FacebookFacebook icon TwitterTwitter icon LinkedInLinkedIn icon Email

Brain circuits

Taking collaboration to the next level

Published 5 January 2022 in Brain circuits • 2 min read

Effective collaboration has long been understood as one of the critical benchmarks in a successful organization, but in practice it is often limited within companies. Sustainable entrepreneurs take a radical approach to collaboration, joining forces with all possible stakeholders to reach impact objectives. They organize themselves in ways that ensure inclusive and participatory governance, and actively engage the public and government officials to raise awareness and lobby for specific sustainability causes.

These are four steps sustainable entrepreneurs are taking to build this level of collaboration:

Mobilize the crowd and build community

These businesses start local to achieve global goals. You need to marshal collective resources in communities to foster social justice and ecological sustainability. It is important in virtual communities to engage in cross-sector collaboration; for example using, creating, and sharing open-source projects.

Co-create sustainable businesses

Starting with your governance model, ensure employee participation and inclusion. Distribute wealth equitably among all stakeholders and adapt ownership structures that prioritize purpose.

Collaborate with all ecosystem actors

This is one of the points many traditional companies consider radical: it is important to build strategic alliances with all players within the ecosystem, which includes competitors as well as NGOs. You should seek peer-to-peer consulting and support. Build a culture that supports coopetition instead of competition.

Nurture collective action

You should empower individuals to act, but also promote movement in local, national, and global politics. Launch and participate in movements for collective impact.

While this level of collaboration may seem impossible for some traditional businesses, sustainable entrepreneurs will continue leading the change. Get ready – it’s time to co-act!


Julia Binder

Julia Binder

Professor of Sustainable innovation and Business Transformation at IMD

Julia Binder’s research focuses on sustainability in organizations, with a focus on sustainable innovation, entrepreneurship, and marketing. Her work explores the processes, strategies and mechanisms that allow entrepreneurs and managers to combine economic, social, and environmental impact in initiating and transforming their businesses.


Learn Brain Circuits

Join us for daily exercises focusing on issues from team building to developing an actionable sustainability plan to personal development. Go on. They only take five minutes.
Read more 

Explore Leadership

What makes a great leader? Do you need charisma? How do you inspire your team? Our experts offer actionable insights through first-person narratives, behind-the-scenes interviews and The Help Desk.
Read more

Join Membership

Log in here to join the conversation with the I by IMD community. Your subscription grants you access to the quarterly magazine plus daily articles, videos, podcasts and learning exercises.
Sign up

You have 4 of 5 articles left to read.