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Collaboration and Shared Value Trends for 2015-16

It’s time to reflect on what is and isn’t working well in the collaboration and shared value space. My picks reflect what’s been happening on the ground:

1. Shared value initiatives

SVF15 Speaking 4 JPEGThe main trend is businesses increasingly linking their community and social initiatives with strategic and financial value, evidenced by:

Barriers to the adoption of shared value strategies include:

  • Differentiating it from corporate social responsibility
  • Realising it is innovation and not box ticking
  • Leadership and capability building
  • Linking the economic and social agenda
  • Working out how non-profits seize opportunities

The outlook for 2016 sees continued interest in education, idea creation and developmental tools and processes.

2. Business to business (b2b) collaboration

Screenshot 2015-12-05 16.49.16There is no doubt the technology has increased disruption risk in the private sector, meaning that companies need collaboration skills to adapt and respond in shorter timeframes. Trends include:

  • Opportunities to improve the customer experience
  • Larger companies partially ‘outsourcing’ innovation to startups
  • Learning how to efficiently and effectively work with those startups
  • Using collaboration to access new customers or markets

Challenges for b2b:

  • Defining the problem that is being solved
  • Creating a staged and structured collaboration process
  • Understanding the dimensions of the value proposition
  • Devising quick and cheap tests before committing resources

Earlier in the year I got together with fellow practitioners to devise the Collaboration Canvas. It provides a masterplan and a process for developing collaborations that I’ll be speaking about at ISPIM Innovation Summit. Promising results have been achieved with clients in 2015 and we’ll be developing it further in 2016.

3. Internally aligning departments and teams

Internal buy-in for change using collaboration tools (Canberra)

First of all, we must recognise that teams or departments, no matter what organisation, industry or sector they are in, can be thought of as collaborations between smaller teams or individuals.

Trends from out in the field that I observed include:

  • Dysfunctional teams still exist in many places!
  • Adapting to change with constrained resources
  • Employees not feeling confident about their role or place in the organisation
  • Major advances in technologically-based collaboration tools

Challenges in this area:

  • The human element: what is work-life balance?
  • Creating a common baseline for values and behaviours
  • Balancing the big picture with operational needs and the impact on individuals
  • Buy-in for change requires tools and processes that engage early and often
  • Managers developing a narrative for the change process

It’s astounding how inhibiting it is for an organisation when alignment gets or stays out of whack, so it’s a problem worth investing in. I have found the Collaboration Canvas is equally as powerful when applied to this area.

What trends have you noticed in these same areas?

As I mentioned, all this is from my point of view, so I’m keen to hear what observations you have that will add to the discussion. You can leave a comment below.



Phil Preston helps people and organisations collaborate, with specialisation in the shared value field. He can be reached at


1 Comment
  1. Hi Phil, happy Christmas…when are you next in Canberra? for a catch up & potential workshop

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