujitsu will expand the CoE as well as its connections to other innovation ecosystems all around Europe. So we are advancing Artificial Intelligence, by co-creating technologies that will help enterprises embrace the benefits of digital transformation. Refer to this press release link for more information.

So what do I recommend for co-creating through collaborative partnerships?

I previously talked in another blog about work with customers and external partners through an effective ecosystem, blend business and technology expertise and create new value which can be delivered through a co-creation approach.

It is the proactive sharing and integration of knowledge and expertise, including sensitive and confidential information and insight that can really help you to succeed.

Although, the benefits may not transpire in the short term and you may need to play the long game…

…so are you prepared to be one of the remaining 27% ready to wait longer and continue the co-creation collaboration with your customers and partners with the confidence that it will succeed…

…or are you one of the 73% who will not wait and will cancel the project to re-focus efforts elsewhere?

A brave decision to take either way …

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