Innovation partners: The key to driving change

I would encourage you to find your Ikabo - find your futurist.

These were the final words from Kathy Grgic, Academic Registrar at Griffith University. Kathy is sharing advice drawn from taking her 250-strong team on a ‘journey of cultural transformation’ to co-create exceptional student experiences together.

Kathy talks about the insights she has discovered and actioned through Griffith University’s partnership with Ikabo – from upskilling her team to be more innovative in the digital environment, to using our crowdsourcing idea platform ‘to capture people’s ideas in a way that will take the business forward’. However, it is her reasons why she believes organisations need an outside partner that we will talk about in more detail here.  

What does an outside perspective bring and how does that help organisations drive change from within? And how do you succeed, especially in today’s technologically disruptive environment?

Collaboration with outside partners can take many forms, but regardless of the nature of the relationship, there are three main advantages to inviting an outside partner to work with your organisation:

  1. Innovation is a team sport - the more people you have around you that are cognitively diverse and bring expertise from an adjacent industry or functional area, the more insights you can gather. Collaboration enables new ideas to be shared and better solutions to be developed - and faster too. It’s also worth noting that a partner also brings their network of people and organisations, making collaboration even more productive.
  2. A partner is able to bring perspective and expertise that you might be missing. It’s very difficult to remain truly objective of where you are, what real challenges you are facing and where you need to head. As Lawrence Mitchell articulated in his 15 year journey transforming Reed Business Information (RBI), it’s ‘difficult to see your own blind spots. Independent advisors challenge your thinking, validate your ideas and help you move forward with confidence’. Lawrence surrounded himself with a variety of partners including technology partners who collectively made a huge difference to RBI’s success.

  3. As Kathy described, a partner can also ‘bring the future closer’. Often organisations that are advising have typically been consulting in sectors that were disrupted earlier and therefore have a swag of case studies and learnings (and war stories) they can share with you, so you can skip and leap ahead. This is particularly important in the area of digital technology as it’s moving so fast.

Make sure your partner activities stem from your business or innovation strategy, this can bring focus and direction, and ensure that outputs can drive action.  

It’s important that organisations reassess their competitive nature, and look at common problems or mutual opportunities where they might cooperate and collaborate with their competitors. For example ‘fintech’ hubs attract corporate investment from a number of competing banks and financial institutes. Organisations also need to look objectively at their own strengths and weaknesses in order to determine the types of outside partners that will bring value.

Collaboration has always and will always be essential for innovation. Today, organisations have amazing opportunities, because technological advancements are shredding traditional barriers to solve complex problems in established industries. You need only look at the fields of Internet of Things, Cloud computing, AI/AR and analytical tools to see this in action.

Seize the day – start looking for ways to partner with different organisations from start-ups to vendors to enable your vision, ensuring you deliver on your goals and genuinely exchange the ideas and resources to achieve them. 


Inspired to find out how partnering with Ikabo could help your organisation?