The remote work environment we all got so used to by now has created new ways of working and collaborating. Since companies cannot afford to compromise innovation and creativity, they adapted their processes and implemented new technologies to assist them along the way.
So let’s take a closer look at everything you need (and what to avoid) to improve creative collaboration at your organization. Plus, see how design approval software can help you spark your team’s creativity.
What is creative collaboration?
Creative collaboration is all about working with a team to find innovative ways to overcome business or marketing challenges.
Companies often find themself stuck with some processes or products that aren’t optimal for their business. That’s when they gather teams to find innovative ways to solve a specific challenge.
Creative collaboration can even lead a company in a new direction or push toward inventing an entirely new product. That’s why every company should focus a lot of its attention on stimulating creative collaboration across as many teams as possible.
How does collaboration expand the creative process?
We’ve all had moments of simply getting stuck with a problem when working alone. And the first moment we showed the problem to our colleague or even a friend, they gave us input that magically solved all our problems.
That’s the true beauty of creative collaboration. Having more people with different backgrounds, expertise, and perspectives on the same problem enriches the creative process and give birth to some of the most innovative ideas.
How creative collaboration has changed since the pandemic
Since the period of pandemic took about two years, companies couldn’t afford to stop innovating just because their teams weren’t working from offices. As a result, the pandemic gave birth to asynchronous working and completely changed the way teams engage in creative collaboration.
Now, teams learned they don’t have to share ideas in real time to create successful projects. They also found new ways of documenting their ideas and involving their colleagues worldwide.
As a result, teams revolutionized the idea of creative collaboration while creating new ways of working.
The five keys to successful creative collaboration in an asynchronous world
Engaging in creative collaboration in an asynchronous world is no easy task if everyone isn’t following some important (unwritten) rules.
It requires everyone’s flexibility and understanding that each person in your team is working when they feel most productive. That’s why sharing work in a way that makes it easy for others to collaborate will help you avoid chaos.
Here are five keys to successful creative collaboration for your asynchronous team:
1. Leave your ego at the (virtual) door
One important rule for virtual collaboration is that everyone leaves their egos behind. Collaboration isn’t about pushing your ideas. It’s about working together to create something unique.
Only once no egos are involved can the collaboration become more enjoyable and productive. Let’s be honest; everyone needs a comfortable environment with no judgment to produce their best ideas and not some know-it-all that keeps pushing their ideas.
2. Keep talking with your teammates
This one can be hard at first, but probably the most rewarding if you follow through. Stay in touch with your teammates and share half-baked ideas.
It’s important that you don’t lock yourself away perfecting things on your own because that’s how you’ll undermine your team’s success.
The easiest way to stay in touch with your teammates is to use different project management tools like Slack, Miro, or Asana.
By keeping everyone in the loop with less formal texts in a Slack channel, tracking projects in Asana, or organizing brainstorming sessions in Miro, you’ll maintain a good level of collaboration.
3. Respect each other’s time and deadlines
A big part of collaboration is dividing tasks and individually taking on parts of the project.
If one person keeps meeting their deadlines while others don’t, it’s unfair and demotivating. To overcome this challenge, it’s good to use project management tools like Asana, where you can define owners of some aspects of the projects and set up exact deadlines.
Once there’s accountability for everyone taking part in the project, you’ll know there will never be a situation where one person submits their part while others take days, if not weeks, to do the same.
4. Focus on the problem you’re trying to solve
Stay objective by keeping the problem or creative brief front and center. It’s easy to get carried away when doing something new and creative. Make sure you allow yourselves to roam off in many different directions and then take time to reflect and bring it back to the task at hand.
Having shared access to the initial brief will help you and your teammates to stay on the same page.
5. Take advantage of remote-friendly tools
Remote-friendly project management tools will make your life much easier when working on a creative project with your colleagues. That’s why you should always look for the latest tech to improve creative collaboration and productivity.
Our 10 favorite creative collaboration tools
The market for collaborative tools has taken off since the beginning of the pandemic. There are many specialized tools for certain areas of project management, and it’s easy to get lost in all their capabilities.
That’s why we prepared a list of our ten favorite creative collaboration tools for every team:
1. Filestage – best for reviewing creative content
Filestage helps you collaborate on the feedback and approval of all your content, from designs to documents. You can invite as many people as you like to review your work, and you’ll get all your feedback in one place.
Your teammates or clients can see what others have suggested and leave feedback in various ways – depending on how they prefer to express themselves.
2. Asana – best for managing your design projects
Asana is an excellent tool for helping marketing teams stay on track, keep projects organized, and meet deadlines. It makes it simple to plan workflows and visualize project progress while tracking how individuals and the whole team advance.
3. Typeform – best for running surveys
Typeform specializes in online form building and online surveys. The platform is known for its user-friendly forms that help marketing teams generate valuable responses.
Whether you’re looking to collect feedback from your teammates, customers, or clients, Typeform makes it easy to manage all their thoughts and impressions.
4. Miro – best for live whiteboard sessions
Miro is a creative collaboration platform where you and your team can brainstorm in real time. You can turn your in-person brainstorming sessions into engaging online workshops thanks to their online whiteboard tools and give birth to some great creative ideas.
5. FigJam – best for workshopping ideas
Similarly to Miro, FigJam is an excellent tool for workshopping ideas and helping you and your team to work together. This creative collaboration software helps you keep all your ideas in one place from concept to design.
6. Notion – best for gathering references
Notion is a Wiki-style tool that can be used in many ways, but it works exceptionally well for gathering references collaboratively. You can store and organize them on different pages so that everyone can refer back to references like links and screenshots throughout the process.
7. Figma – best for collaborating on designs and prototypes
Figma allows teams to work together on a design, no matter where you all are in the world. You and your teammates can co-design at the same time, and your colleagues from marketing or product will see changes and comments appear immediately for flawless collaboration.
8. Invision – best for managing every phase of the design process
Invision is an online whiteboard-meets-productivity platform that helps creatives to collaborate better, align faster, and move forward together. You can use it to centralize and manage every phase of the design process, from kickoff to handoff.
9. Canva – best for collaborating on print designs
Canva is the best collaboration tool for creating print brochures, packaging, and other types of content for print. It allows you to create professional designs without any designing knowledge – and the tool will even send it to print for you.
10. Webflow – best for no-code web design
Three great examples of creative collaboration
Creative collaboration is a broad term and could mean almost anything as long as teams gather to create an innovative solution to a business problem.
Here are three great examples of creative collaboration:
1. Building a website at a startup
Building a website at a startup is a highly collaborative creative process requiring multiple teams to participate.
First, you need designers and writers working with web developers to make it beautiful and functioning. On top of that, your marketing and sales team will be a great input for making the web in line with your brand guidelines and suitable for the target audience.
Having all these teams from different backgrounds will make your new website shine and turn into a true customer magnet if the collaboration is done successfully.
2. Creating a print campaign at an advertising agency
Making a successful print campaign means timely collaboration between copywriters, designers, brand managers, and clients to make sure all relevant information is covered and well depicted.
But having everyone on the same page and meeting all deadlines can be challenging.
With a tool like Filestage, you’ll keep everyone up to speed with feedback and approval for all your content. Plus, all reviewers can leave comments and engage in inspiring conversations on top of the content being created.
3. Designing a product brochure in a marketing team
When designing a product brochure for a marketing team, it’s essential to be as concise and accurate as possible. And here I mean respecting deadlines and making sure that the copy has everyone’s approval before leaving for print.
To ensure you get all important approvals before printing a thousand copies of your brochure, you can review your brochures in Filestage. There, you can track your approvals and tick off everyone’s comments as they go so that not even the slightest error creeps in.
Top 23 personality traits of great creative collaborators
Great collaborators have certain personality traits that help make collaboration more successful and enjoyable. So if you tend to avoid collaboration, you might consider working on some characteristics you could be lacking.
Here’s a list of 23 personality traits that make great collaborators:
When working with others on a project, you want to be accessible and make others feel comfortable approaching you. Whether they wish to discuss something with you or give input on your work, you should make yourself approachable and stimulate collaboration.
The fact that someone else made an effort to work on some part of the project or even took the time to give you meaningful feedback is admirable. Make sure you appreciate others for their work and contributions to the project.
The truth is, no one likes cruel co-workers. So, be considerate whenever you give feedback on others’ work or input for the next steps. Being thoughtful and thinking about your teammates’ feelings will create a more enjoyable environment for collaboration.
Everyone loves working with colleagues with whom they can easily reach an agreement. That’s because cooperative people are adjustable and always up for a challenge. Being cooperative will make collaboration faster and more efficient.
Creativity is often considered as given. But everyone can learn to become creative in their field. Try thinking of ways to improve your work, the biggest pain points you keep encountering, and ways to overcome them.
You’ll quickly see that creativity also comes with more knowledge you have about the subject.
Believe it or not, looking at the project through a child’s eyes is a good thing. Try being as curious as possible because the more you know, the better. Even if things might seem unconnected at first, your extra knowledge can be of huge help in the long run.
Things tend to become dynamic when working with multiple teams, backgrounds, and personalities. From the beginning of the project until its end, it’s likely that there will be multiple changes of direction and tons of smaller changes. You’ll handle it all the better if you stay dynamic.
We all have that one friend that’s super laid back and always up for anything. Try borrowing some of that mentality if you don’t have it in you. Being easy-going will make you easy to collaborate with and help your project move forward.
The important thing is that when you hear a sentence like: “We’ll need you to replace all reds for greens in your design,” you don’t go completely nuts. In short, that would mean being flexible when working with others on a project.
Things will likely change a lot, and it’s best to accept it as a part of the process and try not to stress too much about it.
Juggling between communicating with others on the project and doing the actual work can be tricky. That’s why people who manage to stay focused despite all distractions are great collaborators and the ones who tend to move the project across the finish line.
One pretty obvious but important trait when working with others is being helpful. If your colleague needs a hand with something, try answering their slack message when you see it – not two days later.
Being helpful will help your colleague finish their part of the process and speed up the progress of the entire project.
Honesty is simply the best policy. And in creative collaboration, things are no different. Even when everyone agrees on doing something, don’t be scared to give an alternative opinion. Constructive criticism can spark interesting conversations and yield great improvements.
Being humble will get you far in life. And also help you collaborate with your colleagues on creative projects. No one likes people that brag too much, whether they deserve it or not. So avoid bragging and always stay humble.
Standing behind what you said and augmenting it will show others that you’re an expert in what you do. Backing your arguments with data and research will also help you create unique projects.
Sometimes it’s all about being logical. Things like believing that more contrast between the background and your call to action button will make the button more visible and increase chances for more clicks are just logical. Follow your logic to save some valuable time.
Though we all tend to follow our gut feeling from time to time, it’s best to stay objective in most cases. Most concepts and practices have already been done and proven wrong or right. Do your research and remain objective when making decisions about the project.
Being open to creative collaboration means more than one thing. Being open is about being open to new ideas, suggestions, changes, and improvements. Therefore, to make your projects top-notch, it’s vital always to stay open.
When multiple people work together, everyone must stay organized to avoid chaos. That means everything from taking care of your tasks on time to respecting a standardized way of naming files so everyone can find it.
Being original is not always so easy to achieve. But the more you get into the subject, the better your chances of becoming more authentic. So do your research and live and breathe your project. Original ideas will soon start popping into your head.
Precision is what makes your creative project look and feel professional. If you’re designing a new website for a company, you don’t want to use colors similar to their brand colors but always use the exact ones. It’s a simple example that can be reflected in all aspects of your project.
Respecting deadlines is crucial to guide a project from start to finish successfully. If you said you would do your part by Monday, then make sure you do it. When working on bigger projects, many people depend on you, and you shouldn’t be the reason why something is postponed.
When you get a task, make sure you complete it in time and do your best to do it right. If your colleagues see you as reliable, they’ll more likely hand you over more and more responsibility over time and involve you in more projects.
Being detail-oriented is one of the best traits you can have in business. Perfection lies in being thorough, and the details make the difference. So even if it’s not in your nature, try being as thorough as possible.
And 19 traits you should avoid
We’ve covered the personality traits of great collaborators. Now let’s look at the qualities you should avoid.
Here are 19 traits you should avoid in a creative collaboration:
Showing little or no interest in others’ feelings and harshly criticizing things you don’t like won’t get you far in a creative collaboration. It makes people uncomfortable and less motivated to give their all to the project.
There’s no point in arguing with your colleagues. You’re all working towards the same goal – building the most successful project possible. Being argumentative will waste everyone’s time and energy on irrelevant things.
Sometimes you need to be the group’s black sheep and push ideas you strongly believe in. Simply conforming to everything others say won’t always result in the best solution for your project.
Transparency is key to good collaboration. If you didn’t manage to do your tasks in time or realized that the current strategy wouldn’t work midway through the project, let your colleagues know.
Everything comes swimming to the surface in the end, and the only thing you’ll cause by being deceptive is to decrease the project’s quality.
This one’s quite logical. Having your tasks and work disorganized makes it hard for others to figure out what you meant or where you stored some important information. Make sure you keep your things organized, and the project’s success will follow.
Collaboration means everyone’s opinion is equally important. Once you start domineering and acting like a boss, it will cause bad blood and move everyone’s focus from the project to conflict.
In creative collaboration, there is no room for “I.” You’re a team, and the team’s best interest is what you should keep in mind. Being egotistical will only ruin the team dynamic and negatively impact the success of your collaboration.
Being too cautious and reserved towards new ideas won’t allow your creative juices to start flowing. So instead of being guarded, try making yourself open to everything this project gives you.
Sometimes, others get more credit than you do, even if you feel you’ve given 100% of yourself to the project. Give it time, and don’t be jealous. In the end, everything will fall into place.
Having a judgemental attitude will not only make everyone working with you feel uncomfortable but can also kill the creativity of the team. So stay open and positive to others and their ideas to stimulate group collaboration.
Just like with everything else in life, being manipulative is not a good thing. Whether it’s manipulating results and the status of your work or relationships with your colleagues, it’s all not going to end well either for you or the project.
Creative collaboration is about bringing innovative ideas to solve daily challenges. But innovation only comes with an open mind. So, don’t fall into the trap of being narrow-minded as an excuse for your experience.
Other perspectives might be a breath of fresh air and a good thing for the project.
Firmly believing in something and being opinionated is not the same thing. It’s important to choose your battles when collaborating. Being too opinionated will make you look like you just want to argue and not constructively contribute to the project.
Creative collaboration is no place or time to be power-hungry. This will completely ruin the team’s dynamic and make everyone want to quit instead of focusing on building something great.
Just because someone gave you negative feedback on your idea or work doesn’t mean you should be resentful towards them. There will be disagreements and different opinions in any creative collaboration. Don’t let that get in the way of creating a great project.
Collaboration is teamwork. So, being selfish only harms you, everyone around you, and the quality of the project you’re working on. That said, always have the team’s and the project’s wellbeing in mind and try never to act selfishly.
Sometimes your ideas can use changes and iterations. Don’t be stubborn and allow others and their opinions to shape your ideas into the best possible solution.
Don’t let others frighten you! Your ideas and work are valid and came from your experience or the hours you put into the project. That’s why you should always have the confidence to share your ideas in the first place.
With creative collaboration, there’s never really a wrong answer. Every idea, big or small, helps to contribute to the final version.
At the end of the day, creative collaboration is about making innovative solutions together with your teammates. To make the process as smooth and enjoyable as possible for everyone, you can explore various collaboration tools and work on your collaboration skills.
See for yourself how Filestage can help you create a better collaborative feedback process and start a free trial →