The Art of Collaboration:  A Series on Creativity 

The world of art and culture are filled with unique collaborations; musicians, photographers, filmmakers, all collaborate in teams to create the art or vision that drives them. Working in a team atmosphere is something people say they can do at job interviews; but unique visions while created by a single person must be executed by a collaborative process that makes for partnerships in some of the most extraordinary places. Collaboration is a very important skill to have.  The art of collaboration is one of the most important qualities a creator develops to reach his or her vision.  The business world has already “co-opted” this word to explain why they need teams of people to populate their administrative chains of command.  The mis-characterizion of what the collaborative process is became clear to me when I heard that Google was working incredibly hard to define it:  They had an entire department analysing the art of “collaboration” and its important features that make for success in this type of work environment.  Perhaps you can set the rules of engagement so everyone can feel both successful and empowered by the process.  That is admirable.  But, like trying to capture a snowflake, can you really put something as elusive as “collaboration” into words or instigate a system that “explains it all”?   I say, no, not possible.  The art of collaboration relies on a number of highly honed skills that are separate, but equal and rely totally on the chemistry of the people involved.  Collaboration, for me is alot like “love” because you never know how things will go in your relationship but you are willing to commit to the process; its messy, not always perfect, and frought with personality differences.  One of the greatest collaborations for example, “the Beatles” was a combination of many aspects that made them one of the most successful bands in history.  If you see them together in a typical press interview of the 1960’s or 1970’s when they were actively touring and recording they can’t really explain it. It just worked. That’s the miracle, the magic, the mystery of a unique collaboration.  

Join us for the next few months as we look at successful collaborations and explore what makes unique ideas, art, products, engineering, and life as we know it in the 21st century a series of collaborations that make for a better world. 

Palo Alto, CA 2016