On Collaboration

The collaborative process allows for creativity beyond that possible by an individual. We are all limited in our knowledge. To complete a task one must either be knowledgeable enough to execute it with grace, or one must go to others who know how to complete it. The first route is what many strive for. To be self-sufficient is a prized quality. It signifies an individual strength capable of pulling oneself to ones full potential. If there is no one that must be relied on, there is no one to hold you back. Yet to get to this point, one must be sufficiently trained in multiple aspects a task. The learning curve for some things is too steep; it can take many years to produce something that is no longer seen as an amateur product. To create a project that is truly ambitious, that incorporates many aspects from many different areas of study; one would have to study a lifetime.


Collaboration offers a chance to create a project that is beyond the scope of any one individual’s knowledge. The conductor of an orchestra does not necessarily know how to play every instrument. He must understand the role of each instrument, and he must understand how they play together, but it is the individual musicians that create the subtle nuances, which fully bring the composition to life. Similarly, a collaborative projects must utilize everyone’s strength to create a piece that is cutting edge. Let the musician handle the sound, the visual artist create the aesthetic, and the computer scientist program the piece. Each individual will far surpass what could have been done if one person had tried to master all the disciplines, and the process of creation becomes far less arduous.


In a healthy collaboration, everyone gets the better end of the deal. If your specialty is fabrication, then you view your job of building to be natural, and look upon the others as taking on a daunting and near impossible task such as programming. At the same time, the programmer feels right at home in front of the computer, performing the task that the fabricator sees as nearly impossible. To the programmer, the thought of attempting to construct the piece is so foreign that it could take longer for him or her to begin construction than it would take for the fabricator to finish the piece. In a fraction of the time that it would take one person, the piece is finished, and all aspects have been executed in a skilled, polished, and sophisticated manner.


An efficient process allows for the piece to evolve much farther than it otherwise would. What an individual might have considered a final piece becomes a prototype or inspiration for the collaborative group, acting as a new beginning. Further, collaborative efficiency allows for more projects to be completed in a given amount of time. With a higher production of work, the preciousness of an individual piece is lessened. This makes experimentation less risky, and with more experimentation comes more innovative, cutting edge work.