The Ideal Collaborative Team, and A Conversation on the Collaboration Process.


The Ideal Collaborative Team

A New Survey Suggests that Attitude is More Important than Experience in Collaborative Work

A recent survey conducted jointly by Mitch Ditkoff and Tim Moore of Idea Champions, Carolyn Allen of Innovation Solution Center and Dave Pollard of Meeting of Minds reveals that most people would rather have inexperienced people with a positive attitude than highly experienced people who lack enthusiasm, candor or commitment, on a collaborative work team.

Two criteria, enthusiasm for the subject of the collaboration, and open-mindedness and curiosity, are rated as the most important criteria by virtually all segments of respondents. More than half of all respondents rated these qualities as indispensable in a collaboration partner. By contrast, five experience-related criteria (proven trustworthiness, collaboration experience, previous familiarity with other members of the team, reputation in the field of the collaboration, and business experience), rate at or near the bottom of the 39 criteria assessed by participants.

Candor, courage and timeliness of follow-through are also rated very important qualities in a collaborator, along with strong listening, feedback and self-management skills and diversity of ideas.

These findings, most of which are based on responses from experienced collaborators, seem to suggest that just about any group of appropriately motivated people can be effective collaborators, and that good collaboration is more art, and perhaps chemistry, than science. Read the rest.

Also with this report:

A Conversation On The Collaboration Process

In order to make the results of this survey even more valuable to readers, we thought it would be useful to provide some insight not only into who are the best collaborators, but how one can better conduct collaborative activities. Rather than conducting another survey, we decided to tap our collective (and collaborative) experience as collaborators, and we concluded that the best way to relate this was through a conversation. The conversation follows the full report.

Update!: Carolyn has put a .pdf copy of the report on her blog here.
And those who’d like to watch the original wiki version of the Conversation continue (or even participate in the Conversation), can find it here.

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4 Responses to The Ideal Collaborative Team, and A Conversation on the Collaboration Process.

  1. Dave Pollard says:

    ETBNC wrote:Remarkable things happen when people share a vision.

  2. dave davison says:

    Can we reset our collaboration by first filling out the survey form mutually and see how we rate as potential collaborators.thanks for the mention of our dinner in your previous post. I look forward to getting the program up and running and have already set some wheels in motion.More later

  3. dispatx says:

    Although I have not yet had time to read the entire report, I have skimmed through it and can see what I feared – that despite the good intentions and the analysis, all of which looks very interesting and useful, my initial concern that ‘people would rather have inexperienced people … ‘ is based on means and not ends does appear to be justified. To elaborate : at, our focus is the creative method – the organising process that translates creative vision into creative output – and we have spent the past 20 months reviewing the notion of collaboration with co-workers and contributing artists. By championing a rigorous approach to the problem-space of a given theme or concept, we ask collaborators and collaborating groups to work together in creating art that expresses the correct level of individuality whilst remaining aligned to the theme. With this specific end in mind, we have noted that when there is no fixed output to a collaborative work – or no fixed timeline – people and groups are more productive when expertise is not allowed to throttle the proceedings: just what the study reported on your blog found. However, we have also been interested to note that when groups and individuals are working to a timeline or to a specific end, it is lack of expertise that can drown the end product and leave the group with no output. People may not enjoy the presence of an expert with no enthusiasm, but as long as that expert doesn’t specifically impede progress, the group dynamic will function more productively. In brief perhaps what one might be saying is that there is a ‘right answer’ in some cases, and while energetic monkeys may produce shakespeare eventually, if I were working to the clock I would prefer a lethargic Shakespeare scholar.

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    Oliver (dispatx): That echoes my own sense, as I mentioned in the report. I have a respect for genius, more than for knowledge and experience or enthusiasm, and I would rather have a brilliant misanthrope on my collaboration team than either a less intelligent subject matter expert or a less intelligent cheerleader. But that may just mean I’m a snob ;-)

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