Want to quadruple your brilliance? Exponentially increase your creativity? Find a partner, writes Bob Kodzis, an artist, performer, and founder of the think tank Flight of Ideas, in Create Magazine (Summer 2006).
Dynamic duos have fueled some of the world's most successful projects (Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin), performances (Lennon and McCartney), and ice cream (Ben and Jerry). 'There's something truly magical about great creative partnerships,' writes Kodzis. 'We are better when we work together.'
The trick is finding the perfect partner. When Kodzis went on a quest to 'distill the essence of truly great creative partnerships,' he unearthed some of the secrets to making the right match.
Start with friends. While the old adage warns never to mix business and pleasure, a friend can make up one dynamo half of a creative duo, says Kodzis. The ease and trust that already exist can help throw the doors of creativity wide open. Inspirational example: Simon and Garfunkel. The musicians were friends in middle school.
Share common dreams. In the best partnerships, individuals share a common goal. Whether your partner is a friend or not, you must have a unifying purpose to make the duo truly dynamic. Inspirational example: Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. While they didn't care much for each other off the basketball court, both thrived on winning at all costs (they even set aside their own egos, for a time). Their teamwork made them one of the highest-scoring duos in NBA history.
You complete me. The partners in most of the creative teams Kodzis encountered were more different than they were similar. 'While [difference] might seem like a recipe for disaster, it has just the opposite effect,' he writes. 'Great creative partners . . . employ their unique characteristics to create synergy.' Inspirational example: Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. One had an illustrator's masterful hand, the other had impeccable comic timing. Together they had 60 years, seven Academy Awards, eight Emmys, and countless cartoon characters worth of success.
Put egos aside. Don't let spotlight envy spoil your creative partnership. Try to adopt a sense of self-worth built around the efforts and accomplishments of your team. Inspirational example: Gracie Allen and George Burns. When the ambitious Burns first started performing with Allen, he wrote all the great punch lines for himself-but they fell flat. Her lines, meant to be those of the earnest 'straight man,' made the audience howl. He had to put aside his ego and accept her comic brilliance. The comedians went on to enjoy three decades of success.