Sunday, January 22, 2012

PRODUCING: Things We Learned

Organs of State had our (quarterly?) summit, where we get together for way too many hours and talk about what we've done, what we're doing, what we're going to do, and how and why we do it.

I think it's incredibly important that every organization constantly revisit their mission statement (ours, here, from our first summit) and revisit each other.

Here's what we learned last night from our third summit, which focused on the nature of our collaboration:

  1. Know what everyone's up to. If you're building a group of collaborators, it's very important to know what they're up to outside the collaboration. You never know when your collaborators' other parts of their lives will be fuel for what you're doing in the room together.

  2. Bring your politics into the room. If you're building a group of collaborators, it's very important to know where they stand. Their principles are going to be their guiding compass for how they build work, so you'd better air it out.

  3. You're never so far into a mistake that you can't back out. It's a tough lesson to learn, I know, but you're never better off throwing good money after bad. There's no set of deadlines, no pride, no obligation so large that you can't back out of it if you think it's a massively disastrous mistake.

  4. Always let your employees stop the line. Related to the previous point, one of the things Toyota makes a big point of is "automation with a human touch;" -- specifically, all the employees have the ability to stop the line if a defect is found, rather than forging on and fixing errors afterwards. Employees are encouraged to pull the rip-cord and demonstrate errors. That's how your collaborators need to feel about the artistic process.

  5. Be as curious about one another as you are about yourself.