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The Reciprocity Advantage

A New Way to Partner for Innovation and Growth

By Bob Johansen and Karl Ronn
13-minute read
The Reciprocity Advantage: A New Way to Partner for Innovation and Growth  by Bob Johansen and Karl Ronn

Big changes are coming to the way we live and do business. The Reciprocity Advantage describes the global trends that will disrupt current business partnership models, and explains how you can build advantageous collaborations that’ll stand the test of time. These blinks will equip you with the knowledge you need to succeed in the business world of the future.

  • Entrepreneurs looking for new ways to grow their business
  • Anyone interested in how global trends will change the way companies operate

Bob Johansen is a fellow of the Institute for the Future, helping top leaders from all over the world not just prepare for, but also shape the future.

Karl Ronn has a background as vice president of research and development at P&G. Today he is managing director of Portfolio Partners, Palo Alto, and helps Fortune 500 companies create new business.

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The Reciprocity Advantage

A New Way to Partner for Innovation and Growth

By Bob Johansen and Karl Ronn
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
The Reciprocity Advantage: A New Way to Partner for Innovation and Growth  by Bob Johansen and Karl Ronn
Synopsis

Big changes are coming to the way we live and do business. The Reciprocity Advantage describes the global trends that will disrupt current business partnership models, and explains how you can build advantageous collaborations that’ll stand the test of time. These blinks will equip you with the knowledge you need to succeed in the business world of the future.

Key idea 1 of 8

Locating unutilized assets and partnering in new ways are key to creating a reciprocity advantage.

Have you got a basement full of junk that you scarcely touch? Many companies have a figurative basement full of assets that go unused. But just because something isn’t used, doesn’t mean it’s useless! The stuff in the figurative basement, or unutilized assets, may hold great possibilities for creating new, mutually beneficial partnerships.

IBM is an outstanding example of this. As personal computers shrank in size in the mid1980s, IBM struggled to keep its bigger computers relevant in the market. To address this challenge, the company looked at what else it could offer, and realized that over the years it had built up a lot of in-house competence in managing and analyzing data: an underutilized asset. So instead of falling behind the times, IBM used this know-how as a base for new products and services, helping companies manage and analyze large data sets.

Today, IBM partners with governments, agencies and companies to create solutions that their clients wouldn’t be able to come up with otherwise, such as redistributing traffic flow for improved travel within the city of Istanbul.

And their service-oriented approach is highly profitable. In 2000, IBM’s profits from software were $2.6 billion, with $3.3 billion in hardware. But by 2012, their software profits had soared to $10.8 billion, while hardware showed very little growth. What if IBM had never thought of turning to services?

Learn from IBM: sometimes admitting defeat in one area can lead to a new, more productive path in your business. In this way, even enemies can become good partners. Take Microsoft’s Kinect, a gaming platform that used sensors to track body movement. Shortly after its launch in 2010, the platform was hacked. Microsoft fought back at first but after realizing it was futile, the company decided to partner with the hackers and open up the platform for anyone to modify.

The technology, initially meant only for gaming, has now spawned a wide range of applications, and the software development kit for Kinect has been downloaded millions of times all over the world. Microsoft could not have gained such a wide reach without its hacker partners.

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