Successful collaboration across a wide variety of partners requires continuous interaction, reviews and planning because of the variety of partners and their various viewpoints and objectives.  The continuous interaction between business partners must also encourage and support external interaction and engagement with customers of all partners and not just any one partners.  This interaction with the customer can be helped through a regular conference of partners where business partners can meet in person and share experiences and discuss opportunities and changing objectives in an environment that encourages collaboration and rekindles the personal relationships across partners.  This type of engagement is best in person and at a location that allows and encourages interaction and discussions sessions.


Maintaining interest and continuous improvement in collaboration requires a regular review and reference point for interaction and collaboration among partners.  A conference of partners at least annually allows the partners to maintain interest and the personal interaction and focus encourages relationship development among the partners.  The conference also provides a great opportunity for new partners and changing team members to meet and engage with the other partners to develop new and maintain existing relationships.  I previously recommended a focus on maintaining interest among the partners to encourage the longevity of the partnerships.  The conference is a great way to encourage and maintain interest in the shortest period o time and the greatest effect.  There is nothing like personal interaction to develop the relationship and then when the personal relationship is in place all other communications become much more effective and productive. 


It is important to develop a schedule of events and discussions for this conference that covers topics and strategic objectives.  The conference setting allows for more productive discussions that allow the partners to quickly come to agreements.  It encourages more productive interaction between and across partners to develop better action plans for collaboration.  In addition the conference schedule supports a process for discussions that lead to more productive and valuable actions and strategy.  The conference process builds partners and encourages collaboration in decision making and strategic planning.  This personal interaction also strengthens partners and interest in the collaborative partnerships that will drive the collaborative interaction between and among the partners after the conference.


Software companies have used the conference to maintain interest in their products and to develop partnerships for a long time.  I am not saying that your collaboration conference needs to be as elaborate, however the concept of getting disparate collaborative partners together on a regular basis will definitely encourage participation and engagement among the partners.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?