Once upon a time to be in a land known to all, there existed hundreds of large companies, each of whom desired to build better products for their customers. The leaders of these companies believed that if they could find the right external partners with particular skills and knowledge, they could dramatically enhance their own product development efforts. They would apply these assets to tackle their more pressing and formidible challenges, and all would be good.
This approach seemed pretty smart to them in theory so they each set out to make it work. Those companies whose people worried that the external expertise would threaten their livelihoods found ways to ensure that the new approach would fail. These companies never were able to accelerate their pace of new product development and a depressing gloom descended over their financial spreadsheets. The few companies whose people didn't worry so much about where the desired expertise originated found they could make great strides by applying the new approach. These companies benefitted and their people and accountants were pleased.
One day, a leader from one of the more enlightened companies had an idea: "You know, certain solutions and expertise that benefit our company might also work well for some of our peers. I am not referring to our competitors, mind you. But companies whose leaders and values we respect and who respect us. I wonder if by sharing some of our most choice external finds with them, they might derive benefit that would cause them to want to do likewise with us?"
And so, he formed a select consortium of company leaders whose membership met on a quarterly basis, to discuss and share the choice leads that held the most promise for each of them and could readily extend across product categories. They respected each other and could be trusted to protect their respective confidential information. This sharing approach proved to be hugely successful and collectively generated far more high quality leads than if each company individually developed them. And all was good.
I don't know if the approach I have described above would work, but I have been around enough companies to know that many share the same or similar challenges and could likely benefit from a cross-company collaborative system of some sort. I wonder if any of you would be game to give this type of sharing approach a go.