Engaging Collaboration

We live in a new era — mostly of self-expression, but not so much of listening. We are not Hamlet so much these days — we are broadcasters of the self… Selfhood is extremely important, of course — who can deny it? — but when you make the self the outer limit of your politics, you then begin to ignore a great deal of the attitudes, situations, dilemmas, misery of others. So there should be a limit, I think, on the limiting factor of selfhood. Listening — that is, abandoning the self and abandoning yourself to another’s point of view — is what the internet has not really given us. It’s given us trolls, it’s given us tsunamis of opinion. Perhaps it’ll take a bend in the future that we can’t yet foresee.

~Ian McKewan – Nutshell

Like life, the Internet is non-linear. This week’s article builds on last week’s, but at the same time sets it up as I seek to focus on the collaborative aspects of engagement.

The need for collaboration gets bandied around a lot these days, but I remain convinced that few understand how it works in ‘collective creation’. No – we haven’t always done it. No, it is not ‘the team working around the table together. And NO – virtualizing the team and doing daily scrum meetings do not collaborative teams make.

I think it is still emerging as a force that we do not quite yet understand. And again, we find the world of the arts leading the way. A cursory review of newspapers, magazines and your RSS feeds will reveal all kinds of collaborative stories that are garnering attention because there are a number of artists talking about the importance of collaboration in producing their work.

I am not a fan of Kanye West – but I can’t help but feel that ‘The Life of Pablo’ is one of those collaborative processes. As the NYT had it …

If there ever will be a truly complete take on “Pablo,” it should include all of these things: maybe a collector’s edition that includes T-shirts and handstitched tweets and a fashion lookbook and behind-the-scenes documentary video footage and cached web pages and exhaustive demos documenting the songs at their various phases of evolution. Thanks to Mr. West’s living, breathing creative process, the album is no longer just a snapshot, but an unending data stream.

By the way, I love that the article that this quote was taken from includes this line at the end …

A version of this article appears in print on February 21, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Kanye West’s Latest Album: Ever in Flux, Even After Release .


But this isn’t a new idea. You can go back to 1965 and read John Fowles’ ‘The Magus’ and then jump to 1977 and read his ‘revised’ version. BTW – if you have seen the movie – don’t’ judge the book. The book is as amazing as the film is bad. Oh and in case you were wondering, Fowles didn’t rush The Magus. It was a book he started writing long before his first two published books were even started. In all, he took 12 years to write that first book and then was still unsatisfied with the outcome.

And that is important. There is a strong argument that creativity is a journey … not a destination. There is no ‘ big bang ’ of creativity … it is ongoing. Let me point the podcast listeners out there to Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Revisionist History’. Specifically episode 7. In it, Gladwell looks into two pieces of modern music. A track called ‘The Deportees Club’ by Elvis Costello and another track called ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen. He then compares and contrasts these two musical artists to two fine artists; Picasso and Cezanne

His argument – because that is indeed what Revisionist History is all about, is that creativity is not a single massive shock that dents the space-time continuum … it can be – but it is really a long, slow iterative process. In fact, his point is – I believe – that even in those times where it appears that there is a big bang creation, it actually isn’t. It is alliteration.

I would add that few – very few – have the talent to iterate without external input. We all hone our skills, our knowledge, our work with the input of others. That’s collaboration. Great artists have done it forever. Humanity is just learning to.

We should now. A great starting point would be last week’s article ‘Collaborating For Engagement’ – where I introduced a simple process for how writers for BIZCATALYST360° can all help each other. To save you the click-through, let me lay it out again.

Here is my process
  • Every week, just like us all, I receive an email from Dennis, which highlights the week’s articles that he has curated.
  • I batch open every link to a set of tabs on my browser.
  • I at least speed ready every article – and if it truly catches my eye, read in detail.
  • As I read through – I click on the embedded tweet links in each article that are already prepared and formatted by Dennis and the team.
  • And then I ‘buffer’ every article. (Check out buffer app), which has the result of tweeting, G+ing, and LinkedINING (are they even words) that article. If I used Facebook it would do that as well. If I paid for buffer, I would also be able to Pin it through this process.
  • I also comment if I can – either a thank-you to the writer, or if I have something to say as a comment – something more related to the piece. An acknowledgment if you will that I have been there – and wanted to let the writer know.[/message] [su_spacer]

Beyond this, I also happen to run several Twitter accounts, so I also cross-tweet the links and favorite between accounts.

What Now?

Take a read of this.


John Philpin
John Philpin
JOHN'S career spans 30 years, 2 continents, and organizations as diverse as Oracle, Citibank and GE. A Mathematics graduate, John moved to California in 1990. He helps technology companies create, develop and deliver their story for fund raising, market development and influencer programs. He also works with businesses to ensure they understand, and are ready, for the ever accelerating changes that technology is bringing to their industry. John is a co-founder of Expert Alumni and gleXnet and long before futurists and industry watchers were writing about the impending challenges that industries were going to be facing, they predicted a perfect storm of issues like skills gap, declining work forces, the gig economy, people trained to do work no longer needed, demographic shifts, economic and social change, market upheaval and rapidly changing ways of doing work. From the beginning they have promoted the idea that massive change was coming to how organizations should think about their workforce, with a singular focus on simplifying the interface between people and their work. Understanding the challenges ahead of the curve, the solution was built to arrive at a better understanding of the greatest restraint to business operations - competence, not capital. gleXnet provides unparalleled insights into an organizations people and operations by flipping the problem from the perspective of people, not the business.

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