I am on the quest to explain my engineering students that an idea needs to stay “open” during the starting phase of a project as long as possible. I found this quote during my search for a line that captures it all:
“The challenge of staying open in a world designed to close you up”
My program is called Collaboration and Co-Creation and it is about growing ideas in a team. I love creating spaces for people working together on ideas.
There are so many books out there that list the steps one needs to follow. It creates an image that this is easy. The truth is that every how-to recipe ever created is not able to even remotely compare to reality. You know what I am talking about if you have ever tried to bring people together and deliver an idea as a group.
The real questions
The questions we face: Where does collaboration start and where does it end? Who is doing what until when? Which skills do we need to deliver what we are aiming at? What is the core of this idea that cannot be changed? When is it time to say no? What to do when things fall apart? How long to continue? When to stop?
Growing your idea in a team is hard. It cannot be captured in a book. We need to experience it. Why is this so?
Our egos in the way
We are all people with ideas. Big idea or small idea, we feel that they are our babies. My friend told me: “Ideas are only strategies to deliver our dreams to us.” It confirms the fact that we are really attached to our ideas. We think we are the only ones who know how exactly our idea needs to be shaped into a product or service. We think we own this idea.
The reality is that we cannot do anything alone. Our world has become so complex that different skills, mindsets and backgrounds need to come together to create something useful and meaningful. There is no way around working with other people, collaborating and at best co-creating that “thing” you want to create with your users.
For a good product the team behind it needs to own the idea. Every contributor needs to feel that he or she owns it. We do not want to create something nobody needs. This is sustainability in practice. It is meaningful because we ask others about what they need and create it for them. It makes sure that we solve real world problems. We have no more time to just play around, not considering consequences for our planet and our society as a whole. It is definitely more complicated but the only way I see.
We need to be aware that our egos come into the way. Can you see how our ego is stopping development? Can you imagine detaching our identities from the ideas we have without feeling at loss?
Set your ideas free
Personally knowing the trust in the universes it needs (or the pain it causes us) to let go of our fixed picture of our idea in our mind, I am proposing to set our ideas free and allow others to contribute, shape and nurture them, allowing true collaboration and co-creation to happen.