Following our earlier blog on the importance of vision and values within the life sciences sector, our guest blogger and former V Formation intern, Jose Gonzalez, shares some findings from his PhD research which demonstrates the impact a company’s vision and values have on collaboration.
Life sciences SMEs usually need to collaborate with other companies to reach their goals. As a part of my PhD research for Nottingham University Business School, I have been exploring interactions between life sciences SMEs – how they engage, adapt and manage external collaborations to create social networks for open innovation. Vision and values have proven to be an important factor in facilitating such interactions.
As well as assessing the technical skills of a business before entering into any sort of collaboration, I was surprised by how many companies like to feel ‘comfortable’ with their collaboration partners. My research participants usually spend more time analysing the “soft skills” than they do anything else!
Vision and values come first
The importance of vision and values is described by one of my research participants:
“We have a good client base and are known for our quality and good customer relationship management, so we won’t bring in anyone who would detract from that or that would cause problems… you are lucky if you find somebody with focus, and are willing to go the extra mile to help clients rather than just a cash out… our ethos is to help clients – their success is our success – so we are looking [to work with] companies with the very same viewpoints.”
Clearly communicating your own vision and values will invite other companies to do so. Collaboration is important in the life sciences as it helps companies to broaden their offering while learning from other people’s expertise and experiences. A similar vision and set of values helps the process for knowledge sharing as common ground rules for communication and interaction are already in place, making it much easier to work with someone else.
Another research participant said:
“A collaboration has to be smooth and easy to work with. We are an easy-going company to work with; I mean we do not really have restrictions in terms of culture, or geographic boundaries, as long as it is easy to work with someone.”
So far, my research has demonstrated the point that V Formation made in their earlier blog – that vision and values play an important part in life sciences marketing. My research participants place as much (if not more) emphasis on collaborating with companies similar to themselves as they do the technical expertise.