Collaboration is an act

In The Imitation Game, dramatising the heroic work of the Bletchley code breakers, about halfway through the film, Alan Turing is encouraged by his friend and fellow genius Joan Clarke to give apples out to his fellow hut 8 cryptographers. This simple gesture was an attempt to build bridges, previously broken by Turing’s singular focus on doing his own work and removing, in an arrogant way, all other distracting inputs. The gift, at least in the screenplay, energises his colleagues, turning them from the critical pack to proactive idea makers.

The etymology of the word ‘collaborate’ shows us;

Col‘ meaning together

and ‘Laborare‘ to work

The work bit can’t necessarily just refer to the delivery of your endeavour, because the ‘togetherness’ part of collaboration requires initiation, agreement and getting up from your desk to make a connection with someone else. Therefore, collaboration is an act. It isn’t a passive process that you can expect to apathetically wash over you at some point in your career. Collaboration requires you to make it happen, stepping out of your solitary task, your own needs and to connect with others.

What apples are you going to share out this week?

“Networking is a lot like nutrition and fitness: we know what to do, the hard part is making it a top priority.”

Herminia Ibarra


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