The Collaborator is the second of the organizing personas in Tom Kelley’s book The Ten Faces of Innovation. There are some links at the end of this post to the other posts in this series, if you haven’t read them.
Collaborators push innovation in organizations by stirring up the pot, bringing people together to get things done. They coax us out of our bubbles and convince us to work together in multidisciplinary efforts. They often lead from the middle, using diplomatic skills to hold things together when they threaten to disband or devolve into chaos. Collaborators are those rare people actually don’t care who gets the credit, who actually value the team over the individual. We all talk the talk when it comes to these things, but it’s rare to find someone who really lives it, in my experience.
In the church, too often we pretend that we want to collaborate with other people, other churches, but in reality our attitude is more like this:
It may seem harsh to say, but there is far too much empire-building and ego-promoting in the church. And that’s why true Collaborators are so badly needed in our churches if we’re going to move forward in true cooperation with other churches and see a true "city church" mentality dominate the consciousness of Christians.
Kelley says that IDEO (the consulting firm he works for) they’ve learned that "when it becomes difficult to distinguish our contribution from that of our clients, we know we’re on the right track." A Collaborator is that rare person who actually doesn’t care who gets the credit, as long as the team is coming up with great ideas.
On Wednesday: Part 2 – Collaboration through Cohabitation