Collaboration, the Hybrid Vigour for Business.

Success invariably will be built best when the focus is on how does collaboration create greater value to each businesses customers.

Ian Hart

Manager Investment & Trade

Regional Development Victoria

2016 Graduate Rob Hunt Leadership Program

We often hear the buzzwords of partnerships, joint ventures and to collaborate and the benefits of each in the aspiration to achieve mutual success.

I was reflecting on the phenomenon in animal breeding operations where the term ‘hybrid vigour’ is a vital component in mating selection. The definition of hybrid vigour being ‘the improved or increased function of any biological quality in a hybrid offspring’. i.e. traits are enhanced as a result of mixing the genetic contributions of its parents.

Often this is described in cross-breeding of dogs, with the old adage that the Heinz 57 variety dog is more likely to have greater immunity to disease and genetic weaknesses as a result of the mix of different genetic make-up, rather than a narrow gene pool where any inherited weakness is perpetuated.

Similarly, in racehorses this approach is scientifically investigated to attempt to identify the right blood crosses to improve anticipated performance of speed and/or stamina. The bloodlines of champion race mares BLACK CAVIAR and WINX are now being studied to determine why and what genetic make-up components have created such superior athletic abilities over and above other racehorses.

So, if we take the hybrid vigour model into a business sense and think about the power that two (or more) different parties can provide in a partnership or collaborative effort, it is easy to identify that enhanced outcomes can be achieved for both (all) parties through this type of relationship.

But what makes it work?

Who are you looking for in the perfect marriage of collaborators and partners? Just like in our intimate and friendship relationships, there must be a strategic alignment and values alignment and a natural connection as the first steps.

Perhaps one of the most obvious partnerships is where educational institutions engage with and partner with an industry sector to enhance employability and skills to match an industry sector’s capability to deliver to its customers. This is the win/win aspiration and working together to formulate the prescription for the training needs that are offered.

The not for profit sector has long been clever in this space – mostly out of necessity to survive and stay relevant, but nonetheless there are countless examples of rewarding partnerships formed which have mutual benefits for the participating entities (and again their customers).

In our role at Regional Development Victoria we act as a facilitator for business, seeking to connect business with other partners or assistance services that can help each individual business achieve its goals and improve its chances of success.

That success invariably will be built best when the focus is on how does collaboration create greater value to each businesses customers.

Often RDV will assist in the development of a framework whereby a regional Council/Shire for example will work with a business to attract its operations to the area through identification of suitable land, connections of services, introduce and develop a network with other businesses that can form part of a supply chain, which in turn creates jobs and economic impact enhancing the entire community.

Recently a group of businesses located in a manufacturing hub have been working together with the support of state government infrastructure specialists to identify collective efficiencies that might be created in a unified approach to rising utility costs, transport and freight movements, logistics and procurement practices.

This is a work in progress but ultimately could ensure all the participating businesses will be more resilient, efficient, profitable and sustainable than what they might have been if they were working in isolation and importantly will meet their broad customer needs more effectively.

Be.Bendigo in its recent re-branding launch had a collaboration with a creative agency and a media agency partner who also received exposure to support their own businesses through the alliance. This is the power of working together and which goes to the very soul of Be. Bendigo.

Even soft drink manufacturer Schweppes has in recent years as part of its marketing branded the term ‘it’s the magic in the mix’. Schweppes capacity for mixing in cocktails is introduced with the mathematical equation, “1 + 1 = 3”. The campaign is implying that through mixing (1+1) an outcome even better than expected can magically happen.

Sometimes just asking the question of another organisation ‘how can we work together?’ Might be the start of an amazing new partnership that could be transformative and provide your own magic mix of hybrid vigour for each businesses future success.