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The last thing most companies want to think about is working with their competitors. Historically, competitors are seen as enemies, as the opposition and so we instinctively think to avoid, outperform and overtake them.

collaboration

But in order to survive and thrive in today’s overcrowded marketplace, collaboration might just be the smartest move.

Collaboration is defined as “the action of working with someone to produce something” according to Google, or more fittingly, “traitorous cooperation with an enemy”.

Of course, collaboration need not be with competitors only, but any like-minded and complementing organisation or group. The power of collaboration sits in its ability to bring people and organisations together to solve problems faster, smarter and more efficiently. Organisations are able to innovate and move forward faster when they have help.

So, where has this need for collaboration come from? The digital age has certainly helped.

According to Rachel Botsman, Founder, Collaborative Lab:

“The reinvention of traditional market behaviours – renting, lending swapping, bartering, gifting – through technology is taking place in ways and on a scale never possible before”

Think Wikipedia, which started with two words: “Hello World” in 2001. Through the help of countless volunteers, donating their time, knowledge, working together toward a common goal, it has grown into the world’s largest free encyclopedia has more than 19 billion views per month.

Think crowdfunding – without it, there would be no Veronica Mars the movie! (Ok, so maybe that wouldn’t be so bad…)

Think Airbnb, think GoGet, think Uber.

“A new peer-produced economy and culture is rapidly emerging where the more you share, the more respect you get from your peers”

Neal Gorenflo, from Shareable.net

This sharing economy has forced businesses to become more innovative and forward thinking, and seek out the help of other businesses in order to succeed.

Co-society has put together 50 of the best examples of business collaboration and we’ve picked out our favourite 3 below.

LEGO and NASA

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Educational toys in space

LEGO has been on a mission to create education toys that teach kids about real-life challenges in a range of areas, such as robotics and renewable energy. This time, the toy company has teamed up with NASA to educate kids about the aerospace sector and promote technology, engineering and mathematics. Astronauts use LEGO blocks and models in the International Space Station to demonstrate specific concepts and perform experiments. Students can then recreate and build models like astronauts using LEGO. NASA has offered to assist LEGO in developing ideas for toys and models for its LEGO City to suit a variety of ages.

Everyone loves LEGO. But I love it a little more now, as it’s actually providing a fun and engaging avenue for learning and helps children develop an understanding for design and engineering.

PUMA and Sagem Wireless

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The sporty phone

In collaboration with Sagem Wireless, German clothing label, PUMA, have developed a smartphone specially designed for active people, who regularly play sports. The phone is solar-powered, features GPS tracking and a music player that includes radio and, of course, a sports tracker to measure performance.

Starbucks and Square

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Coffee, fast

Collaboration between one of the biggest coffee chains in the world, and a mobile payment app to make getting coffee as easy as possible just makes sense. Square, a tech startup for mobile payments has an easy fixed rate commission on all payments, making it very transparent. This helps Starbucks accommodate customer payment needs without high costs.

Through this collaboration, Square didn’t just win big business, but also gained a $US25 million investment from Starbucks, who’s CEO is now on the startup’s board.

Smart collaboration can lead to amazing things. So collaborate!

Check this eye-opening video by Visually on collaboration.

The Delicatessen is always open to and seeking like-minded organisation who are keen to collaborate on projects. If you think The Deli might be a good fit for a new project or to chat about potential opportunities, get in touch now!

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