How Can We Encourage Collaboration?

There is something very primal about working together with others. Collaboration on a project can be rewarding in ways that working in isolation isn’t.

In the music industry, it is very common for musical artists to collaborate. Whether it is a musician playing on a track, two singers performing a duet, or a producer mixing an entire album, collaboration is frequent.

Unfortunately, in other walks of life working together is less common. There are many reasons why that may be. For instance, co-workers might be competing for the same promotion and so they have no motive to work together. Or it may not be obvious how two disparate jobs could collaborate on a single project.

But more often, the concept of a joint effort simply doesn’t occur to people. If you meet someone socially at a party, for example, you may not give any thought to their job or how you might collaborate together.

How might that change? Would if be possible to view another person, and the expertise they have, as an opportunity to make something that neither could make independently? How can we encourage collaboration?

Related questions: Where do shared ideas exist? What do we have in common? What makes a community? Alone or together?

What Is Your Favorite Shared Experience?

Humans are a social species. We like to connect with other humans, to share ideas and experiences. A shared experience, like a movie or a concert, is more enjoyable than the same activity done in isolation.

As such, things we can do together have a special place in our psyches. We remember where we were when a impactful moment happens, one that everyone knows. The moon landing. 9/11. The space shuttle Challenger explosion.

Often these events can be traumatic, like the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. or JFK. But they can also be a cultural event, like the final episode of a TV show like M*A*S*H or Seinfeld. Or a movie like The Avengers, or a sporting event like the Super Bowl.

Personally, I don’t know much about Game of Thrones. I’ve never read any of the books or seen any of the TV shows. But I felt a sense of loss as the final few episodes aired recently.

The shows aren’t going anywhere. Now that they are all done, I can binge watch the whole thing any time I want. But the communal feeling that viewers had, knowing that a large percentage of society was paying attention, cannot be recaptured.

I wish I had been part of a viewing party. Or been able to talk to friends or co-workers about what shocking thing happened last night. Or been able to appreciate the late night talk show jokes, or read any of the seemingly endless blogs or magazine articles dissecting every minor detail of each of the last few episodes.

Those moments, of a shared community, makes us feel like we are part of more than just our tiny selves.

When have you felt a part of a cultural moment? What is your favorite shared experience?

Related questions: What is your favorite experience? Where do shared ideas exist? Why do we feel the need to belong? What do we have in common? What makes a community?