Collaboration V's Competition - Bite Size tips

Written by Julian Sykes

Collaboration was repeated again again at Intersection, but is seeming contrast to this was the idea of competition. The networked world has been used more and more to describe the development of how we can begin to collaborate together both socially and in business. In Nick Jankel's talk he spoke of how recent studies have brought new light into us as a species with initial reports indicating that we have inbuilt tendencies to collaborate and we are not the compete at all costs as was previously thought. There is another element however that is competition. Competition has been at the heart of how we have developed, indeed our previous blog about games would indicate competition maybe here to stay for a very long time. I think we are competitive as people and we like to expand our knowledge or skills. Within society competitions are seen to be a great way to force innovation through.

So does competition and collaboration go together?
Initially it seems like the answer is no, but I think it depends on your perspective, and what your ultimate goal is for the area you are inhabiting. If you have a traditional hierarchical view of the world then it is unlikely that competition and collaboration are going to work for you. However if you have a broader view of success i.e. you would like to develop better forms of transport and through you working on the project you share your findings that are then developed by other groups to an end goal of better transport then that is a success.

Recent examples of this would be the Ansari X Prize. The prize was offered by the X PRIZE Foundation who offered $10,000,000 dollars for the first non-government organisation to launch a re-usable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. The prize was won back in 2004 by Burt Rutan. However as well as the competition winner receiving the prize there was also over $100,000,000 dollars of investment in new technologies, that took place during the competition.

An ongoing competition/project is Local Motors (you can how it works on the video above). People compete with each other to design new cars. The designs are then voted on and a small production run of the winning cars are built. The competition works on many levels, the system allows for cars to go from drawing board to production around 500% faster than standard production timescales. Due to people having to be involved in the build of the car, purchasers are 80% less likely to default on payment for the car.