I’m thrilled to share the first episode of our podcast, Plays Well with Others, with our community. It’s about the art, science, and mechanics of collaboration.
Ask yourself: How often have you walked into a room where you were about to work with colleagues, friends, or even strangers, and thought, “I’m going to focus on being a great collaborator today”? We spend so much time on leadership, and hardly any time on helping each other do great work together.
We hope to change that, in our own small way, with Plays Well with Others.
I couldn’t be more excited about this project — I’ve always wanted to produce radio journalism. I love interviewing people and helping them tell the best version of their stories. And it’s been a joy to work with my colleague and collaborator Eric Steuer on the podcast’s design and development. I’ve loved the opportunity to do creative work, and to work directly on something like this that is close to my heart, and that I feel is really good. We’re incredibly proud of how it’s turned out, and we hope you’ll enjoy it and learn something along the way.
Collaboration is a natural topic for me. My job at CC is all about making collaboration happen, and it’s been at the centre of my work for my entire career — across cultures and timezones. I’m fascinated by the things that we can only do together. Collective action — from the power of a union to build a more equitable world, to the ability of shared public investments to strengthen communities, to the potential of the commons to democratize knowledge — these ideas inspire me. It’s why I do what I do.
The first episode of our show focuses on the writer’s room on a comedy show. Our guests, Anne Lane and Wayne Federman, deserve our thanks for trusting us with their stories. They had no idea if what we were making would be any good, and there was no body of work to look at, since it was our first episode. Anne and Wayne were open and honest, and they gave us a view into a special room that very few people get to visit. But they also helped reveal insights into how collaboration works in groups: how to deal with the disappointment of watching your joke fall flat; the importance of picking up what other collaborators are laying down (“yes, and”); and an acknowledgment that many ideas, combined with the need to ship an episode, yields better results than writing alone in your basement.
I hope each episode yields such great insights — that’s certainly our goal. Our operating thesis is that digging into how collaboration really works might help us all become better collaborators ourselves.
Each episode homes in on an element of collaboration, told by some of the world’s great collaborators. We’ll publish one episode each month, and the first season will likely run around eight episodes. I hope you’ll join us along the way, and that we’ll all learn some new tactics, techniques, and approaches — together.