Article | Harvard Business Review | January 2008

Learning the Fine Art of Collaboration

by Alan MacCormack and Theodore Forbath


Innovations are increasingly brought to the market by networks of firms, selected for their unique capabilities and operating in a coordinated manner. This collaborative model demands that firms develop different skills, yet despite this need, there is little guidance on how to develop these abilities. Based on a recent study, this article describes the main factor differentiating those firms who excel at collaboration from those who struggle—the ability to learn how to collaborate. We describe the four areas in which firms must invest to get better at learning: People, Process, Platforms and Programs.

Keywords: Supply Chain Management; Learning; Collaborative Innovation and Invention; Social and Collaborative Networks; Networks; Programs; Management Skills; Management Practices and Processes; Technology Platform; Market Platforms; Business Processes; Business Model;


MacCormack, Alan, and Theodore Forbath. "Learning the Fine Art of Collaboration." Forethought. Special Issue on HBS Centennial. Harvard Business Review 86, no. 1 (January 2008): 10–11.