Friday, January 19, 2018

“Coopetition” as the digital Characteristic

Competition to catalyze digital innovation is great. Competition to further the world of pursuing superego is unhealthy. 

Competition is part of the natural dynamics of life. In nature, competition is for evolution; in business, competition is for surviving and thriving. In the silo industrial age, the competition is about commanding and controlling to keep the status quo; and now we are stepping into a deeper and also far more advanced digital era steadily, the goal of the healthy competition in the human society is to encourage innovation and accelerate the speed of progression.



Differentiate positive competitions from negative competitions:
 Competition has different connotations and meanings under different situations or context. Competition is part of the natural dynamics of life. 'Competition' in biology means the cutthroat struggle for life's essentials. It is part of the genetic bias of every living thing in nature as a survival-seeking mindset. There are ample examples of competitive behaviors in the animal world. That is the basis for their survival and thriving lives. However, humans are intelligent beings, and digital is the age of abundance and choices. If we really are as intelligent as we claim to be, we can build principles and disciplines to discern the positive motivation or negative energy behind the competition. Competition, in and of itself, is not inherently bad. The goals of competition can be bad and the competitive arena can produce a myriad of unwise mentality and negative externalities. Thus, encourage the healthy competition for harnessing innovation, but discourage unhealthy competition via unprofessional way.

Competency at all levels: Healthy competition is important for either change or innovation. But too often transformational change is acted on the basis of improving one part of an organization at the expense of other parts of the organization, it will stifle innovation and decelerate the speed of digitalization. Workplace competition is not always positive, sometimes politics or unprofessionalism suffocates the business' changeability or diminishes the brightness of their true talent. If the majority of organizations at the industrial age are manipulated by silo thinking and hierarchical styles, which often cause unhealthy internal competitions for limited resources, organizations lose their collaborative advantage as the whole. Competency at all levels of the organization can create unhealthy rivalries that result in productivity decrease and employee discouragement. One of the key determinants of whether an organization can move to the digital new normal is the digital maturity of its people. If the digital organization is a living body, every individual is like an active cell to keep growing and flowing, it is important to run away from the shadow of unhealthy competitions, and thrive on healthy competitions.

"Coopetition”: At the business level, silo creates barriers that surface between departments within an organization, So, it easily creates the gaps and often leads unhealthy internal competitions for the limited resources, causing people who are supposed to be on the same team to work against each other. Many organizations today are running in between - the mix of old and new; the different departments or divisions within an organization evolve changes with different speed. Coopetition (cooperation + competition) is perhaps the right approach for running a highly energetic and highly collaborative digital business. To encourage positive competitions and discourage negative competitions, the digital rule of thumb is that how to leverage energy in the more meaningful way; not just for beating down the competitors, but for living with purpose, strengthen the strength, unleash talent potential, and run a successful business.


Ultimately, competition or cooperation can be used for a greater purpose/cause to elevate individuals as well as the entire society. Or they can be abused or misused to cause severe issues, unnecessary pains, and significant problems. Competition to catalyze digital innovation is great. Competition to further the world of pursuing superego is unhealthy. With today’s digital hyperconnectivity and interdependence, it is time to step into the new hybrid era of corpetition (cooperation + competition) and reach the next level of digital harmony.

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