In these times of budget cutbacks, shrinking discretionary spending and unemployment, those who learn how to operate in a “Collaborative Economy” will create the new rules of business for years to come.
Corporations need to reach customers. Non-Profits need to find supporters. Individuals need services. In combining resources and effort, a win-win-win situation emerges. Say a corporation’s target market is similar to that of a non-profit. Those target individuals can support both industries at the same time while the corporation and non-profit share expenses and grow their loyal base.
Illustrating this trend, the University of Pittsburgh's Corporate Relations Team purpose is to “promote mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with corporations.” They say, “We can help your corporation gain access to resources such as world-class faculty, talented students, state-of-the-art facilities and opportunities for philanthropic support of campus activities.” Now THAT is a win-win situation.
Inc. Magazine reported on the TED* 2011 Spring convention by observing, “What makes the event unique is that it is completely polymath, bringing together people from every discipline under the sun. The interaction between people who have different perspectives and experiences cannot help but create insights”. TED has a tendency to produce collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact. (*TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.)
Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman eloquently put things in perspective in their book Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration. “In a society as complex and technologically sophisticated as ours, the most urgent projects require the coordinated contributions of many talented people … and yet, even as we make the case for collaboration, we resist the idea of collective creativity. Our mythology refuses to catch up with our reality. And so we cling to the myth of the Lone Ranger, the romantic idea that great things are usually accomplished by a larger-than-life individual working alone … Collaboration constantly takes place in the arts as well. A classic example is the Michelangelo masterpiece, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. In our mind's eye, we see Michelangelo, looking remarkably like Charlton Heston, laboring alone on the scaffolding high above the chapel floor. In fact, 13 people helped paint the work. Michelangelo was not only an artist; he was, as biographer William E. Wallace points out, the head of a good-sized entrepreneurial enterprise.”
We have our own arts world collaborative example: a number of years ago, rather that build a new facility, the Sarasota Ballet began operating out of the Asolo Theatre. The Patrons of both organizations got familiar with the other’s offerings – just through proximity. I dare say they each gained exposure and a few new supporters.
So I ask … What are YOUR collaborative solutions to some of the challenges we face locally? Economic Development? Parking Problems? Homelessness? Political Antagonism? Let’s hear it, Locals!