5 human reasons why "Coopetition" is the next big thing

Coopetition, the act of collaborating with your competitors, is something 2PS encourages. Why? Our business model is built around the concept of working independently but together, and we believe that it’s time for the inefficient and ineffective capitalist economy to evolve.

Since the beginning of time, people have been helping each other. Selflessly? Perhaps. However, there are many biological and psychological theories attempting to explain why people choose to display altruistic behaviors - such as Kin selection, Signaling theory, or Reciprocal altruism. Some of these seem to have been inherited by us from originally animal behaviours.

Coopetition will become mainstream soon

Coopetition makes sense logically for many companies in many industries: it reduces costs, allows you to gain market share, and brings more value to your clients. And yet, there are only a handful of firms that embrace the idea of working together with their competitors out there.

So the reason why businesses have not yet embraced this concept is a human problem. It's a problem of ego and fear. However, there are a few psychological reasons we may be able to put our ego aside and work together for the benefit of our companies and our clients:

1. We've been taught to "play nice"

Since a young age, our parents, teachers, religious leaders, and even books and cartoons, have told us to be kind, loving and friendly. As humans, most of us have carried this attitude of being a nice and helpful person throughout our lives. As a matter of fact, we ourselves, being part of society, encourage these behaviors as positive and right by endorsing people who follow these behaviors and having unfavorable attitudes towards people who do not.

While business may seem separate from our personal lives, we still carry the attitude of "playing nice" with us, and are willing to help others, within reason.

2. Good karma AKA brand image

When you are working with others, not just serving your own interests, you feel like you are doing a good thing, and you will be rewarded for this. What goes around comes back around, right?

But let's get real. In a business context, there is a common belief that acting in an honest, ethical, or helpful way could contribute to the improvement of corporate image and the company brand. Consumers love ethically manufactured products, and companies that respect the environment, human rights, their employees, and follow a set of good values.

So for businesses, as for individuals, a favourable brand image is desirable, as it brings positive outcomes in the future - loyal customers, happy employees, good publicity, new clients...

3. Fear of being left behind

Many people realize that at some point during their company's journey, they may not be able to get further than they are. Well, not just by themselves, of course. Sometimes, people realize that they need a strong supporter or partner in business that will help them advance further: an innovative competitor, a collaborator that stays ahead of the market, a unique supplier.

A human fear of getting left behind triggers a desire to be around people who are progressive and successful, to work with them. Moving forward alone just doesn't cut it anymore.

4. Herd behavior

The desire to fit in, which is one of the most basic human traits, could motivate business leaders to explore the option of collaborating in a competitive environment. Fortunately or unfortunately, people can be like sheep.

"If everyone else seems to be working together, why aren't I?"

5. "Easy way out"

As people, we like it when many things in our lives are broken down to simpler forms, and everything becomes less complicated or time consuming. Yes, I'd love it if my commute to work was halved due to a new bus route! Of course, I want Netflix to start the next episode when I finish one so that I don't have to do so much clicking... And yes, please deliver my groceries to my door, or I'll forget that I have to go buy food for my cat.

Don't you love shortcuts and simpler ways of doing things? Of course you do!

While this sounds quite negative at first glance, finding a solution that is more cost effective and less time consuming obviously has a positive effect on organizations, as well as individuals.

Once we accept the fact that collaborating can reduce the workload and increase productivity, it will become the naturally desirable thing to do.

2PS embraces coopetition

"Coopetition" or competitive altruism makes sense for business reasons, of course. But it also makes a lot of sense when we take into account patterns of human behavior. Really, it's just a matter of time until we start seeing more and more independent workers and firms embracing this great concept.

In 2PS, we've built a whole system to amplify cooperatively competitive behaviour within our network of consultants. It all fits perfectly with our business model - collaborate with the relevant expert for your client's benefit (thus helping out that expert), and be rewarded as an individual. Read more about our new model for the future of business consulting.