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August 15th, 2017

Collaboration and Partnerships Provide Key to Successful Innovation

Do the words, “Team, Partner, Collaborate” resonate with you?

There is no reason to go at it alone. Collaborative relationships are the key to a successful product development project. No matter your area of expertise or how well rounded your knowledge and skills, chances are you’ll need help from others who specialize in strategic areas where your knowledge and experience are limited. Use their expertise to fill those voids and realize heightened success.

To many this is common practice. To others, it is a lesson learned at some point during their career, sometimes the hard way. If you embrace this simple idea, chances are you will significantly increase your odds for success. While working for years with an array of talented professionals on diverse projects, the unique knowledge of each contributor becomes clear. These partnerships, whether with an internal team or an external specialty resource such as a design / engineering or innovation firm, can grow from one success into many. Bring your product idea to reality by surrounding yourself with experts who strive to accomplish corresponding goals. Over time you will grow a strong and diverse network of individuals that will allow you to leverage their vast and diverse knowledge and resources to build one successful project after another. Hall of Fame coaching icon, Vince Lombardi, once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

On your journey to achieve a successful final product, remember to treat others with respect and dignity. It’s critical to building positive relationships. Always strive to understand your peers’ points of view and embrace together the challenges that go into the development process. Communicate clearly and put everything on the table. This arms all team members with the latest and greatest information, enabling them to achieve excellence. Bill Bradley, a politician and former professional basketball player, said, “Respect your fellow human beings, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it. No destructive lies. No ridiculous fears. No debilitating anger.” Smart guy, that Bill.

In today’s world, there’s lots of tough competition. No matter how simple or complex your product, big or small, the process to take it from a napkin sketch to manufacturing and ultimately put it into the hands of customers is always a unique experience. Not only will you need to figure out how to set your product apart from all the others, you’ll need to tailor it to the customer you’re targeting. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Accomplishing other aspects of the process may require partnering with experts in any number of fields. Marketing, engineering, branding, industrial design, graphic design, packaging, sales, merchandising, human factors, quality control, research, ergonomics, and so on.

Take advantage of the expertise and viewpoints of others to drive your product to the pinnacle of success. Partner with them in a positive, collaborative way and you’ll create a win-win for everyone involved.

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