Other people make your ideas better


So many stories exist of individuals holding back on proposing their own ideas to others for fear of them being stolen. Let’s examine that for a moment. Some would argue that all ideas are stolen, that we build our ideas on the seeds that others plant.  Why not try and pitch your unbelievably fantastic money-making idea to a group of people and see what happens? While your idea may be appropriated and trolled, there are likely more realistic outcomes:

  • your idea or something close to it has been done before and someone you decide to work with may already have come across it or done research in this area.
  • if the idea is good and people are genuinely interested in it then their efforts to work with it and you on it are only going to make it better because the combined knowledge of many is more than one single person.
bus type 2 as graph

This is hard, writing about the unknown joys and perils of collaborating with others when I’d rather talk about the steady times I continue to have with familiar collaborators. The truth is we never know what the outcome of a collaboration is going to be. Some of us have the luxury of developing collaborative partnerships that last many years but there are also collaborators who want to try out new partnerships. The wrong thing to do is take offence. Instead, understand that we are sometimes driven to work with people we’ve never worked with before because the risk of what may come of it is worth taking instead of relying on the outcomes of the same old.

This is a recurring message we try to communicate to our learners at the MDM Program. That’s why in their first semester they don’t really have a choice as to who they are going to be on a project with. At first this might not seem fair, particularly if individual learners if given the choice, would gravitate towards other learners they feel more connected to. The reality, however is that if they want to transition into the work force of any particular industry, they will need to learn to adapt (and quickly) to a new culture and community.

So, celebrate new partnerships because you never know what gold may come from it, either in new and unexpectedly great results, or simply in extending your existing network and expanding the number of opportunities for work that will come up. What other advantages are there of working with new collaborators?