On Collaboration, Part 1

What is the difference between crowd sourcing and one-on-one collaboration? I’m actually more interested in the collaboration of small teams, say 2—10, working on one idea. This is where you can really witness the ebb and flow of collaboration—When do we come together? When do we move apart? When is it necessary to act as one and when is it necessary to act as individuals?

Susan Cain’s editorial  in the NY Times earlier this year was one of the best pieces I’ve read critiquing the new fad of groupthink. As someone who is now dangerously “addicted” to working on teams, I’ve faced this rush toward groupthink with some trepidation. The thing about small teams, is you can create a dynamic relationship that ebbs and flows – when you need the outside push, you come together, when you need the insight that only comes from solitude, you can take that time. On crowd sourced, or institutionally-driven teams, that ebb and flow is rare.

For me, the issue is the institutionalization of teams. Cain points out how they don’t work for game designers, and I almost feel like saying, “duh”. Solitary programers, who may come together to play Dungeons and Dragons make up the bulk of the game design community. This is not the place to look at the efficacy of teams….

Wait a minute – that is a really interesting phenomenon to look at – D&D, and how it took off among normally solitary types. That is a game of pure collaboration….

More later.


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