Collaboration as a critical business asset


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Collaboration as a critical business asset

  1. 1. Collaboration as a Critical Business Asset<br />18. NOVEMBER 2010 | POSTED IN NUUKO OPEN BLOG | BY DOUG PORETZ<br />I’ve become a major believer in the value of collaboration and I see it as one of any enterprise’s most critical assets. My thinking on the matter has become more acute over the past several years because of three distinct events.<br />First was my experience with  HYPERLINK "" Qorvis Communications, which I co-founded in 2000. It is a Washington, DC-based integrated communications firm. We founded Qorvis with a very simple philosophy. We realized that our clients didn’t really care how busy (or not) we were; they cared about whether we hit a homerun for them. So, instead of billing by the hour, we billed on a monthly retainer based on what we and the client mutually agreed was fair, which was largely determined by the client’s exposure to our reputation for getting the job done. To build the reputation that would merit the bigger projects at the higher fees from the larger clients, we populated the firm with great professionals who were driven to hit a homerun for the client rather than bill a lot of hours. It didn’t take much more than a keen sense of the obvious to realize that it would be a lot easier to wow our clients sooner and to a greater degree if these professionals shared their contacts, experience and ideas. It was in everyone’s vested to collaborate. The result was that we could achieve our clients’ nirvana: a truly integrated communications campaign that synchronized and maximized all distribution channels (traditional pr, advertising, new media, interactive, etc.) for the sake of greater impact at less cost. At Qorvis, I became an up-close and personal observer that wonderful things can happen when smart people work together collaboratively.<br />The second big impact on my being a champion of the importance of collaboration was when I read The Origin Of Human Communications (MIT Press, 2008) by Michael Tomasello, co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. The gist of this remarkable book is that hominids communicated from the very start – before the current humans and even before larger brains – for a totally different reason than any other creature: to collaborate. Communicating to collaborate is much different than the alerts and warnings of the Great Apes and other animals. It is different and it is unique in the living world to humans. Collaboration is anthropologically inherent with humans. It’s what we are supposed to do. You can read the book, or get a sense of what I think are really important observations by seeing this video interview with Tomasello.<br />The third event is more recent. As we have been building NuuKo I have gotten to see the Qorvis model elevated to a much higher degree. Instead of collaborating on the focused issues of creating a communications campaign, at NuuKo I have begun to see collaboration at work when confronting an enterprise’s broad range of strategic issues: growth, organizational structure, positioning, pricing, seeking new opportunities and defending against the accelerating onslaught of very fundamental changes … really an unlimited menu of issues. It occurs to me, when seeing this at work, that the Nuuko platform is unique for its ability to create collaboration among world-class experts who have as wide a scope of enterprise expertise as the enterprise needs, who are party to no internal politics and belong to no organizational cliques. As we are a startup, I can’t say that I have seen this scores and scores of times yet, but I do see it emerging, and I think the opportunity to access this level of collaboration will become a major differentiator for the Nuuko platform and a major benefit for everyone involved. Well, at least we’ll try to make that so. Our ability to do that will relate directly to our ability to encourage comments and criticisms and then we’ll need to listen well so that we can adapt quickly as we improve everything about Nuuko. In other words, we want to collaborate with everyone: enterprises, experts, and observers. That only makes sense given our belief in the value of collaboration.<br />And all that is another way of saying: please send me your comments and ideas about anything and everything we do (or don’t do) that can be improved to make Nuuko more valuable to you.<br />