5 key lessons learned from collaborations and partnerships

The 5 key lessons learned from collaborations and partnerships

Collaboration between companies of different shapes and sizes can open up possibilities and innovations that could otherwise be missed.

Collaboration between companies of different shapes and sizes can open up possibilities and innovations that could otherwise be missed.

Wärtsilä has gained experience from numerous successful partnerships in the past, which have brought us a step closer to our vision of a 100% renewable energy future.

An example of this is our partnership with energy storage system provider Greensmith Energy, which later led to Wärtsilä acquiring the company as a part of our energy transition ambitions and an optimised energy future. Today, we are one of the largest energy storage system providers globally.

Mikko Pulkkinen, Managing Counsel at Wärtsilä Energy, has worked closely with partnerships and has a deep understanding of the necessary building blocks of successful collaboration. He shared his experience with us and listed the five key lessons he’s learned from over the years.

1. The importance of aligning strategies and business cases

The alignment of a good business case and the internal strategies of both parties lie at the core of a successful partnership. It is a precondition to effectively plan and execute joint activities.

“Two well-functioning businesses working together gets you only so far. We also require that the collaboration supports both the short- and long-term goals of the companies involved. This ensures the project will have the full support and commitment of the organisations involved,” says Pulkkinen.

2. Knowing your partner

The skillset and capabilities of both parties need to support achieving the goals and objectives of the collaboration. It is essential to look into all possible aspects of the partnering company to ensure compatibility.

“A thorough due diligence process is a must when looking to partner up. We look through what the team can do, but also into financial and legal aspects to see if anything is standing in the way of reaching the agreed-upon targets. Reputational and sustainability-related matters are also increasingly important.”

3. Choosing the right collaboration vehicle

The next step in planning a partnership is choosing the right vehicle for collaboration. Here, the primary consideration lies in the type and length of the cooperation.

“For shorter collaborations, a contract-based arrangement often works best, as it is easy to set up and provides flexibility. It is also easier to terminate when finishing the partnership. In projects where we expect the collaboration to span further into the future or involve substantial investments, we might look into a joint venture or even an acquisition.”

4. Framing and structuring the purpose

When a thorough background planning is complete, it is time to examine the details of the aim and purpose of the project.

“Both parties need to have a crystal-clear image of the end goal of the collaboration before initiation. Also, the expectations of both parties need to be aligned and well-documented to ensure a smoothly running partnership.”

5. Tackling the pain points

Finally, dealing with any problems regarding the partnership arrangement needs to be done as early as possible.

“All pain points around the collaboration need to be addressed while planning the project. If not tackled, the issues will accumulate over time and solving them becomes increasingly difficult. Before initiating a project, it is worthwhile to take a last sanity check to see if any unresolved matters hinder completing the partnership successfully,” concludes Pulkkinen.

Written by
Felix Erkinheimo