Those of you who know me or have followed this Blog for any length of time know how strongly I feel about innovation (see my Return on Innovation Blog Post) as a key driver in business. You also know how heavily I value partnering, venturing and collaboration as key leverage points. Independently these two concepts are powerful, but couple them together and they create a catalyzing effect of unequaled proportion. In this blog post we’ll examine what these disciplines can mean to your business.

The “me too” era of business is gone…Following the crowd with a “herd mentality” will only run your business into the ground.

From my perspective adopting the so-called “best practices” utilized by your competitors will do little more than insure mediocrity. I just finished re-reading the 64 page “IBM Global CEO Study” in which 750 CEO’s of leading companies from around the world were interviewed. The result of the survey simply confirmed what I have been evangelizing for years…Collaborate, Innovate and Dominate (my quote not IBM’s). At N2Growth we help our clients create market dominant brands and a big part of our success formula is showing our clients the value using collaboration to drive innovation…The bottom line is that nothing will be more meaningful to your business in the months and years ahead than your ability to excel in these two areas.

Collaboration starts internally, but as the IBM report emphasizes it is essential to “defy collaboration limits” and look for collaborative opportunities outside your company, spanning verticals, across geographic boarders and across competitive boundaries. The reality is that great ideas are rarely incubated in a vacuum. New ideas, different perspectives and creative approaches can be used to refine organic initiatives in ways that you might not ever realize if left to your own thinking.

The IBM report clearly showed that CEOs around the globe have embraced collaboration and innovation. They understand that their success will lie in their ability to continue to add value in new ways, in new markets and with new products and services. CEO’s in today’s business world need to step-up and realize that they need to lead by example and drive a cultural and philosophical innovation revolution within their companies. Senior executives not capable of collaborating and innovating will have a very limited shelf life moving forward. I think Kluas Kleinfeld, President and CEO of Siemens AG put it best when he said: “You can only win the war with ideas, not with spending cuts.”

The moral of this story is don’t find yourself caught in the innovation gap or cut off from collaborative advancements. Remember…Collaborate, Innovate and Dominate!