Working alone is cool—no one can tell you how dumb your ideas actually are unless you’ve got a massive internal conflict—but what’s cooler than working alone is collaborating with other people.
I recently got elected onto the board of the Central PA chapter of AIGA (shouts out to the board members) and learned this very quickly. Everything we do in the organization is a constantly sharing and learning process.
This echoed the environment at Maga. Another thing I noticed is that most of the best ideas started with a simple joke. Here’s a few ways to be on the road to better collaboration.
Seriously Not Serious
In AIGA, we started an event called Pens & Pints last month and it was wildly successful. A dude from Neenah Paper showed up completely unprompted and watched me spill beer on my shirt.
This whole idea came from me and another board member joking about having our laptops in a bar in another meeting. I joked, “What if we just went to a bar and started drawing?”
And there it was.
Working Smarter, but Still Harder
Collaboration promotes a knowledge-sharing environment—you aren’t so closed in a lonesome glass house. Ideas can easily bounced off of each other at a moments notice, making it more of an open patio.
This does require working with the right kind of people, but when it’s good, it sure is great.
Leave Your Ego at the Door
Some people get offended when feedback is given to them, but most of the time it’s meant in good heart. Changes and fixes aren’t meant to be insulting—it’s like getting a tune up on your car.
Design in general is iterative—your work is only sort of done, until the next problem arises. It’s with this feedback that you can accurately iterate and create something that’s outside of your own thought.
Divide and Conquer
With a team, you can also get so much more done quicker. No more paralyzing college flashbacks of staying up all night to finish a paper.
Upon dividing and conquering, it’s now a relationship—each partner giving and taking to reach a greater, quicker goal.
A Better Tomorrow
The best work I’ve done has often come out of collaboration. Whether in Maga, AIGA, or anything else, it’s always nice to have another set of eyes to help you out and provide feedback.
It’s not always good feedback, but nine out of ten times it’ll lead you to where you want to go. You might want to be a lone wolf, but most people forget that wolves come in packs.