Collaborating, what to be aware of?

Creativity and innovation are oftentimes associated with one another. Without creativity, no innovation and without innovation, creative ideas remain mostly untouched. Yet, there are only few people both very creative and great at innovation. Both areas require namely different competences. Creativity is about the development of new ideas and sharing these. Innovation is about commercializing great ideas.

Many companies are looking for different kinds of employees, all with their own qualities. By such means a company in which everybody has his own specialization is build. Where one takes care of the creative process, another looks after the innovation part. Within the cultural sector, and among performing arts in particular, this is more complicated. This sector exist mostly in freelancers who, for obvious reason, cannot easily hire someone. The solution is found in moving forward through collaboration.

But this is lot easier said, than done. There are many different factors determining the success of a collaboration. Consider clear division of tasks, the way a collaboration is organized, and the goals set by the collaborating partners. An additional complication is the fact that freelancers are at times both competitors as well as partners, and will always have to bear that in mind.

Perhaps, the most important factor causing a collaboration to succeed or to fail is the willingness to collaborate. This might seem overly obvious, but we see frequent collaborations fall apart because of this reason. So, it is interesting to research when someone is open for collaboration and which characteristics explain why one is more willing to collaborate than another.

The measure in which people are open to collaborate in the creative sector is hardly influenced by characteristics such as age, gender, income and education, although you might have expected so. However, what is of influence, is the way someone describes his creative competences. People who attribute themselves to be creative and perform their profession well, are more willing to collaborate, than people who assume themselves to be more creative and better than others. Probably explainable by the fact the last group will be of the opinion that their work isn’t going to be better whenever they would collaborate with others, while the first group believes the collaboration to be adding extra value to their ideas.

Are you looking for a partner to collaborate with? Figure out how you would like to collaborate first of all, and secondly what you expect of your partner. Are you looking for someone with (stronger) commercial competences, then focus on the connection you have with someone. When you are looking for someone with creative skills, it would be smart to look at the way they profile themselves. That is ultimately going to save you a lot of work.