Collaborative creativity is a phrase often used in the arts world. Here, bringing people together to explore emotions, themes, characters, both positively and negatively, is a normal course of action. Taking initial thoughts on an entire journey; delving deep into concepts and running with ideas until a natural stop.
In contrast, while in the corporate environment we are good at bringing people together, we often lack the depth required of the collaboration. Poor focus, limited goals, frameworks and risk assessments.
There’s also, in our experience, a lack of desire to cross-collaborate; bringing people from different areas of the business, at different levels to take a business challenge and fully explore it, inside and out.
But how often do a group of people, all with similar skills, attitudes, backgrounds, come up with something new and exciting? Hardly ever… And when there is no clear objective, never.
Creative collaboration is all about bringing people together, viewing a challenge from different perspectives and then combining that knowledge and insight to, together, create a solution. A solution which can then be strategised, planned and implemented effectively.
This sort of collaboration can only thrive when you create the right environment to do so. An environment which allows cross-functional groups of people to lock themselves away, for a specific amount of time with zero interruptions and can focus on a single business challenge.
Hackathons are the perfect example of this. Originally originating in the technological world, a sort of competition for coders, teams of different people would come together to develop new products in up to 48 hours. Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, multi-million dollar company, GroupMe, and Memo, a personal home assistant app for people living with dementia, are all results of successful hackathons.
This concept is now being adopted in businesses; helping ‘hack’ specific business challenges in a time bound workshop, using creativity. It’s high energy, competitive, and most importantly, focused.
Building Creative Collaboration
Whether it’s a hackathon, better brainstorming or simply wanting people to come together, here’s our top tips to help you achieve creative collaboration in your business:
- Create the right behaviours – to encourage collaborative creativity, people need to have the right skills; particularly helping them come up with ideas and then recording them. Once the behaviours are in place, create the time and space for people to think. Let them know creativity is part of your culture.
- Creativity loves constraint – structure, constraint and boundaries aren’t the first words you think of when it comes to creativity and innovation; however, the best ideas can only be implemented if they follow the right framework for your business. Set non-negotiables, be clear on budgets and have timescales.
- Be clear on the challenge – keep your collaboration simple, one challenge, one focus. Clearly articulate this and seek out the right stimulus (link to power of stimulus blog) so that the team involved can re-think current conventions, identify opportunities and generate great solutions.