The world around us is constantly changing, partly due to rapid technological developments, social media and international affiliations. Challenges such as climate issues, growing debt problems or logistics bottlenecks, to name but a few, are increasingly becoming too large for a single party to handle alone.

Parties are increasingly adopting a collaborative approach to innovation – an approach which goes much further than just innovating together. A number of parties have already been very successful with this approach. You can read their stories in the publication ‘Innovating Beyond Boundaries’, which features 12 inspiring examples. We also answer questions such as, ‘When should you enter into a collaborative partnership?’, ‘What forms of collaboration exist?’, and ‘What are the preconditions for success?’.

For the launch of this publication, we spoke with Giulietta Marani (responsible for the ‘Innovating Beyond Boundaries’ way of working at Digicampus) and Danja von Salisch (innovation methods advisor). In this blog they explain what stood out the most while writing the publication.

Meeting place

Giulietta: “I believe that organizations can only innovate if they strive to exchange knowledge and talent beyond organizational boundaries, look for external inspiration and place people and society central. This is also necessary to tackle the major challenges of our time. These require collaborative innovation, a way of innovating which goes much further than simply innovating together.”

Medewerker van de DigicampusGiulietta continues: “Digicampus provides the business community, government, science and society with a meeting place to innovate together beyond the boundaries of their own organizations. We guide collaborative innovation – structural innovation or innovation based on social needs, that can’t be achieved individually. A number of parties already have considerable experience with collaborative innovation. Together with Danja von Salisch I examined twelve collaborative innovations and was truly inspired.

Danja: “I believe that we have a joint responsibility for tackling today’s social issues – whether this is in your role as a resident of the Netherlands, civil servant, social worker, researcher or entrepreneur. Identify how you can contribute to society and commit yourself to it. For our anniversary, we organized a webinar that provided a preview of the publication. From this, it emerged that it doesn’t matter who takes the initiative, as long as someone does and is willing to invest in the start-up phase.”

Medewerker voor de DigicampusDanja continues: “What we also learned is that every collaboration is unique and requires a great deal of customization and people work. Nevertheless, we are convinced there are general lessons that can be learned from these twelve collaborative innovations. We have identified a number of preconditions for success, such as investing in common ground, in formal and informal structures, in solidarity and honesty, and in independence. We have highlighted the most important learnings and conclude the publication with an Innovation Canvas (one pager) which incorporates all the tips and steps.”

Trust is key

Giulietta: “Developing trust is the key to strong collaborative innovation. This is clear from all twelve collaborations. Trust in each other as a person, their competencies and in the organization. Trust that everyone will support the collaboration through good times and bad, and that you won’t give up on each other. This will only work if the collective interest is truly felt and put first. Therefore, start from a social need or problem that everyone has an affinity with. Explore that need or problem with the people involved. Define the social value you want to achieve together. That is how you build trust.”

We hope you enjoy reading the publication and are open to hear what inspires you, what experiences and tips you have, and any questions you still want to see answered.