Dating back to the beginning of the last century some of the world’s leading brands have used cross-pollination and collaboration, this has been part of their innovation, creating and developing products and services that have driven their brands forward.
Cross-pollination is the discovery of a new idea, and solutions to challenges from an unlikely source.
The late Steve Jobs, the cofounder and CEO of Apple said in an interview in 1994 : the key to creativity is to expose yourself “to the best things that humans have done and then to bring those things into what you are doing.” he went on to say that what made the original Macintosh computer great is that the people working on it were “musicians, and poets, and artists, and zoologists, and historians, who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.” Apple took inspiration from their knowledge of these diverse fields to create something that was completely novel.
Ford, or rather the engineers of the Ford motor company that did the majority of the design at the manufacturing plant in Detroit, looked to the slaughterhouse practices in Chicago at the end of the 19th century for inspiration. Ford’s design team had the wisdom to keep their minds open to finding idea’s and solutions in unlikely places. The teams open-mindedness led to revolutionary changes that have impacted the lives of everyone on the plant.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was so frustrated by paying a $40 late fee to a traditional video rental provide, that he took inspiration from the post service.
Silicon Valley innovation is robust because of the extensive cross-pollination of ideas between individuals and companies.
History has witnessed numerous occasions in which collaborative projects have resulted in memorable success stories, often between seemingly unlikely or differing parties.
Philips and Nivea for men, to create a shaver that dispenses conditioner directly onto the skin to make the daily shaving routine easier.
Philips collaborated with InBev, to create a home beer tap, to offer a bar-style beer at home.
H&M, a retailer that of affordable, street-style clothing, brought luxury to the masses via its collaboration with luxury brands Balmain/Alexander Wang/Versace/ Margiela.
adidas, another brand known for its collaborations: Missy Elliot, Stella McCartney, Raf Simons, Kanye West, Pharrell to name but a few
The growing popularity of wearable technology in fashion is proof of the effective
of two incompatible fields working together.
Another brand known for its collaborations is Uniqlo, their collaboration with Keith Haring whose heavily political and graphic works defined the New York of the 80s. It was such a huge success that it was said at one point you could not walk through downtown Tokyo without seeing at least 1 person with a Keith Haring print on them.
Education: the collaboration between Harvard and MIT created EDX bringing education to the masses for free.
The gaming industry has been of increasing positive influence on the training provided to surgeons and other medical professionals in the Netherlands. More and more video games or mobile applications are specially designed to help doctors in training to sharpen their skills, make faster decisions or improve communication.
Lego and NASA.
Lego System for Learning is teaching children the basic principles of collaboration through play.
A System of learning: Their approach to learning is founded on a “4C” framework through which students are free to experiment and explore as they gain new knowledge. Students are encouraged to collaborate as they work through open-ended tasks and extension ideas, facilitated and guided at all times by you, their teacher.
A System for Learning: The four phases are:
Connect: the topic or task is introduced, allowing students to ask clarifying questions and build on their existing knowledge.
Construct: every task includes a building activity to promote experimentation with collaboration and construct artefacts that can be recalled later.
Contemplate: students consider what has been learned and share insights with each other.
Continue: every task ends with a new task that builds on what has just been learned, keeping students motivated and curious.
If the next generation is learning to collaborate through play, they will bring these skills with them to the work place.
Quite a surprise that the very industry you would expect collaboration and cross-pollination, is the very one that seem so adverse.
Is it time for the creative industry to embrace cross-pollination and collaboration before they become an irrelevance in todays market?