“The Best Minds Are Made Even Better By Their Ability To Work With Others” – Walter Isaacson’s next Book will be on the Digital Age and Collaborations

Collaborate, verb:
to work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something
work jointly on an activity, esp. to produce or create something.

Collaborative HabitCollaboration isn’t an airy concept but a practice that’s found in our daily reality… Time to plant the fields? Everybody pitched in and got it done. Harvest time? The community raced to get the crops in before the rains came. Where were those crops stored? In barns built by teams of neighbors…. 
A celebrity is made up of many people, usually a team… 
You can’t force people to collaborate. You can make them share offices and serve on committees together, but if their hearts aren’t in it, the process is an empty shell. Personal, emotional commitment is crucial… 
Be sure everyone on the team gets acknowledged… 
As a choreographer, my task is to make the best possible work with the dancers I find in the room on any given day.
Twyla Tharp, The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together


Walter Isaacson, President & CEO of the Aspen Institute, biographer of Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Henry Kissinger and Steve Jobs, has a new book coming out this fall. (Read about it here). Here’s a brief description of the upcoming bookThe Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution:

In a statement released by his publisher, Isaacson says he would go on beyond the headlines and tell how many of the major digital innovations were produced through collaborations. He says the best minds were made even better by their ability to work with others.

For some reason, I’ve been thinking about “collaborations” lately. This is definitely an era that proves the power of a good collaboration, and the more we can learn about how to participate well in the act of collaborating (remember, “collaborate” is a verb), the more we can help move things forward in every endeavor we tackle.

When people work together – genuinely together – pooling their training and wisdom and ideas and expertise, what they can accomplish together is greater than what any one can accomplish on his/her own.

And I think there is a subtle challenge in this. There may be a fine line between a good collaboration and a desire for a corroboration. A collaboration requires an “open mind” of all within the group. But when a person seeks to be dominant, and wants “confirmation and support,” such a person seeks corroboration, not collaboration.

In other words, one produces more ideas, more breakthroughs, and ultimately greater outcomes while the other may produce fewer ideas, and much less of a breakthrough.

In other words, “the best minds are made even better by their ability to work with others.”

Here’s a simple test. Are you currently working with any one at this moment? Are you in the midst of a collaboration? I have a hunch that the only way to get good at collaborating is to be collaborating with others on actual challenging projects as often as possible. Thus when one collaboration is completed, the next is ready to begin.   Collaborating will make you better at being a good partner in the next important collaboration.

You know: practice, practice, practice…


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