Ranjay Gulati – Collaborations are no longer a choice

I think companies are reluctant about collaboration for the right reasons. If you look at on average, the success rate of collaboration is pretty low. So you can see that depending on which study you cite, the failure rate of collaborations ranges from anywhere from 50% to 70%.

So at one level, you can easily say that you know what, collaborations are doomed. The risks are too high. I shouldn’t do it. I think what people have to learn that the collaborations are no longer a choice. They are an imperative.

And at the same time, while the average failure rate is pretty dismal, there are some companies that really know how to bat better than average. There are some companies. So you shouldn’t look at the average failure rate and say, oh my god, that’s going to me. No, you have to say I am not going to be the average guy. I’m going to be better than average.

And so this becomes a huge issue. And I think – but they are skeptical for the right reason but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do it. I think they need to realize that they have to invest in collaborative capabilities. And those are distinct capabilities that you need to work on in an explicit deliberate manner.

Interview conducted by Frédéric Gilbert.

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