In business, how do you know that what you’re doing is the right thing, the best way, and the most effective solution if you aren’t collaborating with others?

“Collaboration” isn’t the new buzzword of 2024. It’s not a new concept everyone is building into business plans. And most importantly, it’s not a word or concept we should ignore.

In fact, people have been collaborating in business for years, working on some of the most significant projects and innovations industry has seen.

For example, Apple and Nike have had a strategic partnership since 2006, initially to bring music from Apple (and iPods) to Nike customers’ workouts. Now, Apple offers the Nike Sport Loop watch band for Apple Watches on its website, along with Nike Run Club and a fitness app for the Apple Watch and iPhone.

We’ve also seen the innovative collaboration between BMW and Louis Vuitton, partnering to create exclusive suitcases and bags for the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid. This collaboration showed the world that together, they dominate in creativity, innovation, technology, and style. This particular collaboration positioned both brands very well within their target market and expanded their reach to each other’s customer bases.

This is why collaboration matters and becomes a powerful tool for businesses, as you bring together different groups, teams, and individuals with diverse skill sets to work together to achieve (successfully) a common goal.

Effective Collaboration offers you access to diverse skills and a range of resources

Joining forces with others means you have access to pooled resources, which can create numerous efficiencies and cost savings.

This enables organisations to venture beyond their specific niches, unlocking new opportunities and avenues for growth.  

At Maple Consulting, collaboration is a huge aspect of our ethos as we build mutually beneficial working relationships with customers, partners, and suppliers, utilising a network of trusted, reliable associates and selected experts to bring together the best team.

Maple Consulting is a founding member of ITEN (International Transport Experts Network), a community formed to offer clients a wider range of specialisms than could be offered by any one individual and provide greater capacity for delivering larger projects.

Reduces Risk

Sharing responsibilities and working with others with expertise in areas you may not have helps reduce risk across all aspects of the project.

Challenges and roadblocks happen on projects, and having others you can collaborate with can provide alternative solutions to problem-solving. This can help keep projects on track and reduce the risk of falling behind or going down the wrong route.

In addition, as you increase your team’s capacity, you can be confident that you have support and a backup if team members fall sick or, dare we say, take holidays!

By collaborating with other organisations, you can avoid disrupting service delivery and ensure projects remain on track.

Offers an opportunity to provide new services

As people and businesses come together, you can benefit from invaluable insight to support idea generation, future opportunities, and innovative solutions. You’re also introduced to potential new customer bases and distribution channels as routes for market expansion increase.

Identifying your strengths and where additional expertise could be brought in allows you to enhance the service offer further and drive efficiencies as you draw from a broader knowledge base.

For example, we partner with key businesses, such as West9 Design, HellomyPA, and Arkay Digital, to provide various projects and initiatives covering branding, website, and dissemination services. Using the areas of expertise collectively to deliver a complete service package for clients.

Offers a different perspective

Sometimes, a fresh perspective is needed in any project or piece of work—and this can’t always be achieved with ingrained assumptions and “we’ve always done it like this” attitudes.

Collaboration positively challenges this mentality. It brings organisations from diverse backgrounds together, bringing valuable insights, perspectives, experiences, and a different approach to methodologies.

This provides the opportunity to generate novel solutions and breakthrough innovations that go beyond what is achievable when working alone, allowing you to make better, more informed decisions that keep the end user at the heart of the project.

Builds long-lasting, strong relationships

Successful partnerships and strong collaborations are built on trust and mutual respect. Transparency, regular communication, and honesty are key for a successful collaboration team to come together. It’s what will help to build long-lasting partnerships, using each other’s strengths to benefit the project.

However, we know you must get the team structure right, work with the right tools, and have the right systems in place to facilitate collaboration across all areas, spotting issues before they cause delays in order to continue to meet critical milestones.

But the question is…how?

How can you reap these benefits and ensure successful collaboration?

Work with individuals and businesses you know; for example, the ITEN team of consultants has worked together for many years, pooling expertise and knowledge for specific projects requiring niche expertise.

However, we understand that some projects will be formed when not all partners know each other from the outset. In such cases, holding “get to know you” sessions to develop and build personal and professional relationships is extremely useful.

For example, Deltares, who leads the ICARUS project (alongside Maple Consulting, RDS, Tecnalia, and Ramboll), is an expert at bringing teams together and holding project meetings and client workshops that employ a variety of innovative icebreakers.

Not to give too many of their secrets away, but one of these icebreaker sessions involved “snowball fights” using scrunched-up paper balls on which everyone had written an interesting fact that people may not know about them. When the ‘fight’ is over, each person ends up with a snowball, and they must guess who the fact relates to*.

These sessions aim to get to know the real people rather than the organisations, build trust, and fuel growth and understanding.

Collaboration for Collective Success

In a world where challenges are increasingly complex and interconnected, collaboration is more important than ever to unlock innovation, mitigate risks, and expand business opportunities.

To find out more about ITEN’s collaborative projects, visit iten.global.

* For anyone curious, an interesting fact is that I once played rugby on the northernmost ground in the UK, on the island of Unst in the Shetland Isles.

Meet the Maple team here

See examples of our work here

Recent News

When is a road not a road

Roads have been in existence for the duration of human history, originating from animal tracks, through stone roads, smooth roads surfaced with...