Looking at some of the greatest collaborative partnerships in recent history can help us improve the way we collaborate.
Collaboration is defined as “the act of working with someone to produce something”. Some people have taken that definition a step further and worked together to produce something that was fundamentally game changing in their arena. Each of these collaborative partnerships can teach us something about the way we collaborate with our colleagues, and perhaps get us to rethink what collaboration really means,
Jimmy Choo and Tamara Mellon
Jimmy Choo shoes are beloved and coveted the world over. But the brand, the high-priestess of high-fashion footwear, would not exist had Jimmy Choo and Tamara Mellon not collaborated together so well. Choo was already starting to make a splash in the world of high-fashion winning patronage from Diana, Princess of Wales in 1990 when Mellon, who at the time was accessories editor at British Vogue, convinced him to co-found Jimmy Choo Ltd in 1996. Thanks to Choo’s talent and Mellon’s business acumen by 2001 the company had over 100 wholesale clients and by 2004 Jimmy Choo Ltd was valued at over £100 million.
What can we learn? Collaboration often brings together different talents to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
David Bowie and Freddie Mercury
In 1981 the Thin White Duke and Queen, fronted by the enigmatic Freddie Mercury, collaborated together on ‘Under Pressure’, widely and critically regarded as one of the greatest songs of the era if not of all time. The creation of the song has gone down in legend due to the almost accidental nature of its production, arising (apparently) from a jam session Bowie had with Queen at their studio in Switzerland.
What can we learn? Sometimes collaboration produces the most unexpected, and fantastic, results.
Richard and Maurice
In the late 1920’s two brothers moved to Southern California and, with dreams of making their millions, opened a hot dog stand and a BBQ restaurant. By 1954 the brothers had transformed their business into a fast food chain, sold 21 franchises and attracted the attention of business man Ray Croc, who purchased the business for over $2 million – fulfilling the brothers’ dreams. .
The brothers’ surname? McDonald.
Today McDonalds has restaurants in over 118 countries, serves over 68 million people per day and employees over 1.7 million people with a turnover of over 25 billion.
What can we learn? Sometimes, determined people, working together, can achieve the impossible.
Gary Lineker and Peter Beardsley
From the mid 1980’s through to the early 90’s football, well England at least, was enjoying the partnership of Peter Beardsley and Gary Lineker. This strike partnership married Beardsley’s creative genius with Lineker’s poaching and finishing abilities – resulting in 50 goals for the pair and Lineker finishing his career only one goal behind Bobby Charlton’s, then record, tally. The key to this partnership was in how well the two strikers worked selflessly together, Beardsely providing the set-up Lineker needed to take the team to glory.
What can we learn? Every great team is based on collaborative partnerships working together for the greater good.
Spotify and Uber
Spotify and Uber, two of the coolest names in cutting edge start-ups, popular among the hip and bearded while also being mainstream enough that your parents-in-law use them. Back in 2014 the two companies announced that they were going into partnership and collaborating in a way that would boost both of their brands. The partnership meant that those who had ordered an Uber could connect their Spotify account from the Uber profile screen, then select songs from any of their Spotify playlists while waiting for their Uber to arrive. Then, when their ride pops up, they simply jump in the car, put their phone away and their chosen playlist begins.
What can we learn? No matter how far in front or ahead of the curve you are, collaborating with others can always give you ideas.
Each one of these examples of game changing collaboration combined the different strengths of all parties involved to produce something greater than the sum of their parts and work together for a greater good. So, perhaps the biggest lesson to be learnt from these examples is that through collaboration we can all find our own strengths and contribute something more than we ever thought we could to whatever project it is we are working on.
- Bringing together different talents enables us to create something more than we could on our own.
- Sometimes the results of collaboration are even better than hoped.
- Sometimes collaboration let’s us overcome things we never thought we would be able to.
- Never lose sight of the fact that collaboration is about working together for the greater good.
- No matter how good we think we are, we can always learn from others.