The Rising Tide Raises All Ships: Building a Collaborative Ecosystem

The modern business must adapt to a more collaborative ecosystem in order to realize its full potential.  This means softening corporate boundaries, rather than scrambling to erect brick walls that lock everyone in (and out).  Unfortunately we often see corporations managing with fear and intimidation to manage their people and products, rather than nurturing relationships to foster growth.  

We would all do well to take an introspective look at collaboration.  There are important lessons to be learned from the world of Open Source development; teams of people working together to solve great challenges, just not necessarily under the same roof, and certainly not using the same tightly-controlled (read:brick walled) budgets. Positive growth in teaming, agility, speed, and robustness come from collaborative approaches, and are beginning to crush the traditional brick-walled business model.

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
— Muhammad Ali

Brick walls equal fear.  Fear of lost revenues.  Fear of lost productivity.  Fear of lost people.  Fear that collaborating with like-minded organizations brings too much risk.  But simple economics has taught us that greater risk can equal greater reward.  We also know that brick walls, over time, promote fear and loathing amongst the people we need most: our highly skilled experts (our corporate lifeblood!).  In the end, surrounding an organization with brick walls may address management's fears initially, only to eventually push away our people, and make us less trustworthy to our partners, and our customers.  It’s time to take a calculated business risk and become open!

With openness comes freedom, trust, collaboration, and all the things that makes our rapidly changing business landscape so appealing.  Being truly open shows our partners, our people, and our customers that we are willing and ready to learn and grow with them.  The rising tide raises all ships, and with it an open, collaborative, social community of partners.  A community that embraces freedom of movement to partner with like-minded best-of-breed providers in order to solve our client’s most complex technology challenges.  

Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.
— Warren Buffett

True partnership is open and free, and promotes a level of trust unattainable with brick walled organizations.  This new type of collaborative ecosystem will drive modern business forward, and with it our partners, people, and customers. We must raise the tide for our ecosystem of partners, not for our own achievement, but rather the success of the entire ecosystem, culminating with the customer.  Our partner’s success is our success, and we must ensure we leave no one flailing about in the water. We will raise the tide, together, in an ecosystem of expertise.

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.
— Henry Ford

In my years of experience helping clients solve challenges with technology, the most successful engagements are those with a truly collaborative partnership. The more complex the problem, the more open I became, reaching out (taking my own risks) to partner with best-of-breed specialists to enhance the overall solution.  In the centre of the collaborative ecosystem exists the customer; boosting their energy and feeding their growth from the trust that comes with openness.  Benefiting from the deep skill which can only come from a trusted ecosystem of focused specialists, hand-picked for not only their expertise, but also their willingness to raise the tide.