by: Justine Paul
Working individually on assignments or projects whether it be in academia or in the work place may seem like the easier option to a lot of people. When you are working alone you can be extremely efficient as there is no one to debate with but yourself. You can get things done at a faster pace because once you finish your work, the project is complete. Working individually means you never have to worry and wait for a team member to complete their part of the project which eliminates any major conflicts that may arise from working with others. While there may be instances where working solo is the better option, collaborations and teamwork have been proven to still be the best option.
Collaborations allow individuals to extend their own ways of viewing the world. They expand the generalities of our theories and our capacity for learning. Many say that “two heads are better than one” and I find this saying to hold true. Some of the most creative and original ideas have come from brainstorming with others. A large majority of the innovations or design solutions that benefit society would never have been possible if it wasn’t for collaborations.
While it is important to collaborate with others, we must be mindful of who we are collaborating with. It has been proven that diverse collaborations can be even more advantageous. This means diversity of many types, not only differences of culture, ethnicity, and gender, but also variety of expertise, intellectual perspective, values, and interests. It is extremely important to make sure all collaborators aren’t relying on the same tool sets to solve the problem. Another benefit of collaborating with diverse partners is that it opens doors for individual self-improvement. Spending time with socially different team members can change the way in which we as individuals view problems and situations in the future. This allows us to broaden our own understandings of the world and challenges us to think outside of our comfort zone.
So, the next time you are thinking about tackling a problem on your own, stop and think about the benefits you may gain from working with others. Understand the importance collaborations can play in your personal life, and how you as an individual can grow from working with others with different backgrounds and perspectives from your own.