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Partnering for Innovation

"Innovation is the lifeblood for sustaining business relationships" - Tony Lendrum.

Tony Lendrum is a world class authority in enterprise partnering. In his book 'The Strategic Partnering Handbook he states that "Innovation is the lifeblood for sustaining relationships."

Innovation is a vitally key ingredient in enabling and sustaining healthy and productive business relationships (refer diagram).

Innovation which is jointly facilitated and managed by the supplier and customer can improve the business return and competitiveness for both parties.

Relationship Characteristics

What is Innovation?

Innovation is a process of change that will add value. A new innovation can be characterized as an alternative application, an enhancement, a modification or an add-on to an existing product, service or business process in such a way as to increase its value to the business.

How can I better facilitate and manage Innovation?

Firstly a good climate for innovation needs to exist.  This may require the identification and breakdown of the barriers to innovation. It might mean training in how to manage innovation. Secondly, a framework and process is essential to facilitate innovation.  The application of a formal framework such as Custell "Innovate" is recommended. Without using a framework to generate ideas, and then manage the innovative opportunities to fruition, limited innovation will occur because it is too hard manage it in the heat of the battle. Metrics are also important. The value of innovation should be measured and individuals and teams rewarded for achievement in innovation.

Innovation is a team effort

Many suppliers and some customers believe that the supplier's role is to creatively propose and implement innovative products and services in response to identified customer needs. In fact for best results it needs to be an equally shared responsibility with a transparent process. Most innovation is incrementally driven within the relationship with high involvement from both parties. Two or more enterprises that make up the relationship need to team together to actively encourage and facilitate continuous innovation and leverage each party's unique capabilities.


For two organisations working together to achieve innovative change, and the mutual value that results, both parties need to agree to an innovation framework, set objectives, apply a coordinated team effort and review and measure the results on a regular basis. ***** Note: Custell Innovate is a management framework that will enable you and your alliance partner to generate mutual value. Contact Custell

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