According to Richard Watkins in an article published by the HR magazine in 2017 “We are born into groups; we live in groups and everything of value is always in groups. No one has ever really achieved anything on their own.” (Richard Watkins, 2017). While collaboration might be as old as humanity itself, it has never been more important in the world of work. The power that is collaboration has with time, gained momentum and has been recognized as an effective tool towards a nation’s growth.

Across Nigeria and African real estate industries, associated sectors, and regulators, there is a crucial need to understand that cross sector collaboration is important to achieving large scale sustainable development as each sector has a vital role to play. As a means of coordinating different ideas to generate a wide variety of knowledge, collaboration has shown to positively impact performance and outcomes of innovation.

The concept of sustainability is focused on developing society to a state where it can exist in the long term. This means taking into account the partnerships between government, private sector and civil society. Over the years, countless efforts by the government and other stakeholders have been made to tackle several complex changes but many have failed because of competitive self-interest, conflicting priorities and a lack of a fully shared purpose.

Every sector faces the challenge of moving from an industrial past to a sustainable future, and the real estate industry is no exception. While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to respond to the changes the industry is experiencing, it is evident that individuals and organizations need to develop, implement and integrate a clear strategy to stay ahead of the curve.





Because collaboration in business is generally intended to confer benefits to the parties involved as it revolves around the exchange of knowledge, monetary resources and other forms of value, such collaborations go through good and bad phases leaving both parties asking questions like: Who stands to profit the most in this sustainable collaboration development?

From Self Interest to Shared Interest

The automotive industry, for example, has shaped a sounding statement of success through collaborations and partnerships within its industry. Toyota is the largest car company according to the world atlas with a production of over 20 million cars in the year 2017, and over the years managed to reduce production costs and increase vehicle quality by adopting Just-in-time (JIT) and Lean production systems. This model simply extracts from the values of collaborations and partnerships.

Another example of an organization that strives for strategic collaborations is the Institute of Real Estate Management which is a collaboration of 29 real estate-related organizations focused on raising awareness and attracting diverse talent to the many careers available across the built environment.

The initiative to highlight the diverse career paths within the real estate sector, was both ground-breaking and exemplary.

More than ever, businesses are being challenged to help tackle social and environmental issues. As a result, an increasing number of top firms are taking the sustainability challenge seriously, not only to decrease their environmental impact and improve their reputations, but also to improve their operations and financial performance.

Collaborating for Sustainability

 (Rangaswami, M et al., 2021). Long term value from a customer or consumer perspective can imply so many things. In context of our complex, and service-driven global world, trade relationships between countries (like Nigeria and the rest of the world) influences industry outcomes particularly in real estate where supplementary input materials need to be sourced. Accordingly, what we find is cross border collaboration to achieve mutual benefit and sustainable success that satisfies customer and consumer expectations.

It is important to understand collaboration requires the right blend of values that are shared across participating stakeholders to create the sustainable outcome as planned. While it is easy to think that the brightest minds would yield most favourable results in activity, their size, composition, competence, and dispositions can make or break a vision. Interestingly, “the qualities necessary for success are the same as the qualities that destroy success” (Harvard Business Review, 2021) in complex projects. 

Whether public or private, local and international organizations are faced with this paradox and the solution could not be any simpler; the more complex a team is, the more you require a uniting purpose. It could be in a product they love, or a shared, passionate vision for the future.

To Collaborate or not to Collaborate?

Sustainable Collaborations raises a number of questions. What are the pros and cons of partnering with other entities from multiple sectors? Does this approach live up to expectations?  Who stands to profit the most? The reality is that successful collaboration is no easy feat. For some, opening up their companies to partner with other stakeholders may be perceived to be too high a risk –– issues such as trust, mutually shared benefits and imbalance of power often come into play.

Progress and breakthroughs cannot be achieved in isolation, as such, working collaboratively with partners to create opportunities will serve as the needed energy to fuel creativity, growth and innovation. At Bilaad Realty, we recognize the importance of collaborating for sustainability and the need to develop approaches that go beyond philanthropy, towards generating shared value. Although the future is unpredictable, one thing is certain – the future of businesses will be defined by collaborations.