Christina Gerakiteys: Step up and collaborate

AT first I was miffed that orange had become the new black. 

Why were all these converts moving into orange territory? 

Then I started observing how enlightening it was to see splashes of brightness; day instead of night. Creative instead of dull. 

On those psychological colour charts, orange is associated with spontaneity, warmth, happiness, optimism, rejuvenation and innovation. 

Onto collaboration. How many businesses do you know truly collaborate?

I’m talking about the “have the chat, form the plan, decide on the actions and make it happen” type?

Collaboration is another of those warm and fuzzy words that can make you feel good and tick off the required boxes. 

Many individuals and organisations approach collaboration with the best intentions. 

But how many actually see it through? 

The Joined Up Innovation Report (March 2014) issued by Microsoft, found there was a need to re-design innovation processes and move from being linear to collaborative, to break down silos within and without organisations. Collaborations can be formed internally or externally to your businesses or organisation. 

They can be in the domain of the corporate or the sole trader. 

But in order for any collaboration to be successful a few hurdles have to be ... well hurdled!

The Time Hurdle evokes the common catch cry of  ‘‘it’s a great idea but I’m too busy ”. Unfortunately, nothing will happen if you don’t make time for it. Time permits you to have a meeting or discussion with a potential collaborator, to investigate benefits. Make time. 

Imagine your dearest friend calls you in distress. You drop what you are doing and you support them. 

Your world doesn’t stop; your business doesn’t fall apart. 

Make time before it is your business that is in distress. 

The Trust Hurdle evokes the ‘‘What if they steal my idea” cry. 

Well, what if you remain actionless because you are too scared they will? Same end result. NOTHING. 

Trust is integral to any business transaction. How do you want to be known and referred to in the business world? Are you honourable? Do you speak the truth? Do you trust others? 

Take the trust plunge. You might get burned but you might not. You might even go on to create a formidable collaboration.

The New Idea Hurdle evokes the fear of failure. 

We fear looking silly, less professional, like idiots. 

When we give into this fear we come up with nothing. 

Dare to come up with the idea and ‘‘fail fast’’ if it doesn’t work. 

You are then in the company of Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Dyson, Eddison etc. 

Be brave, have the conversation formulate the action plan and see it through.

So where do you find a willing collaborator? Put collaboration on the agenda at a meeting and have your team brainstorm potential partnerships with organisations that share your values and have vision. 

If you don’t, the result will be – nothing. 

If you make an attempt, the results could be incredible. 

And incredible is not only measured in financial gain. 

In business there are creative win-win benefits to collaborations. 

Seek ideas, seek opportunities and seek collaborators.

Christina Gerakiteys is business adviser to the creative industries at The Business Centre,  facilitator of the Rippler Effect Innovation Program and Creative Director of Ideation At Work

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