One area I often discuss when teaching the CIM Chartered Postgraduate Diploma, especially the Emerging Themes unit, is collaboration between competing organisations to develop products. The reason for doing this is to save costs on areas where differentiation is not important and no advantage will be gained by any party involved but cost saving can be made. A great example of this has recently been announced by Ford, Renault-Nissan and Daimler who have agreed a joint development of fuel cells in the hopes of bringing cars to market using the technology by 2017.
The announcement shows the benefits of working together for breakthrough technologies such as fuel cells which have the potential to change the cars we drive in a major way. If one manufacturer were to do this on their own it would take longer, the costs would be higher or at least not shared, and there would be lower numbers of cars sold using the technology. This final point is very important in this situation as a fuel cell vehicle will require an infrastructure of filling stations to enable it to be used in what we might regard as a normal way. If there are cars made and sold by these three large organisations all needing that infrastructure there is more reward for investing in it, making it much more likely to happen.
The Emerging Theme is more likely to emerge through the critical mass the joint development can bring about, demonstrating clearly the benefits of that collaboration.