Stop, Collaborate and Listen

Gerry Graf (of Barton F. Graf fame) weighed in on the collaboration discussion at this year’s Cannes Lions festival – in a bed. Wearing pyjamas.

Graf’s co-presenters – Nico Pimentel, co-founder of Castro Innovation House, and Linus Karlsson, Creative Chairman of Commonwealth/McCann – helped take us through the process of their own collaboration (jumping into bed with Graf in their pyjamas too), to demonstrate how to come up with a great idea. It was a process punctuated with failed Skype calls, collaborative karaoke and an introduction to the ‘Gollum Idea’. (That’s when you come up with an idea so precious to you, that you just can’t let it go. And fittingly, Pimentel’s concept of the Gollum Idea, became a Gollum Idea itself, popping up three times in their conversations before hitting the rejected pile.)

The first and most important step is actually just to collaborate. That’s what Amy, Daniella and I did to get here. Then, come up with lots of ideas and trust that the bad ones will lead to good ones. Defend the great ones but don’t think yours are precious just because you came up with them. And have a thick skin: you won’t always agree on everything, but for Graf, politeness is the poison of collaboration, so listen even when it’s not what you want to hear. Step out of your comfort zone, work with somebody, take their criticism head on and your ideas will be richer.

The best work is born when you collaborate and do something different.

Barton F. Graf Collaborating on Collaboration in bed


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