Collaborating for Creativity

by Julian Ryder, Founder + Chief Creative Officer

Collaboration is the action that occurs when two or more people join forces to produce something for the greater good. We see this in sports, volunteerism and anywhere individuals come together with matching concerns.

In the creative arts you'd be hard pressed to find a group more dependent on collaboration than improvisational actors. Give them a topic to work with and they'll instantly create a play. The story will have a beginning, middle and end, it will have dialogue that flows, it will contain humor and tempo, and it will all be made up in the moment.

What's remarkable about improvisation is the performers have no time to think about what they’re going to say or do, they can only be in a kind of dance with each other—tuned in, in such a way that one action spontaneously calls forth another. If you ask the actors to explain how they accomplish this, they would likely say you have to do it to get it. In other words the experience of creating something new (improvising) happens in the moment and in the action of performing.

To gain access to this high level of creativity requires putting your individuality into the background so that what shows up in the foreground is the power of group and the possibility of collaboration.

It should be noted that collaborative creativity, like anything you want to be good at, takes practice.


  • Put together a team of collaborators
  • Design a project that calls for creativity
  • Identify the result you want to produce
  • Create measurable milestones
  • Practice being spontaneous with each other
  • Keep the action moving forward
  • Have breakdowns and learn from them
  • Practice, practice, practice