Collaboration is beautiful thing when it works, a nightmare when it doesn't.
Collaboration is such an important part of innovation yet it's one of the elements that doesn't happen enough.
I've just been through a great experience of collaboration in the organising of an upcoming conference.
Here's some of the learnings:
Collaboration is not about nit picking it's about getting stuff done.
Waiting for someone else to start the ball rolling is a recipe for failing to start.
Sometimes a tough decision needs to be taken, and you might have to go it alone for a while.
Recognition for being the first and key mover of a collaborative project won't come for a while but it will come eventually.
Being the instigator means you can have more input and creative input.
Being first often means being the creative, being the coordinator and being the implementer until the ball starts rolling.
Nothing moves mountains more than having 'a bit of skin in the game' whether that be money or a position.
More can be done in less time than you imagine, it just takes some positive tension to make it happen.
Communicate regularly. People can't read minds and they often don't read emails but a phone call is harder to avoid and can be more effective.
Be ready to think fast and be flexible.
Be ready to piggy back on other peoples ideas as the momentum builds.
Challenge others from time to time, why are they involved what do they want to get out of the project/
Make your project practical and tangible. the more tangible it is the easier it is to get 'buy in' on it.
Continually Pitch your ideas to yourself and to others. It will make the implementation of the hard stuff easier by increasing the inspiration.
Collaborating with people overseas should not hinder you, it should excite you. All those fresh perspectives.
Pictures help bring people on the same page. When you can use pictures to simplify and summarise what needs to be done, how it all connects and where you're going.
Have fun. If you're not, no one will want to collaborate with you.