Some 15 years the management literature unearthed coopetition, a concept coined right before World War I. For those who had just got used to this contraction time has come to learn a new one: collaboratories. In a nutshell, the idea is to bring down the walls so that researchers can perform their job without regard to geographical location. So far, nothing revolutionary you may think.
But for some companies, it actually implies a radical change in strategy. For instance, IBM is making collaboration with outsiders an essential piece of its research strategy. The company has been working with China Telecom and China Mobile, two of the biggest operators in the world, applying data analysis technologies to the huge (and growing) databases of subscriber and service information. The sheer scale of the Chinese telecommunication market allows researchers to play with billions of records, a unique chance to test and improve data mining algorithms.
Big Blue is even taking the concept of collaboratory a step further in China. It has partnered with the city of Shenyang to create an eco-city collaboratory, combining transportation, water, energy and food with the aim to define what a smart city would be.