Odd Couple Collaborations and Making them Tick!

Pushkar Jha*, Lorraine Johnston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Be it about blending intangibles to deliver to market needs or directed at fulfilling aspirations pushing at technological frontiers, inter-firm collaborations across industry boundaries are much in vogue. This paper aims to classify some collaborations as “odd couple collaborations”. These are fuelled more by aspirations of the partner firms, and not as much by market pull. The study provides key distinguishing characteristics for these and an understanding of what makes them tick.

The paper draws on secondary sources in the public domain to understand the motives and performance of several inter-firm collaborations. Odd couple collaborations are examined and some essential performance enablers are highlighted.

A typology that distinguishes odd couple collaborations from other inter-firm collaborations is drawn out. Analysing the performance of such collaborations, and a need for partners to work on the visibility and appeal of such collaborations, is discussed. Stringent market evaluation of the offering and careful creative blending of intangibles are also highlighted as key enablers.

The paper contributes to a vast body of research on inter-sector or distant collaborations by isolating and examining a niche that is fast becoming pronounced. The analysis of odd couple collaborations provides cues for effective strategies for superior value from such collaborations. As organisations constantly seek to extend their innovative potential, these insights may prove useful for both practice and research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-237
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Business Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020


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