Chapter 2

Why Is True Collaboration So Crucial Now?

The years from 1985 to 2005 were a time of incredible change. . . . It is hard to find another 20-year period in the history of humanity when our world changed as much as during this time.

—David Houle, The Shift Age

Filing into the Nokia Theatre in New York City grasping large coffee cups and the last remnants of morning bagels, hundreds of executives wearing badges that read “May 2009 World Innovation Forum” began taking their seats. I hurriedly found an open spot in the fifth row as the lights dimmed, a hush falling over the crowd as everyone awaited word of what lay ahead for the global economy just months after the Great Recession had sunk its grizzly teeth into markets across the world.

Stepping onto the stage in a dark blue suit was Dr. C. K. Prahalad, twice voted the number one thinker in the world by Thinkers50 and a decorated professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Standing beneath a glaring spotlight, Prahalad began gesturing broadly. “We’re in the midst of a true global reset,” he said. “The basic industries which underpin most economies—housing, construction, utilities, banking, and automotive—are all being fundamentally restructured. The business landscape created during the Industrial Age will never return.”1

The crowd gulped, motionless. Prahalad continued. “This reset will restructure how organizations compete, what industries they compete in, who we hire, how we hire, how companies connect ...

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