FORBES: Why Collaboration Is The Currency Of The Future

When you think about the currency of the future, e-currency and bitcoin immediately come to mind.But I’ve come to believe that there is another form of currency that will be even more valuable: collaboration.

This profound statement has fundamentally changed my understanding of what it means to stay relevant in the ever-changing world. If we are to face the challenges of tomorrow, we are going need different jobs with different training and different ways of problem-solving. Forward-thinking leaders are looking to unique collaborations to help them innovate. For instance, the Yale School of Management offers nine joint M.B.A. degrees with the schools of forestry, global affairs, medicine, architecture and more. Leading school recognize that industry-specific education and solo entrepreneurship are a way of the past; cross-functional and multi-disciplinary approaches are the way of the future. Innovation requires collaboration.This past spring, I had the opportunity to attend the World Government Summit in Dubai as part of my work with the UN Global Happiness Council. Of all of the world leaders I heard speak, His Excellency Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and ‎the Future, left the deepest impression. He shared, “We are moving out of the Age of Information into the Age of Imagination. Sixty-five percent of the jobs of the future do not exist yet today. Our greatest currency is not in dollars or data, but in our minds.”

Yet we still have vestiges of the “old approach” in our education and training programs. We ask young people what their major is, even though we live in a world where the average career spans five to seven industries; we rank students to foster competition; and we create reward and incentive programs for those who rise above. We live like we are engaged in an epic Tron-like race to the horizon, collaborating only if it furthers our ultimate aims. But what if the strategy for long-term success was changing? What if the Tron universe was not a linear two-player game, but instead a multi-dimensional and cooperative one? The most innovative companies of the future are the ones who are able to think outside of traditional structures and hierarchies. Using collaborative frameworks, leaders are able to up-source their knowledge networks, iterate faster, and even expand their use cases for their products. Take for instance these familiar business models:

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