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Collaborative innovation throughout the extended enterprise

Lawrence Owen (Global Leader of the Organization and Change Strategy practice within IBM Global Business Services (
Charles Goldwasser (Americas Leader of the Organization and Change Strategy practice (
Kristi Choate (Senior Managing Consultant in its Organization and Change Strategy practice ( com).)
Amy Blitz (Strategy and Change Leader for the IBM Institute for Business Value (

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 4 January 2008



To innovate, many high performing firms are collaborating beyond their organizations – with their extended networks of suppliers, customers, business partners and others. Such collaboration, however, is not easily accomplished. IBM Consulting offers a framework for managing these alliances – its ABCs of collaborative innovation – that can improve the chances of success. This paper aims to explore this framework.


IBM Consulting has recently completed a major study of innovation success and problems as perceived by top management. For example, they found that the strongest collaborators in a recent IBM study were also the strongest financial performers. This paper studies these firm's success factors.


To paper finds that to avoid the pitfalls of collaborative innovation, IBM Consulting's research and experience has determined that the key guiding principles are: alignment, boundaries and commitment, which they call the ABCs.

Practical implications

Alignment entails synchronizing the strategic vision and innovation goals with the implementation of these throughout the organization, focusing on collaboration both vertically and horizontally. Managing boundaries enables collaboration across organizations, establishing structures and processes regarding governance, operations and technology. Finally, an ongoing commitment is required to orchestrate and systematize collaboration for innovation throughout the organization and its extended enterprise over time.


The paper offers a useful top‐level review of the success factors for collaborative innovation.



Owen, L., Goldwasser, C., Choate, K. and Blitz, A. (2008), "Collaborative innovation throughout the extended enterprise", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 39-45.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited