Collaborative Insights for Introverts

Collaborative Insights for Introverts

Julia Elmore creating a One Wheeled Thames Serpent at Gabriel’s Wharf, on the River Thames in London, England – photo credit Julia Barnickle

This guest post is by Christine Hastie.
Like many of my trusted contacts, I ‘met’ Christine on-line, through a Screw Work Let’s Play 30 Day Challenge. Recently we had a long transatlantic conversation (Christine is in Canada, and I’m in the UK) about collaboration – Christine’s specialist area – and in particular about a project I collaborated on with another introvert. This article is the result of that conversation.
~ Julia Barnickle

As Quiet Entrepreneurs, we often work alone, don’t we? Yet we could be missing out on an opportunity to create something extraordinary by collaborating.

Julia Barnickle and Julia Elmore took that chance. Their aim in working together was to capture the process of creating art using found materials at a unique London location. This film is the result.

Their work together leads to insight and new perspectives — for them and for us as viewers. Such desirable results for any joint venture! Could their collaboration give you ideas for teaming up with other entrepreneurs?

Collaborate and turn up the dial on your potential

The experience they gained working together enhanced their creative work: Julia Barnickle posted this as part of a video series featuring interesting London locations. For Julia Elmore, the venture was a step in understanding how important “letting go” is in the creation of temporary art — something she explores in her blog, Be Creative Daily.

Here are some of the insights I gained from their comments to me on this project. If you would like to join me for a Google hangout to share other ideas, be sure to comment below. I love to collaborate through discussion!

1. Collaborating means sharing ideas, resources … and more

Share information, resources, activities and goals — whatever has value for the project aims. What you share has an impact on your outcomes.

To make this film, Julia Barnickle and Julia Elmore shared

  • time together
  • skills, such as those for making video, collecting materials, and making art
  • resources, such as cameras, knowledge, ideas, found materials
  • activities, such as going to the wharf to explore the beach and surroundings
  • interest in helping one another achieve personal goals
  • the goals of spending time with someone they liked to create something special

The place and time were important, and the low tide at the time of their visit made it easier to find materials to create art on the beach.

2. People can collaborate over time at different levels of intensity

The more partners share and the more time spent working together, the deeper the collaboration. Any single aspect of the video project could have been completed with no thought of anything greater; the power here is the persistent combining of efforts toward a shared vision of creativity.

The most intense participation for Julia Elmore was gathering material that day and creating the art. After that, she began the processes of letting go and of spreading new insight through her blog.

Julia Barnickle admits the work was moderately intense while filming on the beach. It became more so when, as video editor, she realized it was important to capture and preserve the integrity of the artist and her creation.

“A wonderful opportunity”

3. Success in collaboration is about goals, not tasks

Individuals in a project who tick off items on a to-do list are not collaborating. Their project can still be valuable as a cooperative venture or a coordinated activity, but it is not collaboration. For that, you need shared goals. These can be quite general.

Julia Barnickle’s goals were to film “a personal viewpoint” of a little-known part of London, hoping it would show “two friends getting to know each other better, and possibly creating something out of spending time together.”

Julia Elmore’s goals were similar: “It was a case of meeting up, having a chat, some fun arting and filming and seeing what emerged.”

Something unique does emerge, and as both subject and contributor, Julia Elmore finds the video captures her creative process authentically.

4. Collaborating is fun!

Both women testify to how enjoyable the project was. It would have been a success for Julia Barnickle, whether the film worked out or not, “because we would still have had an enjoyable time.” And for Julia Elmore, this was “a reminder of how much fun” collaborating can be; “I would like to do things like this more often.”

No doubt, Julia Barnickle experienced pure delight in finding and aligning the music “Snowdrop” by Kevin McLeod at to the visual sequence of the video. We practically feel the wet sand and the breeze from the Thames, so the music provides a subtle moodiness, blending the visual and emotional.

“Greater than the sum of the two parts”

5. With collaboration comes greater insight and productivity

The more closely people work together and share perspectives, the more likely they are to find new ways of seeing a problem, or to gain a new awareness or understanding. Partners notice differences, yet push through to their shared goals, gaining insight all the way.

Julia Barnickle notes, “… this wasn’t like any other video I’ve filmed so far, because it involved another person. … Julia was making herself vulnerable by being filmed creating spontaneous art, so I became very protective of her and her process.”

For her part, Julia Elmore felt that “The project really kickstarted something in me.” She recognizes that she had been experiencing a creative dry spell just prior to this project: “three weeks of block on blogging lifted and I have been writing and sharing a lot both on my website and in my newsletters since.”

6. The value of collaborating reaches far beyond the project itself

When partners are sharing and applying equal efforts, a kind of collaborative synergy arises. Magic happens. The collaborators become aware of unexpected results — beyond anything they might have achieved working alone.

Julia Barnickle and Julia Elmore stepped up their collaboration as they worked together, from their first networking, through cooperating on smaller projects, to this collaborative venture.

Together they created something that has value beyond their individual needs — even for us now, in better understanding the power of collaboration.

The creation of a one-of-a-kind monster on a unique beach, with beautiful light and a gentle breeze, shows how friends support and learn from one another — leaving behind what is merely material to wash away with the tide.

About the author Christine HastieAs a Collaboration and Writing Consultant, Christine Hastie is dedicated to helping people bring their great ideas to light, especially when those ideas help others. She loves to facilitate collaboration that produces effective, high-quality results.

Sign up for Christine’s newsletter at, and comment below if you would like to be invited to a hangout on Collaboration for Introverts and Quiet Entrepreneurs.

You can also follow Christine on LinkedIn, Google+ or Twitter.

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