Partnerships We Wish We Could See


This post continues this week’s theme of partnerships and collaborations. As a partnership ourselves, Pixels & Pills strives to demonstrate what brilliant things can happen when great minds come together!

By Guy Mastrion (@gmastrion)

In talking about potential collaborations, there are many pairings that should have already happened – many pairings that we love happening right now – and many pairings that we can’t wait to see.

But what about the ones we hardly even dare suggest? The ones that are fascinating, possibly groundbreaking, but which are so politically incorrect, so impractical, so “but they would NEVER” that you can’t even offer them up for fear of being made fun of?

The first of these interesting and unlikely partnerships is of a think tank with pharma. Often founded on a strict political ideology, many think tanks are replete with genius and funding. So is pharma. Together, what could they do? Please note that many think tanks are funded by pharmaceutical industry money. This is not exactly the same thing. What if the “independent” experts of the think tanks and the industry researchers were allowed to collaborate directly, without fear of reprisal?

To go a step further, what about more direct collaborations by pharma with national governments? We hear about it when there is a crisis – such as with HIV in Africa, or with the recent H1N1 scare. But as a daily practice? All of that private money and all of those private resources put to public use? There must be so much promise there.

Again, we’re not saying that these don’t happen – of course people from these different groups do work together, frequently. But it’s not always in the most productive way possible – the way that could be most conducive for creativity. The direct, informal, person-to-person network of brainstorming doesn’t happen between these groups like it should. Instead, it’s incredibly formalized and structured.

The essential point, really, is that groups have become afraid to work together because it might taint the objectivity of one or more of the partners. And this may indeed be true. But the problem is, this way of working keeps everyone in ivory towers – or silos – or whatever tall cylindrical metaphor you prefer. Separate.

We realize that getting the benefits of partnerships such as these without the difficulties and problems that might come with them might be impossible. But as Lewis Carroll’s White Queen told Alice, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Could you try to believe in one of these impossible things – and help make them happen?

Not to toot our own horn, but look at us as an example – Zemoga and Palio. Boutique agencies collaborating? That’s usually only done at gunpoint, demanded by a client, and endured as a last resort – but you know what? It works. Pretty spectacularly.



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