Collaboration Through the Eyes of High School Seniors

By Bob Allen

How does one “collaborate?” Multiple people working together to create one thing. Easier said than done. Though collaboration can cause difficult disagreements and arguments, it is also the pathway to new innovative ideas and creative discoveries. The goal here is to get to the genius ideas while avoiding anger and conflict. Of course, there will never be NO conflict, in fact, some disagreement is good, necessary. From debate comes new, original ideas. The problem comes when people get too attached to their ideas. This is understandable, you are your idea’s biggest fan and you want it to succeed, but sometimes this makes people blind to the ideas of others. We work as a group of three, and we now know that to get the best results everybody needs to stay open minded.

In our experience so far we have discovered two ways things can go. The first we tried was to work separately to come up with and then compare, or work together on one thing every step of the way. We have tried both, and decided which method is most effective for our team. Coming up with our own project allows us to compare and give constructive criticism about each other’s ideas. For example, we worked on sketching out design ideas for an advertisement. We each did our own designs and then discussed our opinions about each. The negative here is that you have to pick one and go with it in the end. That’s the good part about working with each other all along. You each get your own ideas thrown into the main result.

The method, however, doesn’t work on its own. There’s a set of guidelines we’ve started to follow while working together. The first, share a common end goal before starting. If the group doesn’t share a common goal then the ideas will be all over the place and much harder to narrow down. This next one is to not take things personally, if you show each other art designs and someone says “I don’t like the color scheme in yours” don’t take it personally you have to realize that they are talking about that particular design not you. At the same time when you are the person commenting on the art you must do your best to be respectful. Don’t say “your colors don’t match at all” speak in general terms like “this color scheme seems a bit off, maybe we could revise it” notice the second one doesn’t say “your” and includes “maybe”.

BE RESPECTFUL! Everyone has their own creative process, views, and ideas. Even if you disagree with them, you have to try to understand them and just keep an open mind. Here’s the big one: what happens when you all like each other’s ideas equally, you’ve followed all the previous guidelines but now you’re stuck? An outside view is always helpful. Don’t just listen to what they like most but why they like it. Lastly and most importantly you have to get along professionally with everyone on the team. You don’t have to be friends but thoughts like “well he likes him better then me” or “her ideas are always boring she just shouldn’t be here” always have negative results, remember each person has good ideas at some point. In our team, we have three very opinionated people including a demonic horror fan, a vegan environmentalist, and an Eagle Scout. Regardless of our views we find it interesting to listen to each other’s opinions and we all get along. Plus, the shared love of all things nerdy certainly helps. While working together we get some pretty rockin’ ideas. We have confidence that any team that follows these guidelines will also have good results.

This blog was written by interns, three incoming seniors at Dr. Phillips High School, Olivia Allen, JW Kent, and Javan Zigo

July 28, 2014|Archive|

About the Author: Bob Allen

Bob spent 25 years with the Walt Disney Company before founding IDEAS back in 2001. He is a nationally recognized speaker, avid bike rider, and Zen teacher/practitioner.

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