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British scientist Sir Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Newton knew his success was accelerated by the knowledge, support, and collaboration of others, and he was thoughtful enough to appreciate and communicate this.
Often entrepreneurs, as natural-born leaders, are control freaks — much like I am. We feel like we have to take charge of every element of our business in order to ensure its chances of success.
I personally find it incredibly helpful to know each area of my business well, as it’s difficult to provide good C-level management without experience (and hard graft) in the areas you are overseeing. But Sir Isaac Newton knew that working with others would provide him with much faster exponential growth. And so although it’s important to be in control of your business, it’s also fundamental to take advantage of changing market conditions and to jump up steps or growth hack whenever feasible.
My businesses often find me innovating in areas of uncharted waters, and therefore the number of experienced players in the market is usually non-existent. This situation may leave you thinking that there aren’t any collaborators to join forces with, but there are always others who can get involved to help to boost your momentum and increase your exposure and connectivity.
Collaboration truly is the key to success
The legendary Abraham Accords was signed in 2020 with multiple middle eastern countries making peace treaties over collaboration in business and innovation. It was a momentous chapter in history — never has the region, or the world, frankly, seen such an alliance. According to The Abraham Accords Institute, the countries participating have already seen more than $3 billion in trade and revenue since its execution, and the setup of 17 new flight paths in the region.
As stated by the institute, “The Abraham Accords paves the way for limitless economic opportunity and represents a significant opportunity for increased economic prosperity for the participating countries.”
According to the Rand Foundation, the Abraham Accords, when fully realized, could create as many as 4 million new jobs and $1 trillion in new economic activity in its first decade, as well as aiding the regional recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Why fight with your competitor or neighbor when you can create a strategic alliance and both succeed together?
According to a recent report “Israel-United Arab Emirates trade grew by nearly 42% in the first five months of 2023 compared to the same period last year, and trade between Israel and Bahrain grew about 24%.”
I discussed this immense foreign relations feat with one of the pioneers of The Abraham Accords, Jared Kushner, earlier this year, who initially met much doubt in the initiative’s success before the joint partnerships were executed. We talked about how change can be scary, and believing in success with another party — who you may have once considered your enemy — can be hard to envisage and roll out. History has proved so differently, and now the desire for international collaboration is highly contagious internationally.
Earlier this month, I was invited to speak as the Keynote Speaker at the Abrahamic Business Circle at The Royal Automobile Private Members Club in Pall Mall, in London, where government ministers and titans of business from across the world, meet and explore collaboration and strategic partnership, opportunities in innovation and business to advance their region commercially.
My keynote was entitled “Creating World Impact Through Collaboration, Unity & Opportunity” which much to my surprise, received a standing ovation. The impactful television productions created by our company Tech Talk Media spur immense connectivity and collaboration across the globe, earning us 25+ awards and stimulating more than a half billion dollars in deal flow for emerging technologies.
Positivity begets positivity
After some initial research on the Abraham Accords, I was shocked to find out the sheer level of business that is taking place in such a short time. Many international nations had been sitting next to each other regionally for decades but had not taken advantage of partnering up. Instead, they had been polarised politically mainly by negative media, political agenda, or propaganda.
By breaking that chain of negativity, they found far more benefit in working with each other in a positive way, which further reinforces the power and spirit of collaboration.
Collaboration is key. Competition takes strength, energy, and focus away from your business, but strategic partnerships bring resources, experience, and enhanced connectivity.
The team-up should always be synergistic and provide strengths where there are weaknesses. But make sure there’s value on both sides before you jump in. It’s important to consider the terms and benefits of any partnership before entering a commercial relationship. Much like a marriage, it’s a long-term commitment. Have agreed upon written terms in advance so there are no disagreements later.
Collaboration with autonomous devices
Now, with the rise of artificial intelligence and powerful machine learning applications, these partnerships and collaborations can take place with automated processes and machines.
Collaboration with humans is always preferred, but can often be exhausting, with much paperwork, meetings, discussions, and opinions. Software generally doesn’t delay when you set it on a task, so it’s an interesting and efficient way to propel forwards.
Take the entertainment industry for instance; in order to produce, deliver and broadcast a movie or TV series, you would require many different skill sets, teams, and resources. Many of these can be automated today, which is one of the issues and fears felt by the writers and actors, who you may have heard are currently striking with the American Actors SAG AFTRA union.
To create some of our recent award-winning TV shows during the Covid pandemic, we had to adapt to using A.I.-powered machines and applications as we had no choice at times. Unable to access NASA’s teams during a production about their emerging innovation, we utilized autonomous robots, called Temi, which came equipped with tablets for faces, and Lidar sensors to explore the locations and stay safe. I logged into Temi and remotely directed ‘Inside NASA’s Innovations’ from thousands of miles away, connecting to Temi and driving it around the locations to manage the production team.
It was great fun and became so effective that we rolled out the use of our Temi Robot to multiple titles. We use both A.I. powered hardware and software to accelerate and optimize production.
Fireflies AI notetaker is another example. It is my trusted sidekick for video meetings. I don’t do Zoom meetings without my reliable note taker to transcribe the call, provide me a summary and key points and even add color guides for each guest on the call.
We also use Runway’s AI, which helps us to easily cut our films in many verticals. We would have had to green-screen locations in a dozen countries and multiple takes to achieve this. Now it’s ready in a few clicks.
Both these artificial intelligent software applications provide immense assistance, speed, and accuracy, not replacing humans, but supercharging the collaborative ability of a human, enabling faster growth in the mundane areas of our productivity. According to Search Logistics, “54% of company executives have said that implementing AI in their business has increased productivity significantly.”
A.I. Can be a powerful collaborative partner if used correctly, but in my humble opinion will never fully replace the creativity, understanding, adaptability and ingenuity of a human being. Partnering with A.I. to level up, however, can be that factor that helps you stay in stride with the speed of evolution in the workplace today.
Trial and error
Collaboration is always a trial-and-error process, whether with human or bionic beings.
A.I. is a new area, and many of the supercharged technologies are still learning and refining their systems. A.I. can also be limited by the biases of those who developed it, so remember it’s all new and an experiential process.
Evolution in business is always trial-and-error. If it’s been done many times before, it’s hardly competitive, so if you are looking to stay on the cutting edge, most likely you will need to be comfortable in taking small risks and learning from your experiences.
If you are interested in stepping up your rate of development and growth, start looking for ways to collaborate in the areas that you are the weakest, or perhaps that are slowing you down. A.I. can propel our ability to collaborate, to get things done. In fact, it will actually synthesize collaboration, but in essence, it’s helping you along just as any strategic partner may.
I wouldn’t be anywhere today if it wasn’t for the collaboration of my incredible friends, my family, my team, colleagues, and talented partners across the world.