Saturday, May 20, 2006

Creativity, collaboration and getting things done

Creativity is a fascinating thing. I think in many ways I am a creative person but my creativity usually needs a catalyst. Sometimes the catalyst is an idea, something I have read or something that I have heard someone say. I have said that I am not creative alone but I don't really mean that in terms of being with people. I need ideas to work with and then the creativity flows (well sometimes it flows).

Collaborating with someone, especially someone with their own ideas and their own creativity is, for me, probably the best way for me to work. Working with someone allows me to do a 'mind dump' and have that person use their own intelligence and perspectives to critique and help me see the valuable from the junk. And it works the other way - I think I am able to listen and re-create my collaborator's work too.

And the interaction always leads to something new - something unexpected. The collaboration allows us to push each other into areas of creativity that neither of us would venture to alone. Sometimes this is good and sometimes it just wastes time.

Collaboration also leads to something else for me - completion!! I have so many partially completed projects that I hate to open my file cabinet. But collaboration makes me responsible to my collaborator and I try to take that responsibility seriously.

All of this because Teresa and I have completed an article. We are submitting it to a prominent business education journal and have our fingers crossed that it will be accepted. The article wouldn't have been written if we hadn't collaborated.

Perhaps more importantly through our collaboration we have been able to see beyond the article. We see some research and pilot projects to support our ideas and to help us refine them. We see more articles further articulating these ideas we have created and shared. We see workshops for teachers and students. We see a stream of activity coming out of this fairly simple idea. We have turned the simple idea into a creative, more complex idea. That wouldn't have happened without the discussions, thinking, mutual motivation and mutual support that this collaboration facilitated.

It was hard work and intense and frustrating (sometimes) but worth it