In Perfect Partnership

April 25, 2011 By Aminda

Both in business and out, perfect partnerships don’t just happen magically, they take deliberate effort. Innovative companies agree that strong partnerships are important to effectively opening up innovation but how do those partnerships really look in reality? Here are a few practical tips published by Blogging Innovation, provided by the experts at P&G.

Help them help you

First, Kelly McDow, Associate General Counsel for P&G’s Connect+Develop has some tips from a legal perspective.  

She recommends helping your OI partner find a flexible collaborative IP attorney. If they already have one, work with them to engage and educate. This builds the relationship and trust, which only helps make a better deal if one is to be made.

Know what both you, and your partner, need to be successful.  Think about success broadly; there is the success of the initial collaboration and the success of an ongoing relationship. The initial collaboration may not work because the technology simply doesn’t work as everyone thought – that doesn’t mean the relationship has to end, just that specific collaboration.

Finally, remember that your partner has as much of a right to do due diligence as you do yours so be as cooperative as possible during the process.

Embrace each other’s differences

Chris Thoen, head of open innovation, provides some insight specifically in respect to working with smaller, “unequally” sized partners but applicable to any partnership.

He suggests that organizations will best work together when they can align on purpose, values and principles—the things that guide how the company is run and employees behave. There should be trust and communication along with good chemistry and strategic fit.

Even such well-matched partners won’t be without differences. Because of that, partner organizations need to be present in the other’s culture and languages, meaning they need to avoid speaking in acronyms and other lingo that won’t be understood by the other. Become familiar with cultural differences such the decision making process; something that usually moves faster in smaller companies than in bigger ones.   

Finally, good partners need to appreciate what the other brings to the table and avoid an attitude of arrogance.


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