In which a girl who loves real-time group brainstorming learns the power of passing the baton.
Amazingly right after I read this, someone had shared a link to a study in Harvard Business Review noting that asynchronous work can often lead to greater creativity - https://hbr.org/2023/04/research-asynchronous-work-can-fuel-creativity
You are definitely resonating with the gestalt or something.
"Studies show that women and people from marginalized communities are given fewer opportunities to speak and are criticized more harshly when they do in a range of synchronous work settings."
We found that women’s performances were rated 17% higher when they recorded asynchronously, and that this effect was driven by the degree of creativity in their singing, based on ratings by experts in Baul folk music. (The experts assigned overall ratings to every track as well as timestamped all creative choices made by the singer.)
This creative freedom when singing alone was further captured in interviews with the experimental subjects. After recording asynchronously, one woman said, “I was completely free. I could sing as I wished. I missed some notes at a place, but then I caught on with it later on. I had complete independence and it felt like I was flying like a bird.” Men’s performances were not significantly different in the two conditions, and thus asynchronicity seems to help women without hurting men."
I have always felt the collaborative process results in "more than the sum of the total". Much of what is prooffered is uninhibited and provides those"outsied the box" thoughts. Thisd kind of collaboration stimulates participants to places they've never thought about before and can result in really innovative approaches. That is exciting! However, there are also adventures which need a guiding hand element to steer the energy in a more desirable direction - particularly in problem solving, where resolution is needed quickly. I love your realization about being more thoughtful about what you are passing on, and wondering if, had there been more time for more thought in the spontaneous collaborative process, would the results have been somehow more meaningful/effective. The bigger picture in the baton passing is that you, and you alone, are really responsible for the end result. Good to see your reflections on all this. Thanks!
It sounds like a good next step from this insight is understanding when to use which approach. I was just reading a very old book on social psychology that cited research about effectiveness of teams in terms of generating the best ideas. One insight they offered was that when it was clear who the expert was, it was better to have that individual do the work and when it wasn't clear who would have the best ideas the outcome was better when there was a collaborative approach that allowed the best ideas to surface and be vetted by the group.
This is a both/and situation. Better fully developed ideas a step forward but uninformed baton passing doesn’t work either. I am better off having learned both and more judicious about when. Thoughtful piece as always xx e—
The full value of the Baton Pass approach and its implicit demand for trust only became more apparent to me during the shutdown. Staff cuts required it. A remote working environment allowed me to rely less on real-time collaboration, but it also gave me an opportunity to focus and do more fully developed work. I’m now trying to figure out how to create space for both kinds of work in this new world. Congratulations on your new book! I know what an accomplishment that is!