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Uber, Wikipedia and Bi-Link: The Power of Collaboration

Collaboration-Blend

Collaboration is how nomadic humans progressed from fighting against each other while hunting small game to the collective action of taking down a mastodon. It is the shared knowledge that rocketed man to the moon. These revolutionary advances would never have been possible without collaboration.

This partnership of ideas and capabilities is severely undervalued. Do not fear losing credit for your work or being over-shadowed by a more well-known partner due to collaboration. The more likely outcome is cross-promotion and drawing more eyes to your brand.

Think of a hole in your industry. How can your business fill this need by embracing the power of collaboration?

The Benefits of Collaboration

Open up to collaboration and your company will accomplish more. The purpose is to share a skillset or a valuable position in the industry and work towards the greater good.

Meghan Biro of Forbes explains the importance of collaboration for leadership saying, “Collaboration isn’t about being best friends, or even necessarily liking everyone you’re working with. It is about putting all and any baggage aside, bringing your best self to the table, and focusing on the common goals.”

By embracing collaboration, your company will be better armed to…

  • Divide & Conquer
  • Foster Creativity
  • Innovate Faster
  • Cross-Promote Services

…sounds like a win-win to me.

Collaboration Done Right

This Bloomberg Business article features some famous names you would know. These celebrated collaborations brought us the lightbulb, the first airplane, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, and Google. Here are some additional examples of collaboration done right:

Wikipedia – In Howard Rheingold’s Ted Talk, “Howard Rheingold: The new power of collaboration” he explains how Wikipedia is really an outgrowth of our natural human instinct to work as a group. He says, “Wikipedia has used thousands of volunteers to create a free encyclopedia with a million and a half articles in 200 languages in just a couple of years.” This resource would’ve required decades for one company to accomplish on its own.

Uber – You could say that Uber is the king of collaboration. Uber has run many programs positioning them to stand out in fields extending beyond the public transportation industry. Uber first started as an innovative company to fulfill the market need for an on-demand car service with real-time location services. They have since expanded their services by partnering with companies over a shared goal and cross-promoting both Uber and their partnership. Here are some of their most successful collaborations:

  • Pay a set fee, varying based on location, and Uber will deliver a basketful of kittens to your office for 15 minutes, with the money going towards local animal shelters. Since they’re all rescue cats, you also have the option of adopting them later.
  • Recognizing the high unemployment rate of veterans post 9/11, Uber developed UberMILITARY. They have employed 50,000 military spouses or veterans and donate $1 to returning soldier service foundations for every ride given by an UberMILITARY car.
  • Uber & Spotify = MUSIC FOR YOUR RIDE. Uber joined forces with Spotify. They offer paying Spotify subscribers the ability to remotely control the music playing during their Uber ride.

Collaboration Creates Opportunity

Collaboration is happening in businesses of all sizes and markets you may not think of for innovation. An example of this is Bi-Link, a company you may not yet know, but should definitely keep on your radar. Bi-Link started in 1961 as a job-shop manufacturing, metal stamping, injection molding, and tool and die company. Their story hits home with us, as we have had the honor and pleasure of helping to bring their vision to the marketplace.

As they recognized opportunities in the market, Bi-Link has pivoted their company model to satisfy these needs. The following revelation has driven their successful collaboration philosophy: there were so many engineers with great ideas in need of a place to explore how to bring these ideas to life.

The notion of providing a place where people could tinker with their ideas inspired The Hardware Store by Bi-Link. This innovation center created and run by engineers for engineers provides access to high-end equipment such as CNC machines, injection mold machines, and 15-micron accurate 3D printers. The Hardware Store is a place where innovators can go to transform vague concepts into real mechanical parts. But it isn’t simply a shiny toolbox; there’s a human factor for collaboration that takes center stage at The Hardware Store.

Within The Hardware Store is The Midnight Lunch™ Lab. Bi-Link is proud to collaborate on The Midnight Lunch™ Lab with Sarah Miller Caldicott, great grandniece of Thomas Edison and author of the book Midnight Lunch. In a video produced by 3D Systems, Bi-Link President Ray Ziganto stated, “I have always been a big fan of what Thomas Edison has done. The Midnight Lunch™ Lab that I am sitting in right now is really a physical manifestation of something Edison did. He was remarkably good at collaborating with people of diverse backgrounds, with diverse capabilities, and having them focus in on a result many times for things that had not yet been achieved.” Sarah Miller Caldicott was already an innovation advocate and a perfect partner to The Hardware Store by Bi-Link effort.

How are you collaborating with customers or partners to bring more value to your market? Share your story in the comment section below.

About The Author

Kathy Steele
Kathy Steele - View more articles

Kathy Steele is the President and CEO of Red Caffeine. She loves the crazy ride of being an entrepreneur, building brands, simple user experiences and happy employees. She is married to manufacturing, literally. Connect with Kathy on Twitter and LinkedIn.