The Innovation Tug of War: should we cut our competitors some slack?

Last week I spoke with Reuters reporter Nichola Groom about her recent article on the carbon tracking market and how, as her article states, "more than 50 companies offer software products that measure carbon footprints.  I then remembered a similar article from earlier this summer by Lindsay Riddell of the San Francisco Business Times.  Lindsay's conclusion: "Competition is heating up in the carbon accounting software market...and companies across the globe clamor for a piece of the carbon accounting action."  I am reminded daily of this intense greentech competition, and it's not exclusive to the carbon accounting market.  Solar companies race to see who can reach grid parity the fastest, car makers scramble to create the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market, and start-ups across industries compete for funding.  So I'm left asking myself this question: amidst all of this competition, where is the collaboration?
 
With this question in mind, I welcomed Carolyn Heinze's recent article for EnergyBiz Insider.  Carolyn writes: "If a smarter grid is to work, then utilities must be open to working more closely with one another."  Carolyn talks about workshops designed to help both utilities and vendors explore potential working relationships.  Carolyn's article is a breath of fresh air.  It's a reminder that, while competition makes innovation more exciting, we need to find a balance between the competitive and the collaborative. 
 
What do you think? Will greater emphasis on collaboration stifle the entrepreneurial spirit that brings new technologies to life (for example, would Apple have grown at the same rate if it didn't have to battle Microsoft for market share)?  How do we find the right balance so we don't lose sight of our broader goals, which in the case of greentech involve a cleaner, healthier planet? 
 
Contributed by Susan Wise.  Follow her @swise