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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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