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Creative Collaboration: Shifting your thoughts on current working styles?

coffee_illustrationStanding in my kitchen making a cup of coffee, that creative bug began crawling up my spine: Whew! I shiver. Time to get moving! The problem is, I often find a thousand distractions and zero motivation in
my apartment. The walls don’t talk back to me – which is a good thing 🙂 – I can’t bounce ideas off the windows and the TV numbs instead of encourages my mind.
How great would it be to have a creative working space in Stuttgart to meet others with the same intentions to work together separately. Yes. To be surrounded by an atmosphere of buzzing minds exploding with ideas dying to take concrete form.

Working together separately is not anything new, but seems to be on the rise as an unspoken working norm in start-ups and also finding its place in large organisations across the globe. The current debate wrangles rather with trying to find the right balance of collaboration and time to think.

As a student in the U.S., working together separately was all I knew. It was the way we motivated ourselves to finally sit down and study. We met in living rooms or cafés that stayed open 24/7 during finals week. The places had a focused energy about them. We filled tables with empty coffee mugs, books and papers, scribbled full of diagrams and notes.wcs_dance We buzzed along independently on our topics in a concentrated rhythm, sensing when it was time to come up for air, exchange ideas, ask questions or test each other. We even settled our nerves by dancing quick rounds of west coast swing to a good loungy jazz song, laughing, minds cleared and ready to sit down and focus again. Hit repeat. For us, it worked; we were all great students and finished our degrees well.

This may not be a style for all and for every situation – even I find myself frantically wandering back and forth our open space office, laptop in hand, skype call beeping through, mumbling “please be a free spot, please be a free spot, damn!” We’ve come a long way, but I do believe there is room for refinements on great collaboration spaces and oases of peace. And Man, think of those ideas and solutions buzzing silently around the office or even the globe! They’re like those tiny gnats you mechanically swat away from your face, hovering, waiting to be noticed.

By the way, I am one lucky bee! I have great working conditions and a great team where we do indeed continuously strive to find this balance, learning each other’s rhythm – when it’s time for silence and time to exchange. For this I am thankful, but I know this is far from the norm.

Where is this all coming from? My Thoughts rise out of excitement to learn more about shifting my concept of work and how it could be: To be just as excited for Monday as I am for Friday.

Another take on collaboration that caught my attention this morning was HitRecord. I’d like to embed the video, but it seems to be protected – so hit the record button and check it out –>

They approach projects completely differently. REC  Maybe you have the creative energy buzzing like me, but are not always sure where toget started. Well here, you can check out various challenges listed on their platform and accept to take them on.
Turn the tables
You are stuck. You can’t find the path forward or are missing a certain expertise and don’t have time for online lessons in whatever. You can set-up a challenge. This challenge knows no borders, no bureaucratic work processes or has to ask his/her boss for approval.

I haven’t tried it out yet, but I’d say this concept is worth taking a look at.

How many half-finished projects / ideas are out there begging to be realised?!

So, what about you? Any collaboration ideas recently raise your brow? Do share!

Interesting Spots to check out:

REC                 Hitrecord.org – You’ve already heard about this one.


workspace Cafè Collaboration – A site showcasing cafés specialised in   collaboration (Stuttgart is unfortunately missing! hint, hint)


*partner dancing image source from above: http://www.dancetime.com/dance-talk/west-coast-swing-dance/

4 Responses

  • Keith Anderson on February 23, 2016, 19:33:51

    I checked out the HitRecord website and I find it brilliant. I was wondering how this concept could be transferred to an organisation like ours – something internally. It would be really cool!

    Reply to Keith
    • Brittany on February 23, 2016, 23:15:08

      Yes! I agree. It would be interesting to know if we already have some similar use cases within our organization.

      Reply to Brittany
  • Lisa Russell on February 1, 2016, 18:10:06

    What a wonderful and informative post, truly inspirational!

    Reply to Lisa
  • Keith Anderson on January 31, 2016, 18:26:39

    This is a great post Brittany with a lot of very useful ideas! I am going to link it on Facebook!

    Reply to Keith