As such, a strategic disruption of the traditional business model is beginning to take place – as it must for all enterprises, regardless of size, locale or profit/ non-profit status.

This disruption equates to a shift away from the armour construct of a ‘command-and-control’ model to one which focuses on dynamic, collaborative, win-win solutions.

It is through these strategic and effective collaborations that profits, both tangible and intangible, will be made.

Collaborative endeavours – be they cross-cubicle, crosscorridor, cross-company, country or continent – and the competitive advantages being garnered through them, will increasingly take centre stage in the near, mid and long-term future of the ‘flat world’ of the DACE.

However, key to these initiatives are the individuals – the Flat World Navigators – who are able to make and maintain authentic bridges, as it is through their strategic business relationships that bigger, better brands and businesses will be built.

Through the use of the relationship nodes of online connections and working collaboratively with a network of clients, colleagues and partners one can achieve far more – including establishing a radically expanded reach, improved efficiency and innovation capacity, greater productivity and deeper insights – in less time, and with fewer costs, than going it alone.

Along with creating cohesive collaborative opportunities between colleagues, clients, customers and joint venture partners both real and potential, these relationships are the evolution of networking and marketing.

They are the conduits to the ever more engaged, empowered and expectant end users of products and services.

Significantly, the core KPI in this disruption to the relationship model is ROI – Return on Involvement – as sustained, authentic engagement is the best way to create a collaborative ecosystem of credibility, clarity and respect for brand, business and the bottom line.

Kim Chandler McDonald is the author of Flat World Navigation: Collaboration and Networking in the Global Digital Economy, [2015] published by Kogan Page

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