# Together We Grow — What a Great Game

This morning I awoke to a great message on my company Facebook page. It read.. “Thank you Innovation Creation, for your support. It’s businesses like yourselves that help others grow!” This got me thinking about the wonderful power of collaboration, not just with the people within your organisation, but with other businesses.

Wikipedia explains collaboration as working with others to do a task and to achieve shared goals. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organisations work together to realize shared goals, (this is more than the intersection of common goals seen in co-operative ventures, but a deep, collective determination to reach an identical objective.”

This brought me to remembering sitting in university lectures a number of years ago, learning about Game Theory (Game Theory was proposed by John Nash who tragically passed away recently). Game Theory is the study of the mathematical models of conflict and co-operation. John Nash’s Game Theory posited that there were a number of outcomes in strategic management that could come from conflict or co-operation. A great example of game theory is ‘the Prisoner’s Dilemma’. A simple explanation of the Prisoner’s Dilemma is provided by Wikipedia:

Two members of a criminal gang are arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of speaking to or exchanging messages with the other. The prosecutors do not have enough evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge. They hope to get both sentenced to a year in prison on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the prosecutors offer each prisoner a bargain. Each prisoner is given the opportunity either to: betray the other by testifying that the other committed the crime, or to cooperate with the other by remaining silent. Here is the offer:

• If A and B each betray the other, each of them serves 2 years in prison
• If A betrays B but B remains silent, A will be set free and B will serve 3 years in prison (and vice versa)
• If A and B both remain silent, both of them will only serve 1 year in prison (on the lesser charge)

In other words, in Game Theory terms, in a cooperative (collaborative) game, players coordinate to achieve better outcomes than the ones that would likely prevail in the absence of such coordination. If the game is played un-cooperatively however, the result is unfortunate for all players.

Working collaboratively with others can provide a win-win for both players in the game. The same is true of the win-wins for business. On with the game!!