How to be a Great Collaborator

“You want to be someone that people are excited to share their ideas with.”

Whenever a new designer asks me for mentorship, this is the first thing I tell them. Many people instinctively point out problems with ideas, and problems often don’t have easy solutions that can be invented in the moment. If you do this every time someone comes to you with an idea, people stop coming to you until they think the idea is ‘bulletproof’.

Ask yourself what they want out of this interaction. Why did they come to you, to share their idea? What’s the emotional core of this for them? Simple, they’re excited about something and want to share their excitement with someone!

Be someone they’re excited to share their ideas with. Focus on the cool parts and thank them for sharing. If you can, help them find a way to improve and refine their idea without changing what they like about it.

Anyone can think of a thousand ways a lightbulb wouldn’t work. That’s not useful. Try to help them find a way that would.

Be someone they want to share their ideas with.

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