Sometimes we have ideas which are great, but which don't happen because of a variety of reasons: we feel we lack of time or expertise; we only have part of an idea; our idea is basically good, but limited by our thinking; we feel we 'have' to do it all ourselves and not ask for help.
If you have ever found a project stalling before it starts for any of these reasons, collaboration is a fabulous opportunity for people to come together to share their expertise, enthusiasm and commitment to a project.
Collaboration can get you working with people with complementary skill sets and extended networks. Projects having access to cross disciplinary approaches can by virtue of resources expand into something more ambitious. It can make a project or group seem more credible or professional, and/or extend its' reach.
People bringing different ways of thinking together to reach a shared goal or vision can open up unlimited possibilities of innovative ideas and solutions. They can engender change in the project, the group and the individual. Working together as a team inspires motivation for those days when we need a little extra kick to get us going. Collaboration can also be, dare I say it, fun!
There are many ways to discover new potential collaborators, such as finding each other via support networks like Creative Hubs or Devoted and Disgruntled, or organically from talking with people. The key is to be listening out at all times for people who seem to be on your wavelength, have shared interests and similar vision and to be open to possibility.
How you collaborate, especially in this technological age, is now completely open. I work with clients face to face, over the phone, by Skype and by email. I know a couple who are collaborating on a musical project over the net with the composer in Thailand and the lyricist in Aberdeen. And there is always a place for people to be together in a room kicking ideas around.
In my extensive professional life, my best experiences have been those where I was an active part of a collaborative project, bringing my skills to the group to give others the freedom to fly. A recent example of this was the Crystal Wedding Lounge, where I brought people with a shared interest together, who then designed their own group goal bringing together their combined knowledge to create a regular event, with the next one on 3rd March.
For a great insight into collaborative working, check out The Collaborative Habit by Twyla Tharp, detailing her collaborations with Billy Joel, Jerome Robbins, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, David Byrne, Richard Avedon, Milos Foreman, Norma Kamali and Frank Sinatra. It is a fascinating read of Ms Tharp’s projects, but also a great guide on how to manage and be an effective part of a collaboration.
If you want to find out if collaborating in a coaching partnership will support you, book for a Light the Blue Touchpaper session.