Co-opetition: cooperation with the competitor

Cooperation and competition as we have known it are complete opposites. The trade-off between them is a  zero-sum game, where you either share the pie through  collaboration, or capture a larger piece through competition.  In the market, one company’s gain is another one’s loss.  Disruptive times, technological change and all its spill over effects are here to stay. This has changed the rules of  the game in terms of collaboration with rivals. Can you be  friends with your foes? Using co-opetition, the traditional  win-lose scenario could be transformed into a win-win  situation, where sometimes even the industry as a whole  benefits. Pooling rivalling resources potentially creates  opportunities in terms of research and development, risk mitigation, cost-reduction and market access. Joining hands  with competition can give the combined power to tackle  otherwise impossible economic challenges. A recent and  well-known example is the collaboration between industry  rivals to develop the vaccine against COVID-19 at record  breaking speeds using ground-breaking technologies.  However, reward does not come without risk. Navigating  through such a collaboration is not easy, as organisations  must protect their intellectual property and competitive  ground. Trust issues between the parties involved can be  a challenge as companies do not want to give away their  current advantages. Additionally, companies potentially have  to manage resistance within their own firm. Co-opetition is  a sensitive partnership with potential for high risk and high  reward. When do companies favour cooperating instead of  competing with their rivals? How can a company overcome  the challenges of co-opetition to get to a win-win game?