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Collaboration instead of competition: an interview with INNOVO CEO, Martin Kelly – part 2

The founder and CEO of INNOVO introduces a new approach to global commerce. Successful partnerships can outperform competing solo. Fair win-win outcomes can triumph over the usual winner tries to take all.

 Although we live in an increasingly networked world, the vast majority of companies still buy only for themselves. Even the biggest organisation only buys for itself. The majority of their sales and marketing is conducted alone by a company offering only its own product to prospective new customers. It is usual for over 90% of sales and marketing approaches to new companies to yield no response. This solo approach to sales is enormously wasteful. The customer pays for this waste.

INNOVO is a new free commercial network which enables companies to pool their buying power with many organisations. It also enables them to pool their sales and marketing resources with numerous other companies.

Each individual and organization will achieve much more together within a network which highlights fairness and transparency, invests in talent, and encourages collaboration and innovation. These constitute INNOVO’s mission statement. It also reflects Kelly’s ambition to commercialize innovation and realize talent potentials based on a fair share of the wealth that the talents have created. In doing so, INNOVO features a fair, collaborative, and innovative image as its core ethos. Meanwhile, it guarantees fairness and transparency through a comprehensive and rigorous independent oversight and external control.

“INNOVO MISSION STATEMENT: To enable individuals and organisations to achieve much more together.”

Xi Zhu: In your opinion what are the prerequisites for doing global business in today’s world?

Martin Kelly: These are set out in our vision and mission and it’s about enabling individuals and organisations to achieve much more together. This can be achieved in all areas of human endeavour really, whether it is by creating an environment of trust based on fairness and transparency or enabling individuals to achieve their full unlimited potential. At the same time it is important to invest in talent connected to opportunities and develop activities which can be enhanced by collaboration as opposed to competition. To survive in a rapidly changing world, organisations must have a passion for innovation. Yet this inevitably involves the risk of the failure associated with trial and error. Collaborating on an open innovation network like INNOVO substantially reduces this by sharing knowledge on the network. This sharing is only sustainable if the rewards from successful outcomes are distributed fairly amongst the contributors. This is why INNOVO is obsessed with fairness.

If we concentrate only on the key things INNOVO does, it would enable organisations to buy and sell more effectively, as well as create, source and commercialize innovation, plus enable organisations to forge strategic alliances. And beyond traditional commerce, INNOVO enhances the way that consumers buy, also provides improved opportunities, resources and finance for individuals and organisations, as well as enabling talented individuals to share in the profit from projects. In addition, it must include, improving the efficiency of the public sector, enhancing healthcare and the life sciences, and providing learning, income and wealth creation opportunities for disadvantaged individuals, all in all, achieving much more for good causes

If you were to sum up our image in 3 words, it would be Fair, Collaborative, Innovative.

XZ: How does INNOVO guarantee fairness and transparency for its members?

MK: The guarantee is part of the INNOVO Core Ethos. We are passionately committed to fairness and transparency. This commitment is manifest throughout the Network, as in our Legal Framework, which is also our constitution and principles of governance. All of our decisions and activities are transparent to those parties that they affect unless there is a compelling reason for confidentiality. Examples of confidentiality would be client commercial confidentiality, personal issues of an executive, confidentiality around intellectual property, etc.

All of our decisions are subject to external independent dispute resolution which is binding on INNOVO. This dispute resolution is fast, fair and far less expensive than litigation. It enables both sides to swiftly get back to working together retaining trust and good working relationships – outcomes which are so often lost after bruising litigation. The Network is owned by all of the individuals and companies that have helped to build it. This is achieved by issuing share options in the Network in addition to paying a fair share of the wealth delivered. The share options which are subject to availability are currently issued at a rate equivalent to 3 times the share of the wealth distributed.

All of the projects are subject to independent audit. We are prepared to revisit contracts if their outcomes are not commercially fair. And all of our partnerships with other companies are commercially over-ridden by what is deemed to be fair. This fairness is adjudicated by independent audit and then by independent binding dispute resolution.

There are very few commercial organizations which submit their decisions and activities to such comprehensive and rigorous independent oversight and external control.

This even makes our contracts and agreements short and simple because, they focus on the terms of the agreement and they do not have the usual many clauses trying to anticipate every eventuality in the future – ‘If this happens, then the outcome is…’. It is almost impossible to anticipate every combination of outcomes. Instead, the parties to our agreements deal with them as they arise. Agreements can be reached on the basis of what is fair and this is audited. If an agreement still cannot be reached after the auditors view, then the parties go to swift independent dispute resolution which is binding on INNOVO.

I think this reflects our passion for fairness. It is this foundation and the trust that it builds is our greatest strength.

XZ: What is your Ambition?

MK: There are really three things I would like to achieve…First, to really change the way the world works so that it is fairer, more collaborative and more innovative. In doing so, to create and distribute more wealth better than any other organisation. Next to have enabled the greatest number of individuals to have realised their ambitions and fulfilled their true potential. In doing so, they will receive a fair share of the wealth they have helped to create. This involves free global access to learning and development. Finally, to be the world’s biggest innovation network connecting ideas, entrepreneurs, talent and organisations so that they can commercialise innovation for their fair share of the value created. So not much really!!

XZ: Where will the company go in the following 5 years?

MK: Our objectives for INNOVO are to be established as a global network for commerce, have the network used by nearly every industry in every geography, have attracted the best management talent and have enabled them to realise their corporate and entrepreneurial ambitions, enabling ambitious and talented individuals to realise their full potential by giving them access to the necessary development, opportunities, resources and support. And, of course, commercialise innovation from companies large and small as well as from entrepreneurs

XZ: Where will you put most efforts in?

MK: I think the majority of our efforts will need to focus on managing the explosive exponential growth of a free global commercial network and then engaging and allowing individual talent everywhere to achieve much more together.

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