How To Avoid A Goat Rodeo In Your Creative Process

How To Avoid A Goat Rodeo In Your Creative Process

in Blog, Brainstorming, Collaboration and Technology
How To Avoid A Goat Rodeo In Your Creative Process

Malorie McCall
Collaboration, brainstorming published an article titled Genius Loves Company: 4 Ways to Cultivate Creative Collaboration, reinforcing how critical collaboration is during the creative process.

“But anyone who has experienced first-hand the acute pain involved in getting a group of creative people to effectively “collaborate” can attest to how difficult this is. Think goat rodeo. More often than not, the project lurches ahead (or sometimes sideways or even backwards), with competing ideas for creative direction. Concepts are painstakingly nurtured only to be unceremoniously discarded. Work festers awaiting review. Approvals are ambiguously granted, then denied when the approver doesn’t like what they see in the next round…It’s a hot mess.”

The creative process mystifies us. It draws on the subconscious, experience, connections, imagination. We believe it’s a profoundly individual experience. And yet we often find ourselves solving problems and innovating as a group. How do we integrate all these individual creative processes into a whole? That is a particularly challenging aspect of teamwork.

Entrepreneur’s article included four ways to help overcome this solo mentality and optimize creative collaboration:

  • Communicate often,
  • Get out of email,
  • Minimize cat herding and
  • Don’t leave people out.

Communication is no surprise. The article points to a MIT study that scientifically demonstrated the importance of frequent communication, both formal and informal in the creative process. But while quantity is key, let’s not forget about quality. Whether or not you agree with a person’s ideas, listening and responding with respect results in a more productive brainstorm.

Managing creative collaboration is hard; no one likes to be micromanaged and very few like being told what to do. The best way to get around that is to a) keep a close eye on the process, making sure it stays straightforward and b) involve other stakeholders early so they can provide input.

Here are some additional tips:

Use the right tool for the job.

Email is not adapted for idea exchange. Use a shared space where the whole team can post their ideas and then solicit feedback from a larger group of stakeholders.

Set norms for group behavior at the start of the project.

How are we going to communicate? What is the review and approval process? Pay attention to the amount of asynchronous communication and make sure that you build in some face-time, either virtually with video or face to face. Healthy relationships are the soul of collaboration.

Don’t let logjams simmer.

To eliminate the perception of arbitrariness, build in some activities that drive consensus. Try doing a team review where the input is anonymous to encourage honest feedback, then let the group prioritize the projects or ideas using criteria that everyone agrees to.

FacilitatePro supports creative collaboration, helping participants brainstorm and evaluate ideas, collecting and distilling them into the clearest output possible, making creative collaboration effective and productive.

Great collaboration is only great if the process is well executed.

About FacilitatePro

FacilitatePro LogoFacilitatePro is a cloud based or self hosted application that helps groups brainstorm and evaluate ideas, from any device, anywhere, anytime. Ideas you can implement. Decisions that have buy-in. FacilitatePro collects and distills your rain of ideas into the highest quality, clearest output possible to make your brainstorm effective and productive.

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FacilitatePro is a pleasure to work with. I have another event tomorrow. Being able to work up ideas in parallel is going to shorten the event by 2 or 3 hours. Also, virtually everyone in the event is a strong introvert. Letting them write anonymously in their own little world should be a great help. And, being able to make real-time changes in a conference as the session evolves helps keep the team on track
-Charles V. Dunton, Senior Facilitator, NASA Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
NASA Langley Research Center