I’ve been thinking a lot about collaboration and creativity this week.

Under lockdown, these are the two aspects of life I’ve focused on. They bring together my natural instincts to think outside the box and work with other people. I thought they’d provide a framework to keep me sane, but it turns out they offered a new lens on how and why I work too.

I’ve had access to a vast global network of talented people for years now. But it feels like it took the whole world stopping for a couple of months to think about what that really means and its potential.

Over the last eight weeks, I’ve launched more creative, cross-border projects than I have in at least the past four years. They’ve been unexpected too—based on people clustering around an initiator’s idea and getting started.

Examples from my work:

  • Developing online learning materials for a global nonprofit, which is also a distributed organisation.
  • Launching an industry newsletter for maverick hoteliers.
  • Designing a new subscription service to help exceptional people build a sustainable writing habit.

My only goal during the pandemic has been to try to make something every day, and to celebrate it when I do. These collaborative projects have helped me establish new habits and tap into my flow state, which has fuelled my creativity in book writing too.

Reflecting on this led me to think about some important questions:

  • What makes a good collaboration?
  • What infrastructure or support do we need to do our best work?
  • Is being distributed across different geographies and timezones an advantage rather than a challenge?
  • How do people build vibrant, meaningful careers as creatives without sacrificing their values?