What is Tribe Sourcing?

If two heads are better than one, then three heads are probably better than two. We learned it as kids, and it’s just as true now in the professional realm. Tackling problems with many people and perspectives leads to a richer solution; that is the founding principle of a new business model called “Tribe Sourcing.”

TribeSourceLet’s compare the traditional business model to Tribe Sourcing. A business, The ACME Company, needs a new marketing direction. Traditionally, ACME might select a marketing firm (MarketsRUs) to understand their vision, develop a strategy and implement an execution plan. Depending on ACME’s resources, they also may engage MarketsRUs to actually carry out the plan.

Now here’s how this would play out in the Tribe Sourcing model. ACME would approach MarketsRUs, who offers not only traditional in-house expertise, but also a team that includes other marketing companies who participate in the discovery process and solution development. The result is an even richer solution than possible in the traditional approach.

It’s cooperation in the environment of healthy competition: co-opetition.*

In co-opetition, companies that would’ve previously been in competition to land the project form a temporary tribe in order to collaborate in an idea-rich environment. Though in theory there are many perspectives among the employees of MarketsRUs, in practice, people who work together become diluted by each other’s ideas over time. Although they may be better collaborators as a team, their contribution will not offer the variety possible when diverse professionals team up for a specific engagement.

TribeCampCo-opetition through Tribe Sourcing encourages consultants and companies in related fields to form a network. If MarketsRUs put together this tribe to brainstorm for ACME, in the spirit of reciprocity, other marketing companies may present the idea of Tribe Sourcing to their next clients. Of course, the tribe could and should be composed differently for each unique project.

In the end, more than just the client will benefit from Tribe Sourcing. In a hyper competitive economy, for a business to stay afloat it must be exceptional. In the always faster paced world, being exceptional has a shorter shelf life than ever. Classic competition forces all business to innovate individually, but co-opetition could boost all the members of the tribe. At the same time, the tribes will give rise to new ideas and fresh perspectives in their field that would never have otherwise been found.

*Hat-tips Dr. Markman for introducing us to this phrase: “co-opetition”.

Thanks to the following who participated in the roundtable discussion on this topic at TribeCamp:
Dr. Kris Markman, Deborah Crawford, Mark Taylor, Christy Prewett, and David Sandy.

Creative Commons License
blogpost by lunaweb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Crowd photo by Yodel Anecdotal

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