Competition to Co-creation

By Michelle James | Posted 1/22/07 | Updated 5/12/23

How do you approach working with others? What is your resonant mode?

I've developed the Co-creation Framework on what I see as the 4 evolving modes:

  1. Competition — "I win if you lose."
  2. Cooperation — "I will agree to go along with you here, if you agree to go along with me here, which might involve some compromise on both our parts — a chipping-off sometimes."
  3. Collaboration — "We work together in a way that includes what is important to both of us and our visions without having to compromise."
  4. Cocreation — "We work together in a way that includes what is important to both of us without having to compromise AND what we emerge is new, unexpected and greater than the sum of our visions."

The boundaries between these modes, of course, are permeable with overlaps. The key is that co-creation can contain collaboration, cooperation, and even competition under its umbrella, but competition generally does not contain co-creation. By consciously choosing to expand to a co-creative framework, our playing field opens up and we are at choice when to compete, cooperate, collaborate, or co-create — instead of doing only one of the modes on autopilot.

Every time we expand our habitual paradigm or mental playing field, new choices, options and possibilities open up. New interpersonal dynamics are possible. We do not have to negate one way of being to embrace another.

To use an improv term, by "yes-anding" each mode, we have creative choice on how we want to work. We can move in and out of different modes fluidly in a way that serves the purpose toward which we are working, rather than be "boxed by habit" into only one or two habitual approaches.

One of the things I value most about the principles of improvisation is they establish an environment for lively co-creation. Within that larger container, participants have choices which other modes to engage at any given time, based on relevance within purpose… thus setting a fertile ground from which creative ingenuity can thrive.

©2007 Michelle James. All rights reserved.