Improving collaboration by learning from playful behavior
A year ago I started writing my thesis for my study at Hyper Island. I choose to research the collaboration between developers and creatives, since reflecting on my own history, the collaboration between creatives and developers has always been an uneasy one. Even though it can result in amazing outcomes, it often feels as an incredible struggle. It often feels easier and better manageable to just prevent those two disciplines from collaborating at all. Let creatives be creative, and let developers do their thing. Don’t play with fire.
My background is in being a developer, but also in being creative. This all works really well when working alone of course, since there is nobody there to hold you back (except yourself). Working on creative technology projects in university was like a dream came true. Soon after my bachelor, when working in the real world, it became clear to me that working as a cog in a bigger team isn’t easy. You’ll face a lot of complexities due to the collaboration with others. This means that interdisciplinary synergy is often lost. You have to fit a label, you are a strategist, designer, developer or a project manager, you can’t be all right? This meant I became a developer. And all of a sudden the possibilities of me being creative felt lost behind a lot of different stakeholders and complexities.
I want to see that interdisciplinary synergy happening. Not only because I feel this is limiting me personally, but by creating those silos it can limit the possibility of all teams. Interdisciplinary collaboration is hard, therefore I went back to a school. To one that is known for their unorthodox, holistic and pragmatic style of education; Hyper Island. To me their biggest attraction was learning their vision on how to nurture and develop creative collaborative environments. My thesis is heavily inspired by this ‘Hyper Island’-thinking. The full thesis can be read here, and dives deeper into creatives and developers but for this blogpost I am going to keep it shorter and only going to focus on the most important learning of my thesis: play is effective in creating & nurturing an interdisciplinary collaborative team culture.