What is Creative Collaboration?

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.

Gintarė Žitkevičiūtė
About author:
Gintarė Žitkevičiūtė
Gintare Zitkeviciute is Art Pit’s thinker and doer. In her work practise, she values lean approach, creativity and quick decisions. She doesn't like working with random people and thinks that a team is a heart of successful project. For that reason, she carefully picks people she works with on everyday basis. She is mostly interested in innovatio... Read further >
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