Partnerships: a strategy for the weak?

Check out this graph. It compares Spotify’s paying subscriptions to Apple Music’s. Apple doesn’t play a partnership game with regards to its music. All channels are in its own possession; itunes, the phones, tablets, and computers.

Spotify vs Apple
Spotify, to the contrary, looks to partnerships for every new customer touch point they create: from Uber, to Nike, to Starbucks. And it seems to be keeping Spotify ahead of the tech giant Apple!

Apple Music is another case of partnerships being undervalued in business strategy. Too often businesses opt to go at it alone, when they would actually be better off partnering.

We don’t know enough about how partnerships work, and how to improve in wielding partnership potential. Therefore I’ll be sharing all I know on designing game changing partnerships using the Business Model, and Partnership Canvas, during my upcoming Partnership Design Masterclass in Amsterdam, on September 19th. Do join!


Interested in a learn more about Partnership Design?
If you want to learn more about using the partnership canvas, then check out our Partnership Design training options, and other ways we could support you and your team.

You can also join the Partnership Design Linkedin group!

Direct contact? Send an email: info@partnershipcanvas.com

Moving partnerships: from cutting costs to creating experiences

The first thing that comes to mind when partnerships are mentioned, are ideas of getting access to a partner’s scale of operations, or to some unique competence they have. Both could have implications for making your business run more efficiently.

You look at your production process, and figure out what parts of that process are lagging on your end, and can be taken over by a partner.

Pharma companies like Johnson & Johnson for instance, outsource parts of the process for clinical trial in this way. They leverage patient organisations for mobilising testing subjects, or universities to support and combine research and analysis.

Although it’s effective, this is still a conventional application of partnerships. These activities, make Johnson & Johnson run better, creating, and shipping products at a higher pace. But they don’t make the business run any different in a sector that is challenged by rising insurance costs to patients, and increasing dissatisfaction over the quality of medical care.

The other way
Things are changing in the world of business collaboration. It’s becoming easier to experiment with partnership linkages and coordinate them through new technology, even when crossing over industry boundaries. Companies forging partnerships like Spotify & Uber, or Yummly & Instacart are doing just that, hunting for new opportunities to bring their existing products into new customer experiences. These partnerships enhance existing products and services in new ways: Personalise your taxi experience with the music of your choice, or get within-the-hour home delivery of the ingredients you need for that recipe you found.

In order to enable partnerships to create value through new customer experiences, partnership design needs to shift away from conventional thinking in terms of the production process, its associated steps, and then determining who can do it more efficiently, and effectively.

The alternative is to look at the full customer journey: from how customers discover your product or service, to how and when they use it, to when they finish with it. From this overview the partnering question becomes different. It turns from “where can you make our company run more efficiently?”, to “where can you add to or deepen our customers’ experience?”. A decisive change in reasoning that can overhaul a business model.


Interested to learn more about using the Partnership Canvas for transformative business collaboration?
Check out our upcoming Partnership Design Masterclasses