Creative became the buzz word which we use everyday without even thinking. Everything is creative or at least should be as most of us want to be where it is. This saturday I was heading to Kings Cross to meet 12 enthusiasts to discuss creative collaboration. Might sound cheesy and even superficial, but what really makes us to collaborate in creative way? And what do we need to really work creatively, come up with great ideas, deliver extraordinary projects and at the end of the day just feel that the things we have done and spent time on were worth it?
Our discussion team involved various creatives from music industry, interior design, project management and consultancy to software engineers experienced with companies such as Google. As you can imagine the plethora of opinions was quite diverse. First of all we discussed what is creative collaboration for each of us in everyday life and work?
The biggest differences I spotted was opinions of people working on their own projects, start up companies and volunteering positions to ones involved with companies in professional way. That means working with strict deadlines, strategies and budgets. If former group was talking about the importance of knowing each other, trust and open minded approach, the latter was emphasising the possibility to contribute, share opinion and have more flexible approach. Meaning you have an opportunity to fail and learn from your mistakes. It struck me, that right after most of us join companies our enthusiasm about creative collaboration decreases. We just focus on clients, deadlines and responsibility to avoid failure.
The other topic which I found appealing touched the question of leadership and putting the right minds together. Sometimes collaboration can be as simple as putting two people together to share their skills and work on the same task more successfully. As we say, two minds are always better than one. Really? I remembered projects when my team completely failed just because of the wrong combination of people. How do we put the right minds together? From my personal experience I know that sometimes collaboration is just perfect. Working with somebody who gets what you talk about, who believes in value of qualitative projects, has passion for interesting ideas — oh, those moments are just unbelievable! But how often we just happen to work with people who have no passion or are interested in completely different approaches. For example, just making profit instead of creating social good. I believe that people we work with are crucial. Random combinations more often fail than succeed.
Finally, leadership? How do we create environment of shared leadership, horizontal approach and flexible atmosphere? The opinions of our group were very diverse. Some saying that there has to be one clear leader, who is responsible for final product. Others claiming that leadership should be shared, allowing every contributor of the team to have his voice, enthusiasm and space to improvise. Well, it is clear that there is no correct answer. Everything depends on particular situation. Great leader can lead to unbelievable results, motivate team and make things happen. At the same time too ambitious self oriented leader can ruin both the motivation of the team and product/project itself.
After exploring our opinions and arguments we moved to sharing examples of successful creative collaboration. It was amazing! It is always refreshing to hear how people complete great projects, create teams and use various creative methods to do so. Just one thing — on this point again I spotted that most people talked with a smile about community projects, social initiatives and open technology.
At the end I just thought, why all of us avoid sharing professional corporate career moments?
Just to add, I highly recommend everybody to check out The Centre of Creative Collaboration. It is amazing open space to organise your projects, meet people and collaborate! You just have to introduce your idea, book time and here you go — time to start your own creative collaboration initiative! And just three minutes from the space you have a pub claiming to be the best one in London. Everyone who doesn’t agree is welcome to have a pint and argue! What can I say, it seems like Kings Cross is the best space in London to have discussions!
Creative Collaborations workshop was organised by Ricardo Davila Otoya and Federico Michettoni.