Old Keywords, New Meanings Part 1: Partnership
Companies are living and ever-changing structures, because the market and the business are dynamic and constantly evolving. Three keywords that every entrepreneur knows well:
partnership, digitalization and diversification.
However, the evolution of markets in recent years gives us tools to analyze them from new angles. In this article (first of a series of three), we focus on the theme of Partnership.
Partnership with your competitors.
When we talk about competition, partnership is not the first thing that comes to mind; concepts such as analysis of the competitive environment, strengths and weaknesses, distinctive elements, dominant position, etc. are much more so.
Instead, the new paradigm leads us to consider a fiduciary relationship with competitors, in a globalized and hyper-connected world, i.e. the focus shifts from the pursuit of personal benefit to the increase of advantage for the entire reference sector. If the sharing of effort also implies a sharing of returns, less tangible benefits must be considered, such as risk reduction, the possibility of extending market reach, economies of scale, and acculturating communication.
Let´s take 2 examples from very different industries:
´Carni sostenibili´ is a project created in 2012, later translated into a website, by a group of livestock operators (companies and associations) that wants to demonstrate, through qualified studies and research, that meat production and consumption can be sustainable for both health and the environment. An entire sector organizes itself to express its point of view, supported by academics and opinion leaders, after it has suffered in the last twenty years attacks and criticism that meat consumption damages human health and contributes heavily to climate change.
In 2016 Amazon, Facebook, Google, DeepMind, Microsoft and IBM created the non-profit organization Partnership on AI (PAI), which Apple joined in 2017. PAI’s purpose is to study and formulate best practices in the field of AI technologies, to enable the public to better understand Artificial Intelligence, and to provide an open platform for discussion about AI and its impact on society. Faced with an epochal challenge that could change the future of humanity, the big corporations in the technology sector decide to work together to stop forging ahead and inform the public about the state of affairs.
These examples show us how convenient it is to look at competition with different eyes, especially in times of crisis. Of course, partnerships can take many forms, such as companies that offer complementary services and can therefore tackle different market segments together, which they could not tackle on their own.
The next article will explore the theme of digitization. Don’t miss it!