Unexpected Partnerships

Your biggest innovation opportunity can come sometimes come from where you least expect. Many famous innovations came from unexpected partnerships which perhaps appear obvious in hindsight, but certainly didn’t at first because some people just couldn’t make the connection. See below some of my favourite examples of unexpected partnerships, from on a little talk I gave at Time Out today.

In the discussion that followed, we came up with three questions which I think apply more broadly to any organisation, as follows:

  1. Bi-Products – What space/material/data is left over from your organisation others can use productively, or vice versa? e.g. Quorn, Coca Cola, Pizza Express App
  2. Lateral Leaps – What insight can we borrow from analogous industries or application that we can learn from and apply ourselves? e.g. Great Ormond Street, Reebok, Starbucks
  3. White Space – How can we co-create something new by seizing the white space between complementary and non-competing partners? e.g. LEGO, Orange, Smart

Of course you can’t partner with everybody and anybody, but as As J.G. Ballard says: “The future reveals itself through the peripheral”, so it’s worth considering who might be the unexpected partners that could be your next big innovation opportunity?

by Roland

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