I suggested previously that collaboration may become a victim of hype, especially if the market allows the hype to get ahead of the capabilities.  This is what I am referring to as a collaboration bubble, I am borrowing the term from the financial market because I think it is appropriate in my discussion regarding the collaboration hype.  As I previously stated, I do not know if the hype is overrunning the capabilities and for this reason I do not really know if we are in a ‘collaboration bubble’ of hype.  My suspicion however is that we are either in a collaboration bubble, or dangerously close to a bubble situation.

My suspicion has grown because of the increased use of the word collaboration in business discussions and in market publications.  I am seeing many situations and involved in conversations that reference collaboration that seem to be using the word as another way to say ‘go ask that person’.  I will be the first to admit that I may be overly suspicious, however, I have seen trends in the past that have heated up in the same manner with the same type of general acceptance in professional circles that have collapsed under their own hype when the new car shine grows old. 

I do know that without the investment in time and effort your collaborative efforts will fail.  I also observe that the attention span of the market and participants has been shortening over time.  This leads to a quick fix mentality that unfortunately does not support the type of long term effort required for a successful collaborative network. I have suggested over and over again that a successful collaborative network initiatives requires continuous maintenance which requires a serious investment in time and effort.  This also requires patience and perseverance to maintain the initiative and achieve the potential benefits.

In other words, success in a collaborative network initiative basically requires the opposite traits displayed in most business environments.  Success of a collaborative network requires a time horizon of multiple years rather than multiple weeks or months.  Its not to say that you will not achieve initial benefits and value in the initial weeks and months, however success in your collaborative network requires a change in culture.  This change in culture requires dedication, focus and effort over a longer time horizon in order for it to replace a current culture.  This change in culture requires a consistent level of patience and dedication on the one hand and it also require a consistent delivery of benefits in order to maintain the long term support of both internal senior management and partner senior management.

Success requires a tight-rope type of balancing between delivering value and maintaining momentum.  These requirements must outlive the short term hype.  This is a great deal to require and that is why I am suspicious of a collaboration bubble.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

How do you identify and address new opportunities in your current business market?  Have you ever tried to develop a SWOT focused on new business opportunities or new markets  to evaluate the fit for partnership and as a means to address and meet new opportunities?  Do you regularly develop a SWOT analysis to evaluate your internal capabilities and needs to support new business and market opportunities?