Competition versus Collaboration

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Competition versus Collaboration

Studying so much about collaboration within and outside the organization made me curious about the competition element. So I tired to find out where does the competition lies when we are talking about Collaboration.Christiansen (2000) says that for ?creativity? and ?innovation?, it is important to consider whether ?collaboration? or ?competition? is valuable. Although there are some downsides with collaboration like: collaborative group working independently, resistance & dispute, ownership problems, Time pressure in members and their activities, etc..

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Despite having such downsides ?competition? is beaten by ?collaboration?. Furthermore, competition among individuals within an organization, in idea generation, forces people to shutdown. Who wins and who looses is based on the rules of the game which includes individuals? competencies and other factors. Whereas in the innovation-process, creativity nourishes with new ideas from a variety of sources. In competition individuals hold back information. Furthermore, the individual might not have a clear picture about the problem in-hand or reduce creative thinking or might not give enough time to think about the solution. Thus, increasing the possibility that the outcome is not a best solution or a best idea. Whereas in collaboration, individuals will be synergistically working together towards their objective. Collaboration is an important part of the innovation stages of selecting the ideas, development and commercializing an idea.

In case where competition is outside the organization Nagel (2001) says that Wealth is created by ?competition? and innovation plays a centre role in competition. And ?innovation? is a key which comprises collaboration among competitors.

Innovative companies collaborate externally though joint ventures, alliances or less structured forms of networking. Some innovative companies value internal and external competition, not being cut-throat competition with high secrecy or fierce, only to stimulate higher performance in competing projects where the losing teams are happy to support the winning team on their way forward. In such a company, with a positive competitive culture, to lose is not equal to losing face or missing out on the next potential promotion. In companies that believe in collaboration, people cannot help but to collaborate (Mayle 2006).This concept can be seen apprentin the Ripple Effect (IDEO 2009) project model from IDEO where different organizations collaborate to provide inspiration, deign and business support to entrepreneurs in development of new offering. I have attached a video below showing how companies are collaborating to provide clean drinking water for the poor

The Ripple Effect in India, by IDEO and Acumen Fund from IDEO on Vimeo.


Christiansen J. A., 2000 "Competitive Innovation Management: Techniques to Improve Innovation Performance", Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

IDEO 2009, "Ripple Effect: Access to safe drinking water for Acumen fund and The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation" [Online], Available:

Mayle D. 2006,

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