“It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin
The core values of collaboration include creativity, transparency, responsibility, and accountability to one another—these values are changing the ways employers work with employees; businesses work with customers; and individuals work with one another. Here are some quick thoughts on how I see collaboration taking in a larger context.
The internet has empowered us through access. We have access to art, music, thoughts — endless information. But a new breed of collaborative innovation goes beyond content consumption toward empowerment, engagement, and learning. Skillshare allows us to become teachers and students. Taskrabbit allows us to be employers and employees. Gumroad allows us to create and consume what we make with a single link.
The idea of bringing people together to exchange skills and ideas is nothing new, though. As Edward Glaeser put it, “We get smart by being around other smart people, and that the most important thing cities produce is entrepreneurial talent.” In this case though, the notion of a ‘city’ has become unbounded and richer for it.
In On- and Offline Lives
There’s so much content being slung around the internet. In our struggle to distill meaningful bits from the multiple feeds, I see opportunity in fostering offline experiences to help bring connectivity full circle. You can see some of this happening today in communities like Reddit where social news has turn into social activism.
Connecting online tools to offline communities speaks to a larger trend—a growing value for face-to-face interaction. We invest in technologies that connect people online, but the hope is that these connections will improve our quality of life offline. Quarterly, Creative Mornings, Code Year Meetups. all illustrate this goal. Face-to-face connection will influence people as they learn skills like programming that have great implications for the future of education and our economy.
There’s a growing breed of collaborative businesses solving problems normally associated with government and non-profit work. People are looking for ways to supplement their income, no longer relying on a secure company job. Creative projects, which traditionally relied on grant funding, are turning to startups like Kickstarter. Cities are embracing private partnerships that promote bicycles or carsharing. And, increasingly, people are celebrating entrepreneurship as a means to generate success and wealth.