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The rise of globalization has led to increased connectivity among organizations; which could be highly viable in enhancing global collaboration in the invention of new products. Communication channels have improved greatly such that people can easily share ideas over the internet and eventually come up with innovative products. Furthermore, organizations can coordinate resources in order to benefit from each other through collaboration in investment. Accordingly, a new strategy labeled global collaboration has emerged and has proved quite effective in producing inventing products. Besides organizational collaboration it is also notable that consumers play an imperative role in global innovation through what has been referred to as 'prosumption'. Their reviews and suggestions aid companies in coming up with better innovations. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and as companies seek to reduce costs while coming up with innovative products, the notion of collaboration is highly imperative.
The importance of global collaboration in inventing goods is gaining popularity, with organizations increasingly involving themselves in joint innovation endeavors. In what has been referred to as wikinomics, companies can work together towards a common course in order to improve profitability for their businesses (Fenn, 2009). Scientists, software companies, manufacturing companies and automobile manufacturers among industries have utilized mass collaboration to encourage innovation. According to Tapscott and Williams (2007), collaboration cannot be considered a new aspect, given that men are depicted as social animals. The depth and breadth of collaboration has however changed leading to the manner in which people interact (Olson, 2009). Tools available in the modern world empower people in such a way that they can take part in the global economy in a way that would not have occurred several decades ago.
Globalization has transformed the world and is indeed the force behind effective global collaboration (Min et al, 2005). Globalization has united the world into one global village where geographical distance has been deemed almost inexistent as communication channels become increasingly sophisticated (Marcum, 2006). The internet allows people around the world to access and share information that is highly useful in business development today. Accordingly, the concept of global collaboration can be considered an achievable undertaking due to the ease in which information is transferred. According to Tapscott and Williams (2007), companies from allover the world can easily work together to come up with innovative products through sharing ideas and resources; which are easily transferable from one organization to another due to the positive impact of globalization. This means that global collaboration is bound to improve as organizations seek to gain the benefits.
The notion of a global plant floor is an aspect of global collaboration that encourages companies to involve entities and people across the globe in the production process (Tapscott and Williams, 2007). Firms are benefiting by forming trust relations with external collaborations. This way, vibrant business ecosystems are likely to be formed thus creating value to the businesses involved (Schneider, 2006). In order to improve continuity, companies must continually open themselves to contributions from other avenues outside their boundaries. Peering which refers to the collaboration of similar companies is therefore being encouraged so as to help companies in developing innovative products. Peering denotes situations where volunteer companies organize themselves to produce goods and services in what is known as peer production (Lauer, 2008). In such a case, the experienced and skilled members become team leaders and integrate the members' contributions into the production process. Peering is highly effective where the job can be broken down into various components and handled by different members (Lauer, 2008). It is especially useful where a company's efforts have not worked in the past such that collaboration may prove to be cheaper.
The involvement of consumers in the development of goods is one of the major aspects of global collaboration. Tapscott and Williams (2007) note that producers and customers have joined to form what is known as 'prosumers'. This allows consumers to co-create goods and services as opposed to simply consuming the products provided to them. Accordingly, consumers are increasingly getting involved in co-invention and co-production of the products that they consume through giving reviews and making suggestions on what would better satisfy them (Daugherty, et al, 2006). This has been enhanced by the internet popularity which has led to the formation of prosumer communities online (Brown and Boulderstone, 2008). The producers share information related to products; employ commerce; engage in customized project collaboration and exchange tools, tips and product hacks. Prosumption has changed the concept of production from the development of finished goods to the development of innovation ecosystems which goes beyond customization of products (Fenn, 2009). By applying this concept of global collaboration, a dynamic scenario to enhance growth and innovation is likely to be established. Companies must however be cautious in applying presumption. Brown and Boulderstone (2008) note that by giving consumers unlimited freedom to hack, the company may risk losing control of the program and thus risk the cannibalization of its business model. On the contrary, limiting users' liberty may keep away potentially viable innovation ideas.
Global collaboration in innovation presents a great deal of advantages for organizations involved. Cost cutting and better outcomes have been emphasized by the proponents of collaboration (Olson, 2009). Collaboration in product innovation could play a significant role in cutting production costs thus improving profitability levels for the companies involved (Olson, 2009). Furthermore, lower costs could mean that the products can be offered at lower prices; which would in turn increases the demand for these goods (Lauer, 2008). Global collaboration leads to the development of highly innovative goods, which further enhances marketability.
Despite the valuable benefits associated with global collaboration in innovating new products, there are issues of concern which threaten such endeavors. A major fear that engulfs the idea of global collaboration is the anticipated conflict in intellectual property concerns (Schneider, 2006). This results from the need to identify how a jointly developed property can be patented. It may bring conflicts between the companies involved and thereby impact on the usability of the new product. Challenges could also be evident in the sharing of resources where some organizations may feel they are contributing more than others thus raising issues of unfair collaboration. Issues emanating from the distribution of costs may also limit the success level of global collaboration endeavors hence the need to establish proper rules to govern collaboration relationship (Wong, 2003). As noted by Tapscott and Williams (2007), the relationship forged between the involved parties should be based on trust in order to ensure that the collaboration works well. Lack of trust would lead to deleterious effects as parties disagree and engage in finger-pointing whenever challenges are encountered. Lastly, improper planning may result in huge losses where the companies spend huge costs in transferring resources from one country to another.
The inspiration of global collaboration in innovation of goods is undoubtedly a viable endeavor that could lead to the production of high quality goods that would otherwise not be produced by individual organizations. Through various collaborations techniques such as the use of a global plant floor and prosumers, organizations may benefit from better innovations thus promoting their profit potential. Globalization emerges as a major force behind global collaboration in the invention of goods. It can be established that the ease in communication channels has led to easier sharing of ideas and resources thus promoting the possibility of global collaboration. While global collaboration is effective however, it is notable that there are various negative issues such as challenges in obtaining patents, sharing of resources and costs. The use of global collaboration in inventing new products therefore needs to be conducted with a high level of caution.