Don’t finish that!

I have the sense that there are lots of people doing really great work…but they want to get it to a finished point before sharing it. Really? Sure about that?

In the age of participatory, nay, collaborative culture, as soon as something is finished it can’t be collaborative. If you want other people pitching in to make an idea work, software better, or actions more impactful…don’t dictate what should happen and push out what has been finished. Open with curiosity. Share vision and motivation…share ideas as rough sketches for group discussion. Collaboration doesn’t work as well if comes off as “I made this, now will you implement it?” *

Collaboration works better as “I had an idea, what would you do…? or would you help me figure out…?” And it can really work well with a bit of acknowledgment like, “You are such a whiz kid at x, and I was working on this idea related to that….could you help me think it through?” or “You are so well connected in z neighborhood/network, I would like to vision there. How do you think that could work?” So I encourage those of us in collaboration to stop finishing things. Let documents come alive–living documents invite collaboration… Let ideas and actions live.

*This worked better in pyramidal structures where authority or perceived authority can push things to happen. In collaborative culture, work is accomplished by attraction–the pull of an idea, person, thing, or vision. And the key to get in the door of collaboration is invitation. Don’t invite people to a party that is finished.

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