Creating a Dynamic Duo

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

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

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