Friday, October 28, 2005

Good Collaboration is Key

In my last article post, I looked at the problems of a non-collaborative model of design. But what happens when everyone respects each other's role in a more collaborative environment?

First of all, it means that there will be more communication going on. Each person involved will need to understand their role in making something work from their individual environments. But they come together to discuss the possibilities from each other's viewpoint. Not to share limitations, but to create solutions. Not to erect barriers, but to knock down walls of defeatist thinking.

Second, it means that each person understands what is at stake. There is a shared camaraderie when everyone has a common goal to see success of a marketing campaign or product innovation, when everyone is humble enough to realize their own limitations, and when everyone works toward something they can't really see. There is an air of mystery in this process. But the results can be revolutionary. (On the flip side, revolutionary ideas hardly ever flow from tried and true solutions.)

Last, each person respects the roles of everyone involved. But this does not mean that everyone involved is the right person to be involved. Assembling a team who have the understanding and skills to bring about the results you are after is important before any real collaboration can exist. Then it is up to the members to cooperate under the understanding that anything is possible. Any rejection of ideas are only done after a process of testing and asking the right questions has happened: for example,

  • "Why have we not done it this way before?,"

  • "What do we stand to gain if we try it this way?,"

  • "What resources to we need to pull it off?"

We need to move away from the old model of defeatist thinking: for example,

  • "We've never done it this way before,"

  • "That's too much work,"

  • "This will surely fail."

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