As a business owner, the most important role I play in my company is as a creative, working on the business and determining where to level it up. Creativity is important at every level of my company because marketing is a creative business. However, no matter what type of business you have, as a leader, your role requires creativity. It’s important to foster creativity in your own life as well as in your team members though sometimes it can be hard to get the creativity rolling, especially when you have a lot of things on your mind. Working in the creative mindset requires time, energy, and practice to do it well.
When I’m stuck in a creative rut, there’s one thing that tends to help me find inspiration: collaborating with another person. Do you ever have a conversation with a friend, trade thoughts, and come away inspired with new, innovative ideas? There’s something about working together that can jumpstart creativity. The new perspectives that come out of conversations with others are often better than those you create alone.
So why does talking to another person help so much with creativity? It’s because everybody thinks differently, has a different background and skillset, and looks at the world in a different way. When you combine these things with your own background, skillsets, and outlooks, it’s like laying two different colored lenses on top of one another, creating a new color with which to see. Having a team of people with different perspectives and backgrounds is important because everyone brings something different to the table to create new ideas and find new solutions to problems. The same goes for creativity.
Combining minds, either one-on-one or as a team, allows for better brainstorming. You can create more ideas in a shorter period of time and together have an easier time narrowing the ideas down to the best ones. Each person will think of contingencies others overlooked.
Furthermore, working with a partner on a creative project can energize you and help you execute ideas in a way that wouldn’t be possible alone. A partner creates external motivation and gives you a level of accountability to your project that’s difficult to create when working on something alone. Even if you’re not working on the project together, I recommend talking to peers about your creative projects and exchanging creative goals to encourage accountability. And when you do collaborate on a project, the ability to divide tasks based on specialties or areas of interest can also assist in maintaining momentum to achieve faster and more effective results.
When working collaboratively on any kind of creative project, trust is necessary. Strong relationships are key to effective collaboration. This is especially important to keep in mind when it comes to teams. It takes a certain amount of confidence to share one’s creative ideas, and giving up parts of a creative project to others also requires trust in their abilities. In a work environment, it may not always be possible to choose collaborators you already trust, but you can take steps to build trust and camaraderie. Ensure that each participant has a voice and is able to take ownership over their area of expertise. Show appreciation for the part each collaborator plays in the project.
You’ll get the most out of a collaborative effort if you find methods of collaboration that allow everyone involved to bring their best work to the table. Depending on what type of project you’re working on, that could be a digital tool like Google Docs or Sheets, or it could be the way you format collaborative meetings and how you divide work. Does everyone work on their portion of the project at the same time, or is it done in steps? To what extent do participants give input on each other’s work? Whether you’re working with a partner or a team, setting these things up from the start can help the creative process go smoothly. It’s often a good idea to ask each participant how they work best and find a method everyone can agree on.
The most important aspect of any collaborative creative project is ensuring collaborators share a vision and mission to keep projects and ideas moving toward the same goal. Everyone needs to have the same end result in mind or it will not be possible to create a cohesive project. This is why the ideation phase of any creative project is important, and collaboration during this early creative phase can create better results in the long run by allowing each person involved to express their ideas early on to ensure a joint vision.
Whether you’re stuck in a creative rut and need some inspiration or are trying to accomplish a difficult creative project, collaborating with a peer or with a team might be the best solution to help you stay motivated and execute the project to create the best possible end product.