The key to successful collaboration – pizza and texting
What makes a successful collaboration? Tom Hall, head of partnership at Pearson, spoke at Digital Shoreditch today about the key factors which make a partnership a success.
The list was determinded as part of Connecting the Dots, a project born after Pearson’s experience with the new Plug and Play platform where users are able to play with content and put their own touch to the company’s products.
According to Hall, the operation was not “brain science”. Respect is extremely important, and people need to enter a deal with “a sense of admiration for the person you’re going to spend your time with”. Communication is also key, and a good collaboration should be like a good marriage. As long as you’re still talking to each other at the end of the day, you’re doing quite well.
A factor that can tell a lot about the state of a partnership is a meal out with your new co-worker. “If you can’t sit down and have a meal with someone you’re working with, it’s not a good sign,” said Hall.
Pearson also push the idea of “opening the gates and letting people in”. Hall admits that users may say things you may not agree with, but they have the power to translate a message in an innovative and fresh manner. But crowdsourcing also means having to deal with copyright matters, and Hall recommends a creative commons license or a refunds system to give users something in return.
But what about new, small companies? Hall found that the size of the company doesn’t matter, and that partnerships between large business and start-ups are just as successful as two established brands working together. Starting a partnership is a laborious process however, and “you need to have a solid network,” Hall recommended. He told Digital Shoreditch Daily that going into a partnership “is just about talent spotting; looking around for companies you’d like to do something with, approaching them, and explaining why.”
To start a successful collaboration, you need to have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. “Is the end goal common? If it’s not, then maybe you should think about doing something different,” added Hall.
The key ingredients of a fruitful partnership:
- Talking is a good thing – pick up your phone, turn Skype on, and reply to texts
- Being open does not mean letting your guard down
- Technology is an enabler
- Pizza and a beer
- Size doesn’t matter
- Let the crowd in