In her social capital keynote, Margaret Heffernan explores an alternative model for success. She uses a chicken-based study to explain the way we are taught to compete and get to the top, where we give superstars all the resources and power, is actually self-destructive and results in aggression, dysfunction and waste.
Another study on successful team work indicated determining factors were high degrees of social sensitivity to each other, roughly equal time to given to each member and more female involvement. This illustrates that "social connectedness" or social capital is key. It's what happens between people that matters, and the time spent with one another. The social capital keynote uses the example of the music industry, where outstanding collaborators enjoy longer careers.
The speaker passionately argues rivalry has to be replaced by social capital. Instead of motivating employees with money (which is shown to erode social cohesion), talented people need to motivate each other.