I attended two collaboration events last week which came from different angles yet met somewhere in the middle. Firstly there was ‘Collaborative Leadership’ courtesy of the Global Business Partnership Alliance (GBPA). This interactive workshop was one of their ‘Discovery’ projects and amongst other things involved a practical task with one of three small groups to create a way of suspending a book above the floor. Here at NESTA the second event, ‘Co-Creation Rules’, was facilitated by Johnnie Moore and James Cherkoff (see their manifesto) who used techniques borrowed from improvised comedy to get us to loosen up and trust each other. The common theme that struck me was about rules. With the GBPA event our group crashed and burned because we quickly decided that suspending the book from the ceiling ‘wasn’t cricket’. No such inhibitions from our competitors! Then at ‘Co-Creation Rules’ I had learned to loosen up a bit and when the entire room of respectable academics, business people etc were asked to act out killing each other in slow-mo I was able to let rip.
So what has building a tripod out of the FT and attacking perfect strangers with a samuri sword taught me? That the art to encouraging creative collaboration is to discard many but not all of the rules we and our leaders impose. Aspire to ‘bounded freedom’.