Pulling a Ben Affleck – How open collaboration could spark your brightest idea


Nicholas Nesbitt, IBM Gneral Manager for East Africa
Nicholas Nesbitt, IBM Gneral Manager for East Africa

Born in 1972 in California, a young Ben Affleck started his career as a forgettable supporting actor for multiple budget movies and indie projects. Bobbing along at a lackluster pace, flickering from film to film, and leaving very little in the memories of those concerned is a common story for young actors.

It’s also a common story for new businesses – especially entrepreneurs that crave that big idea but often spend years banging their heads against a wall hoping the catalyst will come flooding out.

For Affleck, now regarded as one of the best male actors on the circuit, with leading roles in blockbusters such as Armageddon, Gone Girl, and Argo, the catalyst was a moment of creative collaboration that catapulted his career, and his partner’s, to the pinnacle of his trade.

In 1997, Affleck paired with close friend Matt Damon and set to work on the script of Good Will Hunting. The script was picked up in Hollywood and the resulting movie acted as a springboard for Affleck, Damon and even Affleck’s younger brother, Casey. Starring the late Robin Williams, the Oscar-winning script transformed the careers of both Affleck and Damon, who are now largely seen as a double-act, despite featuring in few movies together since.

That collaboration is one of the acting industry’s greatest stories. Affleck and Damon have produced countless profitable movies together since Good Will Hunting, and gone on to star as cult heroes such as Batman and Jason Bourne. Other than the fact I’m a big fan of Jason Bourne and Batman, there is a point to this.

Despite their success as solo actors, both will always look back on the day they joined forces and set to work on their inaugural script as the day they announced themselves on the world stage. Collaboration was key.

I liken this to business; openness and creative collaboration can often be the catalyst for success. But in today’s age, and especially from a business point of view, time isn’t really on your side. The constant shifting sands of global markets, technology trends and consumer behavioral patterns means that by the time you’ve come up with one great solution for your audience, it’s redundant when it hits the shelves.

What you need is a platform that allows you to be creative and expressive in collaboration. These platforms are critical in enabling partnerships that birth ideas that go on to have a massive impact on the way we live our lives.

Jobs and Wozniak, Hewlett and Packard, Zuckerberg and Moskovitz – many of technology’s greatest stories began with collaborative ventures that grew into influential and meaningful organizations changing and challenging the way we live and work.

But it’s not just the crème de la crème of tech that benefits from genius collaboration. Every day, and at every level of your business, key collaborations are happening that are positively affecting your workflow, customers, revenues and character. But as a business, you have the responsibility to allow these to flourish. By investing in collaborative software, you can improve efficiency, ease of communication, and innovation.

Why not make these collaborations even easier? Why not promote collaboration in an era of closed cubicles, quiet work spaces and device-led conversations?

IBM Connections serves as a social platform that acts as a business tool but appears as an intuitive social space. This combination of work and social actively promotes conversation, collective decision-making and innovation while connecting people and enterprises effortlessly.

North American home improvement company Lowe’s implemented Connections to aid innovation from within. One of the most notable outcomes was that the ease of participation allowed their global CEO to blog and respond to the entire company. That involvement had a significant impact for their 2650,000 employees across their network.

Flexible deployment options – such as on-premise or IBM cloud – means the market leading social network platform can efficiently help you move beyond the traditional organizational boundaries we have been restricted to for so long.

This article was written By Nicholas Nesbitt, IBM Gneral Manager for East Africa.

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