There is no “i” in “collaboration”…no, wait…


Here we go.  The incoming generation of business leaders is ready to put its label makers to work.  We had Generation Me a few decades ago, which led to Generation I Can Kick Your A$$ (dollar signs intended) in the late 1990s-early 2000s, and today, well, welcome to the generation that social networks made:  Generation Collaborative Innovation.  Ahem, working title.

Following a somewhat noticeable global financial implosion and the advent of technology that binds together the furthest corners of the globe, there is a refreshing emphasis being placed on great minds doing great work together.  Once this gains momentum, it will roll with the fury of a cannonball breaking through the ranks of the halting economy.

Consider this entry from TED, as captured by this CNN report:   “We’ve created something called the collective brain,” [author Matt] Ridley said. “We’re just the nodes, the neurons in the brain … As we go forward, we will of course experience terrible things. There will be wars, there will be natural disasters … but because of the connections people are making and the ability of ideas to meet and mate as never before, I’m also sure that living standards will advance … we are surely accelerating the rate of innovation.”

And this new marketing twist from Bain Capital Ventures, which claims the firm wants “to provide entrepreneurs with a suite of resources to help them with the burning issues that they have when starting a business, including among other things: vetting a product or service concept, raising capital, building the right team, finding the first customer, networking to other entrepreneurs, and working with the right partners.”

Here Bain makes a neat play to handhold entrepreneurs towards a new definition of success: differentiation amongst peers, yet alongside them as well.

I open the floor to dissenting opinions, but this does seem to be a backlash from the prevalent attitude of the past decade.  Success was built on cutthroat ambition, with the way paved by a Wall Street mentality that favored profits over ethics and Big Guys who were in business to exploit and trample the Davids of the world.

The phenomenon yields an epiphany of sorts on the marketing side, as it begins to give clearer shape to the evolution of of social networking for business.  Of course, a truly collaborative effort will likely be short lived, as competitive drive will not be stamped out by connectivity and a rosy outlook on global team spirit.   But the idea of a world united by common challenges and the technology to converse, plan, and celebrate together does bring a tear to the idea…a classic notion that is — as with most things — summed up best by Bill Pullman:


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