The Creative Process and Collaboration

I am the daughter of an actor, writer, and director (my mother) and an entrepreneur (my father). When I was a little girl, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would often say “an actor, just like my mom.” Somewhere along the way, maybe around age eight, my answer changed to “I want to be a business owner, just like my dad.” Over 40 years later, I find that my journey has merged these two professions. My personal passion for the tourism industry came from my passion for business, entrepreneurship and economic vitality. My desire to explore the impact of collaboration on the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry is grounded in many experiences throughout my life. However, I can trace the very foundation back to those earliest desires to be an actor. The very essence of the creative process that happens when producing theatre is grounded in collaboration. Imagine how complete strangers enter a rehearsal on day one and emerge weeks later with a finished performance, a work of art. Have you ever wondered what it really takes to make that happen?

Communication is key to making that creative collaborative process work.  

In our collaboration impact study we found that 57% of travel, tourism and hospitality professionals cited poor communication between organizations as an obstacle to collaboration.

As I shared in Communication: Creating World-Changing Collaborations, there are some foundational strategies to making communication in collaboration work. These strategies are transparency, a shared vision, established roles and goals, and creating a plan for communication.

Those strategies are important but the real power to success is in the soft skills. In other words, it’s how you show up to the collaboration that will make the biggest impact. Let’s look at the creative collaborative process a little closer. In an interview on Steve Farber’s Love is Just Damn Good Business podcast, The Brothers Koren share their perspective on the art of collaboration. In that interview, the musical artists talk about good ego and bad ego and what they call daring to suck.

Good ego & Bad ego 

The Brothers Koren compare good ego and bad ego to good fats and bad fats. Good fats support a healthy diet while bad fats tend to stick around and cause negative health effects. Similarly, the good ego shows up for a healthy conversation and shares ideas without attachment to them. Meanwhile, the bad ego stays emotionally attached to the idea and wants to be sure the idea is used or liked. It is human nature to be emotionally attached to your ideas. The most powerful collaborations happen when people become conscious of the good and bad ego and choose to show up with the good one, without attachment.

Dare to suck 

Another way to think about this according to The Brothers Koren is to dare to suck. Share your first creative idea freely without filtering it. Let the idea be received and accept that it may or may not be used. Daring to suck feeds the collaborative process and will lead to stronger teams and bigger ideas.

“Yes, and…,”  

Another principle that can be helpful to productive and open communication among collaborators is one that has been used in improv (improvisational theater) for decades. “Yes, and…” those two words are used in improvisational theater as a method of allowing the participant to accept what one actor is saying and expand on it to create a bigger idea. This same technique can be used when brainstorming with a collaborative team. One person shares an idea and other participants accept that idea and expand on it without judgement. Adopting “Yes, and…” thinking will help you make sure that you have brought your good ego to the collaboration.

Bringing your good ego, daring to suck, employing “Yes, and…” thinking will set you up to be a successful collaborator. Can you think of examples where these soft skills have worked for you?

Find out your collaborator type, here in 60 seconds!