PREFACE - The Culture of Collaboration
Before the BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle rolled off the Spartanburg,
South Carolina production line in September of 1999, the automaker’s
standard time to market was sixty months. But this new vehicle
had defied the standard. Thirty five months earlier, the X5 was
nothing more than a concept. BMW had slashed time to market almost
in half. What had changed?
The X5 was the first BMW vehicle
completely developed and produced through telecooperation. BMW
defined telecooperation as technology-supported collaboration
and communication allowing globally-distributed teams to design
and produce a product. Also, the automaker was moving from a “sequential” to
a “parallel” development
process in which the second phase of design begins before the first phase ends.
The changing economics of the automobile industry required faster
concept-to-delivery, and BMW determined that telecooperation
was the best way to achieve that goal. The company wisely realized
that the shift was about much more than tools and systems. BMW
anticipated that telecooperation would change the nature of work
and the culture of its organization. Therefore, savvy leaders
developed ways to integrate telecooperation into every business
unit, function, and partner organization.
During the last several
hectic months before the X5 launch, BMW invited me to visit its
design center in Munich. There a spark flew that ignited the
idea for this book. BMW’s
experience was an early manifestation of a phenomenon that is
now pervading organizations of all kinds. The phenomenon is the
Culture of Collaboration.
Globalization has created opportunities
to maximize time, talent
and tools. Realizing these opportunities, however, requires a
cultural shift. This book examines the role of culture in collaborating,
provides a look inside leading enterprises in multiple industries
that create value through the Culture of Collaboration, and offers
a framework for making teams and organizations collaboration-friendly.