What is the key to successful collaboration?

21 August 2009
We recently heard two pieces of news about private sector companies who want to collaborate on their procurement. A group of retailers in India are teaming up to buy back office goods and services, to reduce costs by up to 3 per cent. “We may fight at the front-end but we need not compete at the back-end,” said Kishore Biyani, CEO of Indian conglomerate Future Group. Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel Lucent, also sees the advantage of collaboration to share expertise and cut costs. He told the Financial Times there would be an increasing number of these deals in the future. I’m not sure collaboration in the private sector (or even the public sector, for that matter) will ever really take off. Will companies ever be able to put aside their differences and work toward a mutual objective, without it resulting in an acrimonious split, or a merge or takeover? Do you have any advice for successful collaboration?
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