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Sharing is caring – why keeping your ideas to yourself is killing your creativity (and your job)

bartenderI have had my share of creative paranoia in the workplace; you know, when you are afraid to share with others for fear they will steal your idea and claim it as their own. I have even experienced having my designs replicated (design plagiarism). That said, collaboration is the only way to develop meaningful marketing solutions. So why do I still run into those who consider collaboration like looking at their paper for their answers during a quiz? While I really have no answer to why, I do have some thoughts on why it is important to collaborate with others.

Over the years, I’ve been in situations where I’ve worked with teams of designers and on my own. I’ve found that working with a team always spurs more creativity because you get different points of view for the same subject matter. In any conversation you have with someone else, you will get a different perspective from your own, even in the case where you both agree on the topic and the outcome. Everyone has their own thought process and their own way of reaching conclusions. This way of reaching conclusions is a huge part of the creative process as each thought takes you down a new path. Now, when you are working by yourself, it’s easy to halt to the process as you immediately agree with everything you are saying. This can stifle the creative juices and will, in the end, hurt your final product.

Think about it, some of the best ideas came about when a couple, or three, people were sitting at a bar with nothing but a napkin, a pen and a good bartender. It may have started as some political argument, or a discussion about an issue they faced in their life, but that discussion got the creative juices flowing and BOOM, the next great idea happens. I find, in my creative process, that even when I work alone, I need others to help with my inspiration. It may be a phone call to a friend, talking to my family or looking at some other great work someone has done.

All-in-all as long as you are honest, give credit where credit is due and work with integrity, you will always come out better when you share.

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