The Genesis Project Episode Fourteen

Shirley and Jim met after they had met with Grace to try to capture lessons learned from Marlowe and Slocomb. An accepted truth in the field of creativity is that creative synergy comes from collaborations of diverse minds. That certainly seemed to have been the case with Marlowe and Slocomb. While creative collaboration is an accepted truism, both Shirley and Jim felt that they had learned a lot about what makes a collaboration work. While this was just one case, it did give promise to understanding the art of collaboration. They developed a set of speculations about the collaborative process to discuss with Grace. They began with their first speculation.

“When you decided to put Marlowe and Slocomb together, you told us to expect fireworks”, began Shirley. “That was wise and has led us to our first speculation: Creative synergy works best when it begins with antagonistic tension. That doesn’t sound intuitive, but think about it. Creativity comes from challenging current beliefs. It thrives on a competition of ideas. And surprisingly, creativity seems to thrive from a disdain for other’s ideas because it forges a new understanding of what you believe. In effect, the collaborative parties are strengthening the creative synergy of the collaboration by fully developing their own ideas.”

Jim continued: “That road trip led to our second speculation: Creative synergy comes from an appreciation of the individual talents of the collaborators. But that appreciation must first come from who they are, not what they can do. Marlowe and Slocomb appreciated the talent of each other from what they did in their personal lives, not what they did at work.”

Shirley added: “Grace, I don’t know if you did this on purpose, but Marlowe and Slocomb have two contrasting but complementary personalities. That led to our third speculation: Creative synergy works best when the collaborators complement each other. Marlowe was great at talking with customers while Slocomb was good at synthesizing what the customers were saying.”

“Our final speculation comes from brain science”, Jim added. Creative synergy works best when one collaborator is strong in the Pathway 1 of the brain and the other is strong in Pathway 2 of the brain. You may recall that Pathway 1 is what we call the aha moments. That’s Slocomb. Pathway 2 is slower and more analytical. That was Marlowe.”

Grace was excited about the speculations. “Wait until I report to you on the apprenticeship phase of the project. I think your speculations will be borne out and you will probably want to add to them.

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The essence of synergy is to value differences – to respect them, to build on strengths, to compensate for weaknesses.” – Stephen Covey

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