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Ideas Get Better When You Are Around

Collaboration written by Sarah Miller Caldicott, author of Midnight Lunch: The 4 Phases of Collaboration Success from Thomas Edison's Lab


Many times, we doubt our innate creative capacities. We often believe that we can’t generate new ideas on our own.  Especially if we’re tired or under pressure, we can feel as though we’re at a creative dead end.  But even when we think we’re tapped out, it’s still possible to produce valuable ideas.


Rather than looping yourself into an unproductive cycle, reach out to another person. Sometimes all we need is a little nudge, a little encouragement from someone else.  Having a collaborative partner is often the perfect mental boost for our creative energies.


When we’re working with a person we trust, ideas flow easily. New thoughts can be prompted simply by exchanging conversation, asking zany questions, using visual prompts, or devising analogies and comparing responses. When we have someone else around, we can get into a creative groove very rapidly. Even highly innovative people, such as Thomas Edison, expanded his creative capacities when a team member was present. In fact, he designed an entire facility – the world-famous Menlo Park laboratory – to ensure he and all his employees would always have trusted colleagues to interact with throughout the day. Edison’s revolutionary success reminds us that ideating with a partner can yield highly productive outcomes.