We are close to closing the book on a strange and difficult year. The pandemic, politics, and social issues seem to be forcing an already divided world further apart. But in the face of economic and personal hardships, there have been examples of humanity at its best, from frontline workers going above and beyond the call of duty to everyday people helping out their fellow neighbours when it’s needed most.
This demonstrates how much we can achieve when we choose collaboration and not division, and we have certainly seen some incredible examples of the former in the print industry during the course of this difficult year. There has been an abundance of virtual events, online networking opportunities, free resources – even just an uplifting post from a LinkedIn connection can make a world of difference and reinforce that sense of community on a day when it’s all getting a bit much.
During August’s Elevate Print conference, Tobias Degsell, Founder of Combiner and former Curator of the Nobel Prize Museum, spoke about ‘Cultivating Collaboration and Trust’, calling attention to the fact that most Nobel laureates are awarded shared prizes. The greatest minds in their respective fields know that they have a higher chance of success and achievement by collaborating with their peers.
Yet, with all the community and collaboration in this industry, we continue to hear about ‘print vs digital’. To me this debate doesn’t make much sense, but it makes even less sense in the COVID-era – why limit yourself when you have multiple mediums, especially when they work so wonderfully together? Just look at the way augmented reality allows you to take advantage of a beautifully crafted piece of print and its ability to engage the senses, then have the experience leap off the page, package, sign etc. and utilise digital technology to take that interaction to a whole new level that can be continuously updated, expanded, and improved.
Of course, collaboration extends beyond the technology itself; now is an extremely pertinent time to consider the possibility of new strategic partnerships. If a customer is in the market for a service you don’t provide, or perhaps there is a time constraint issue on your part, 2020 isn’t a great time to be saying no to business. There are potential business partners out there, that share your goals and values and provide correlative offerings that could serve as a life raft as we sail into 2021’s murky waters. If I were to make a prediction about next year (which would be a very stupid thing to do) I would say that more businesses will be open to or actively seeking partnerships and collaborations, whether that’s out of necessity, new opportunities, or a change of perspective.
While we will be carrying a lot of the year’s uncertainty into the year ahead, there have been glimmers of hope appearing on the horizon. Let’s commit to a shared New Year’s resolution: choose unity.
Karis Copp is a UK-based writer, journalist, and communications expert. With a background as an editor and public relations specialist in the print industry, she now works on a freelance basis covering events, writing on industry news and trends, and working with businesses to help them tell their stories and connect with their customers. Follow her on Twitter @KarisCoppMedia.