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The True Meaning of Collaboration

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It took a little while for us to figure out, like in any relationship, how to talk about [our creative differences] without taking it personally, and how to end up coming to the best creative conclusion. … We managed to figure out a system, with structure, and then stick to that — so it took the pressure off, so we could make collaborative decisions in an easier way.

Design Matters with Debbie Millman: Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton

The poem, “No Man is an Island,” by John Donne reminds us that we are all dependent on each other, required to work together as a team in order to survive. This same type of thinking can also be applied to the business of branding.

There are many brands, who I’ve had the opportunity to work with, that had a clear idea and built their voice and message in a compelling way. However, if you or your team feel like you’re alone on your journey to creating a new brand, your vision and options might be limited. You might also be setting yourself up for anxiety and a bit of frustration.

While building my business, I had the opportunity to work with other creative and business minded people who gave me the opportunity to grow as their peer and as a designer. They helped broaden my view of what I could offer my audience.

Collaboration.

This is a concept that has been misguided and misused many times; it means working together with others and bringing your best game into the project. It also means adjusting and figuring out the best way to create a strong and compelling product or service. Collaboration gives us the opportunity to iterate often and develop a stronger proposal.

Collaborative work has many faces and dynamics so I’m sure you’ll find a style that suits you best. Personally, I’m a big fan of working alongside peers with different strengths, backgrounds and levels of expertise to better enrich every project we work on. This not only benefits the project, it also enables us all to learn new skills and different perspectives.

Collaborative work is also team work.

When people work together, each person needs to bring their A-game and look at the consequence of every idea had or decision made by the team. Imagine working with a team whose members each have a unique and defined skill set to contribute to the project. Now, multiply that by the number of people… The result will be an amplified version of your initial proposal! If you take this approach, your project will have more integrity and a better understanding of the different fields and areas you can now serve (tweet this!).

Keep in mind that collaborative work will not only benefit the project or business, it will also prevent you from becoming burnt out. It will remind you why you started your business in the first place so that you’ll be able to serve your crowd better.

Do it for your business. Do it for yourself.

…And your mental health, your physical health, and your spiritual health. Do it to better serve your audience, build the best possible version of your product/service and don’t forget to be thankful for everyday you’re in business!

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