The Eureka Factory – While we’re working on our video, we thought we’d share a blog post that Chuck put together a few days ago that we hadn’t had a chance to share. We think it serves as a nice cap to the weekend, the cherry on the ice cream, or the olive in the martini, as the case may be.
The best thing about the Deconstruction is it gives us an excuse to call out the troops and make something cool. I have an awesome group that really makes me appreciate the value of collaboration. Working with a good team lightens the load and makes the process much smoother. It also facilitates communication and a productive social atmosphere.
Collaboration widens the scope of your projects. Other people means other skill sets and experiences. I’m not an engineer, but Steve is. Chris isn’t an artist, but I am. Terri can’t code, but Chris can. The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. A team also means a larger extended network of sources, contacts and social ties. This makes finding materials, information, support and tools much easier. Working with a group allows for more complex and interdisciplinary solutions.
Working with a team also makes the design process smoother. It’s amazing what another perspective can do when you’re stumped. Sometimes a programmer will see a solution that an engineer can’t. Maybe another team member has encountered the same problem and has a unique solution. Maybe you just need someone to point out that you forgot to plug it in. Another set of eyes and experiences makes design challenges much easier.
Collaboration also forces us to talk about our project. Communication gives us input that can improve the design. It also helps us avoid costly mistakes. When you have to slow down and explain an idea to someone it forces you to think of the idea sequentially which helps you spot flaws in your plan. What seems like a lot of time spent talking is actually a lot of time being saved from wasted effort and dead ends. This communication insures that all the good ideas in the room are heard and considered, giving us the best possible design. There’s no rush. I’m not doing this because I like deadlines- I’m doing it because I like creating cool things.
The best part of collaborating is the social aspect of working with a team. Challenges and ‘problems’ seem less daunting when they are shared. Small victories and successes are reasons to celebrate when there’s someone else to return the high five. Mutual encouragement and a common goal propels the group on. It’s much harder to hit a wall and give up when there are other people depending on you. My solo projects tend to suffer from ‘goodenoughitis’- as soon as I have a functioning prototype I’m on to the Next Awesome Thing. When we work together we tend to encourage each other to follow through and finish the project.
For this year’s Deconstruction we’ve completely shifted gears. It says a lot about the versatility of our team that the same group who built the MIDI controlled LED Bubble Piano, the Instaham drawing robot photo booth, an Arduino controlled robotic marionette and the Bocatron full body 3D scanner, were willing to jump into a literary hack with such gusto.
It’s been fascinating to see how individual team members have interpreted and built on the initial concept. Whatever the outcome, this will be a fun and interesting weekend spent working with a talented group of people to create something cool.
And it definitely was!