Coopetition, Inside and Outside Organizations

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Apple and Samsung have long been arch-enemies, fighting to create the next sought-after smartphone and, every now and then, exchanging litigation for billions of dollars. They won’t let bygones be bygones, yet they manage to work well together. The Korean company manufactures many of the processors used in iPhones, a win-win partnership that is likely to continue over the following years.

Digital people, like you and me, work double tides to get every detail right, sometimes forgetting that the answer lies in front of them. Some feel that asking for help is beneath their dignity and end up losing points on the long run. The digital environment is not about being perfect, but about finding solutions and finding them quickly.

Coopetition is a word coined more than a century ago, in 1913. It describes a situation that occurs when two competing entities find common ground and cooperate with each other to reach a level impossible to get to by themselves. The word applies not only to interactions at a startup/company level, but at human level as well.

Veteran startup mentor Martin Zwilling described in Forbes several advantages of this strategy, among which is extended market penetration allowed by complementary strengths. We can follow the same reasoning within companies too – the junction of employees’ expertise and know-how triggers productivity and skills enhancement.

Related: Does your company brainswarm?

Cooperation and competition inside a company

As mentioned in this older post, it’s curious how the effects of competition change almost dramatically when triggered outside the company. As far as industry is concerned, without competition, we wouldn’t have innovation – while when used inside the company, it constrains it.

Still, many of today’s workplaces are tailored to accommodate rat races among employees. Some resort to opportunistic behavior, wanting to succeed rapidly. According to a PwC study, career progression was the main attraction in an employer for 52 percent of the millennials, while competitive salaries took the second place, quoted by 44 percent.

The ongoing digital transformation the business environment is experiencing indicates not only market trends, but is offering at the same time new ways to improve internal communications, supporting growth for both employees and the company as a whole. New tools are emerging that assist employees with improving their skills through knowledge-sharing and becoming more efficient by collaborating.

At Quandora, we believe in working together not for the sake of being social, but for all the perks that come with capturing, centralizing and communicating collective knowledge.

Let bygones be bygones – the age of knowledge hoarding is long gone.

Happy Knowledge Sharing!

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