May 12, 2011; Source: Boston Herald | One of the rules of systems thinking is that competition is often cooperation in disguise. But apparently sometimes even the most intense competitions morph full-on into cooperation. I know this is not strictly a nonprofit story but it might create an “aha!” moment so here is the story.

Boston is a two paper town. It has the more liberal Boston Globe and the more conservative Boston Herald and their scorn for one another is a relished staple of local culture.

But today it was announced that the Globe and Herald are in talks to explore the possibility of the Globe printing and distributing the Herald in Boston. And it turns out that the Globe already has such agreements with the Herald on a smaller scale to “wholesale” it in Cape Cod and southern New Hampshire.

Shocking! But of course it makes perfect sense. Globe publisher Christopher Mayer said its only business. “This agreement would be similar to contracts we currently have with other local newspapers, and it would not affect any other areas of our operation” meaning, we expect, editorial.

NPQ has been covering the development of partnerships of many kinds among nonprofits over the past year. Are there some aspects of your work that would be better shared or outsourced? Or where you have the potential to provide a service to another organization? Worth a thought.—Ruth McCambridge