DICTIONARY DEFINITION: “The act of working with someone to produce or create something.”


Collaboration Image

Collaboration is critical to a design process both amongst designers and with clients, customers, stakeholders, etc. However, one of the flaws inherent in the word is that people assume that collaboration happens continuously and consistently throughout the design process.

The beauty of the design process is that collaboration is built-in to what we do. Though a project may start off with a lot of face-to-face meetings and discovery sessions, at a certain point in the process, the client-designer collaboration slows down.

This is not because we’ve forgotten about the organization! On the contrary, this is where the synthesis of all of the good information from the Discovery happens. This is where the magical, design juices start flowing to get the problem-solving going. Brainstorming on whiteboards, sketching in notebooks, the works! This is how designers work best. Armed with the information from the collaboration process we are filled to the brim with ideas and concepts that are coming together in an evidence-based concoction.

Collaboration amongst the people connected to a project is important however, designers need time to incubate and digest the insight and conversation commentary from the group. Yes, collaboration is integral to design, but a little isolation is a good thing for the creative mind.

Many of today’s mainstream approaches to product or service design borrow from the “new” and “innovative” ideas that originate from a peripheral edge of the design world. Terms like collaboration, iteration, and innovation are all now commonly used buzzwords that can often be thrown around bordering on jargon and, in some cases, just plain silliness. 

This series on Buzzwords will shed light on what certain terms and phrases mean from a designer’s point of view and aims to help build stronger designer-client relationships everywhere.

Check out our previous post: Buzzwords – “Fail often so you can succeed sooner”

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