No company can go it alone.

This is the opening sentence of the book “Alliance Advantage”* by Yves Doz and Gary Hamel, written in 1998. It was a valid statement back then; it is a valid statement, even more, Today.

We live in a constantly changing business world. A world characterized by an increasing variety of collaborations between organizations and supporting business models. Collaborations not only between companies but between any organization: public, private, startup, multi-national. They all need to work together.

Last week an executive from a traditional organization, an organization which exists already for more than 100 years, said to me: “in 10 years from now, we need to be a networked organization, or we will no longer exist.” At the same time, he shared his challenges with getting that notion into the strategy of the company.

Most organizations recognize the need for transformation and external collaboration. Like the aforementioned executive, many companies come from a background where the company grew based on control. With collaboration comes the need to share, and when sharing, control becomes a bit more difficult.

The control question is one of the major challenges I see within established companies. It comes back in the form of many questions, like:

  • “Where do we position our partnership competence center?”
  • “When do we sign a non-disclosure agreement with our prospective partner?”
  • “How do we stay in control?”
  • “How do we protect our intellectual property?”

All valid questions from the perspective of a traditional background. All questions for which there is no fixed answer available.

The last question about intellectual property is a challenging one. Many traditional companies rely heavily on protecting their intellectual property and for many, it is an additional source of income. Under the title “Innovation, Collaboration, and Intellectual Property: Can they Coexist?Mirjam Ros and I shared our thoughts in a webinar last week, in the IACCM “Ask the Expert” series. You can view the replay of our webinar here on my website.

As you will see in the replay, also for handling intellectual property in an increasing collaborative business world, there is no fixed answer available. Hence we shared our thoughts, not a recipe for success. The intention: to inspire you to find a suitable solution for some of your challenges.