In a society as complex and technologically sophisticated as ours, the most urgent projects require the coordinated contributions of many talented people. Whether the task is building a global business or discovering the mysteries of the human brain, one person can’t hope to accomplish it, however gifted or energetic he or she may be.
There are simply too many problems to be identified and solved, too many connections to be made.
And yet, even as we make the case for collaboration, we resist the idea of collective creativity. Our mythology refuses to catch up with our reality. We cling to the myth of the Lone Ranger, the romantic idea that great things are usually accomplished by a larger-than-life individual working alone.
Despite the evidence to the contrary, we still tend to think of achievement in terms of the Great Man or Great Woman, instead of the Great Group.
But in a global society, in which timely information is the most important commodity, collaboration is not simply desirable, it is inevitable.