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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Alex Slater

Ideas take flight when we work together


Capgemini is a Business Reporter client.

Collaboration has always had a part to play in innovation, but in today’s ecosystem-based tech economy it is more crucial than ever

Business Reporter: Capgemini

When the Wright brothers sought a motor for their experimental glider, the Wright Flyer, in 1903, off-the-shelf engines of the day proved too feeble to power it. So they turned to Charlie Taylor, the talented mechanic who helped out in their bike shop. It was his innovative 12hp motor – allied to the Wrights’ genius and perseverance – that helped give birth to today’s US$712 billion aerospace industry.

True innovation is rarely a solitary enterprise – even if the idea is individual, the execution is almost always the product of collaboration between partners with different skills and expertise to offer. In our world of growing technological complexity, the need to combine knowledge and talent is greater than ever. So is the potential for progress.

The explosive growth in digital technologies is reordering our economies into ecosystems, where private and public-sector entities work together and teamwork on technological development is critical to success.

The evolution of artificial intelligence and cloud applications is so fast and diverse that it is becoming increasingly difficult for any one organisation or business to control a market or field. Whether it is through open-source software development, formal joint ventures or knowledge-sharing initiatives, organisations recognise that to remain competitive they must be open to sharing data and finding new ways to work together.

Thinking big

Some of the greatest challenges we face as society demand innovation that is best achieved through collaboration. The drive towards sustainability, for example, involves changes on many fronts that cut across long-established industrial and organisational boundaries.

In the automotive sector, incumbents are facing very high transition costs in the shift to electric mobility. The need for rapid and agile technological development, uncertainty around government policies on emissions and questions over the rollout of new charging infrastructure add to these costs. To contain expenses, automakers are working with software and data companies, and a number of industry leaders are collaborating on open-source architecture for EVs.

In the broader energy transition, the worlds of technology, energy supply and public policy intersect – and sometimes collide. Wind and solar power require upfront capital commitments and stable, long-term government sustainability policies to attract investment. To integrate a greater volume of renewable energy into the grid, utilities need to collaborate with big tech companies on improving the stability, availability and reliability of intermittent electricity generation. Thanks to the rapid development of predictive models for renewable energy production, shared data and artificial intelligence applications, the greening of our energy mix is making rapid progress.

Healthcare is another sector where providers face a fragmented landscape and collaboration is key. The business of healthcare has already undergone a fundamental shift from a provider-led model to a user-driven one. Still, healthcare technology, financing, logistics and data management create complex relationships between private, public and hybrid organisations. Collaboration on data and best practice can lead to smoother delivery of healthcare and improved health outcomes.

Fruitful partnerships

Collaboration is not easy, however. New skills are required and many joint ventures have failed to thrive. There is often a need for neutral intermediaries to play the role of honest broker. And that’s where companies such as Capgemini come in. We can connect people, technology and networks. We already communicate across industry boundaries, and we have teams that combine essential creative, digital and interpersonal skills. We can offer advice, but also capability, and have experts in every aspect of a successful business.

Collaboration is critical to solving today’s problems and, importantly, it also creates opportunities. Let’s make breakthroughs together.

At Capgemini Invent, we help our clients to embrace innovation and transformation to get the future they want.

By combining strategy, technology, data science and creative design expertise with an inventive mindset, we partner with our clients to innovate and transform their business, helping them navigate today while plotting a course for the future.

Click here to find out more.

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