Collaboration drives innovation - but only when it's done well

Apr 1, 2021

Erik Wallin

Collaboration drives innovation. When it's done well, that is.

The new partnership between Albertsons and Google promises to boost online shopping convenience. Google Search and Google Maps will support online ordering, predictive list-building, the use of Google Pay and chatbots. Google is also collaborating with Instacart and Kroger.

"The race is on to meet online grocery shoppers' needs in new and better ways," comments Northfork CEO Erik Wallin. "Clever collaborations can speed up new services coming to market dramatically."

This was certainly the case when Northfork collaborated with Walmart and BuzzFeed to deliver the Tasty app. The venture became more than the sum of its parts. Paying attention to the structure of the collaboration helped enable this. Sami Simon, Staff Product Manager at BuzzFeed, recalls:

"It wasn't a case of Northfork simply providing the tech and Walmart the groceries - each party approached the project as a collaborator, rather than a provider."

Partnerships don't have to be huge to deliver value. They just need to take the right approach. That doesn't mean endless meetings, as Amer Mohammed, Chief Digital Office at, cautions:

"It’s the reality of delivering the project and analysing its impact that helps drive further innovation, not sitting in endless committee meetings."

Collaborations that focus on the needs of the consumer can do much to meet those needs. Speaking of Northfork's collaboration with BuzzFeed and Walmart for the Tasty App, Nilla Ali, SVP, Commerce at BuzzFeed, reminds us to focus on the user:

"Each partner or affiliate brings unique expertise to the table. A successful working arrangement can allow them to be pioneers in their field, working cost-effectively to deliver value to their end users."

Food for thought as the online grocery sector looks to cement its post-pandemic role in shoppers' lives.