Recent Meridian Diver socials and dive trips have shown the benefits of collaboration and mutual support , what has been achieved has been utterly impressive, way beyond anything I have previously experienced in the world of SCUBA diving.
I think the MD network has shown the way for others to follow and I think, not least with the economic downturn that the whole country is facing that businesses too are likely to look more and more at collaborative approaches. It doesn't make great economic sense to have assets sitting around under used so the best use of resources may be for businesses to break-down their traditional boundaries and work in a more networked collaborative fashion. SCUBA industries will probably increasingly discover this as necessity is the mother of invention (even if we're not sure who the father is!!)
Keeping boats, dive sites and providing other diving services is costly and if disposable income continues to drop we will undoubtedly see greater collaboration in the industry. This is good news for a network of divers (or customers if you prefer) all looking for quality opportunities and able to share information on 'what's good'! Of course something to watch-out for in any economic downtown is cost-cutting causing a downward pressure on standards!