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Millennials, Entrepreneurs, and the Push and Pull of the Crowd—an Interview with Lorin Coles (Part Two)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, January 22, 2018
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018

During a recent interview for the Q4 2017 Strategic Alliance Magazine, I spoke with Lorin Coles, CSAP, CEO and managing director of Alliancesphere, an alliance management and collaboration consulting business, on the topics of innovation, out-of-the-box thinking, and creativity in business partnering (see “Giving Birth to Innovation: The Brainchild of Out-of-the-Box Thinking”). Coles had many insightful and inspiring ideas on the topic, and due to limited space, some of these ideas didn’t make it into the magazine.

Following is Part Two of our two-part blog post based on additional materials from the interview with Coles. We pick up the story of The Coca-Cola Company, which as looking to build joint, adjacent business models and innovation practices, and how Coles and the American Israeli Chamber of Commerce began working with Coke’s chief innovation officer across the brands to on a trip to Israel.

Coles: Israel is sometimes called “the start-up nation.” Tel Aviv feels like a combination of New York, Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley. People there have this belief that anything is possible, and it’s very contagious. They are not trying to do incremental innovation. They are trying to do breakthroughs. We put together meetings there with universities, venture capitalists, governments, entrepreneurs, and the incubator system. So everyone was well prepared with the kinds of things Coca-Cola was looking for to innovate. Coca-Cola already had a strong bottler in Israel but did not have a company-to-country innovation model. All kinds of deals and R&D came out of that. On the tech side, Weizmann Institute, Tel Aviv University, and the Volcani Institute ended up signing big agreements. Coca-Cola ended up creating a partnership with venture capital firms on the supply chain side. They created BRIDGE, and started looking at Israel from the tech, Internet, retail, and consumer side. It went from ingredients, supply chain, and water to information technology. That model has now been replicated around the world, including in China—both BRIDGE and an innovation hub were created. For me, all this falls under the umbrella of collaborative innovation, which involves collaborating and innovating differently by setting up hubs where certain parts of the world have capabilities.

The Crowd Factor
From the 1980s until now, I can track every big wave from a tech innovation standpoint. Over the past 40 years, the one thing I found was that every time disruptive tech occurred—you have the disruptor versus who is being affected—the leaders resist the change. They try their best, but in the end, the market wins. The customer is pulling it because:

  1. The experience is better.
  2. A network of ecosystem applications is built and driven around the change (the PC revolution and client server system drove it for many years, then mobile tech).
  3. Open systems, standards, and the market pull it (consider Über, it’s simpler and better than getting a taxi, it’s ubiquitous).

Read Part One of this blog for more insights from Lorin Coles, CSAP, and see ASAP Media’s in-depth interviews with Coles and other out-of-the-box thinkers in the Q4 2017 issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine.

Tags:  alliances  Alliancesphere  BRIDGE  collaboration  critical partnering  ecosystems  Entrepreneurial Innovation  Gen X  incubator system  innovation hub  lifecycle  Lorin Coles  Millennials  Strategic Alliance Magazine  supply chain 

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Millennials, Entrepreneurs, and the Push and Pull of the Crowd—an Interview with Lorin Coles (Part One)

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Friday, January 19, 2018

During a recent interview for the Q4 2017 Strategic Alliance Magazine, I spoke with Lorin Coles, CSAP, CEO and managing director of Alliancesphere, an alliance management and collaboration consulting business, on the topics of innovation, out-of-the-box thinking, and creativity in business partnering (see “Giving Birth to Innovation: The Brainchild of Out-of-the-Box Thinking Magazine”). Coles had many insightful and inspiring ideas on the topic, and due to limited space, some of these ideas didn’t make it into the magazine. Following is Part One of a two-part blog post based on additional materials from the interview.

The Cusp of Change
Coles: Today, it’s the most exciting time I’ve ever seen. Building the solutions and go-to-market has evolved because there are so many different routes to market to create that customer experience. So much has to do with digital technology—a lot of it is the leading edge. Also, crossing from the innovators to early adopters—we definitely have worked in many companies along that lifecycle. The market is at the point where they know how critical partnering, collaboration, and ecosystems are. Companies are all trying to figure out how to partner with tech companies in cross-industry partnering with three, four, five multiple companies at once to create a partnership.

The Influence of Gen X
The depth and breadth of partnering is so different, and I think we’re going to see a big change in the market: Clearly, the workplace is changing with millennials. They are moving up in the management structure, changing the makeup, and understand tech and partnering. People in their 40’s are now becoming leaders of companies. That group understands more intuitively. Another factor has to do with operating in a global landscape, where some cultures are more inherently collaborative. Also, the role of women in leadership—they are more open to collaboration. Finally, the Cloud—because of mobility and the Cloud and what is possible, tech is not sitting in the basement anymore. Uber, airbnb, artificial intelligence—all of these next-generation ideas are absolutely going to create business opportunities and a better world. 

Entrepreneurial Innovation
In 1999, I got involved with an organization in Atlanta—The American Israeli Chamber of Commerce. The Coca-Cola Company was looking to build joint, adjacent business models and innovation practices. We started working with the chief innovation officer across the brands, and we put together a trip to Israel. There were three core things Coca-Cola was trying to innovate around:

  • brands or products
  • capabilities: anything up and down that valley chain, such as technology, processes, ingredients, or science
  • packaging: an important part of fast-moving consumer goods companies

Before we went, we looked at four areas of innovation: Water, energy, ingredients, and the supply chain. I went to Coca-Cola before heading to Israel and gathered the problems and consumer and business challenges in those four areas.

Learn more about the story of Coca-Cola, Israel, and innovation in Part Two of this blog sharing more of ASAP Media’s conversation on out-of-the-box thinking with Lorin Coles, CSAP, CEO of Alliancesphere. 

Tags:  alliances  Alliancesphere  collaboration  critical partnering  ecosystems  Entrepreneurial Innovation  Gen X  lifecycle  Lorin Coles  Millennials  Strategic Alliance Magazine  supply chain 

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