In 2020 I will…

Inspired by our ‘collaboration tips’ at Livework, this is what I will do more next year and hope other people will too.

Luis Alt
6 min readJan 1, 2020

A long time ago at Livework, inspired by all the ‘brainstorming rules’ around, we created our ’10 collaboration tips’ to share with workshop participants. I don’t think that our Liveworkers should impose ‘rules’ to people trying to help us innovate, so ‘tips’ sounded better.

As I was reflecting about what my wishes for 2020 are, I thought I could, myself, get inspired by the same tips I wrote all those years ago. So as the year is about the end, which opens time for good old reflecting, I share my list of wishes for the next cycle. For every collaboration tip (shared first as a quote in italic), I give you what I wish for 2020. Hope you like it and inspire you to do better, be better.

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Collaboration Tip #1: The more, the better
It’s about generating as many options as possible, not about making decisions! Try to register ideas in a compelling way, with a nice title and a short description.

Wish #1: Focus to do a few great stuff.

→ I know, the wish is opposite from the collaboration tip (and it will happen again with some tips). Remember, the tips were only inspirational.

Less is best. So in 2020, I’ll try to focus my energy on impactful projects that will bring me results in the long run. I will have to compromise, learn to delegate more and take good advantage of our wonderful team at Livework. Choose better and say no will be important if I want to start working on my legacy.

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Collaboration Tip #2: Don’t be thorough, be quick!
The more time you spend on an idea, the less time you have to generate other ideas. If you can’t, try dividing your idea into several different ideas.

Collaboration Tip #8: Focus. One conversation at a time.
The energy that goes into generating ideas is huge so make sure it is being well used. Parallel conversations promote serious misalignments, avoid them!

Collaboration Tip #9: Instead of “Yes, but…” go for “Yes, and…”
Avoid using adverse conjunctions while sharing. Look away from barriers that are discouraging and always think about how to add something to other ideas.

Wish #2: Give things time and do them well.

In sync with the previous wish, if I’ll choose fewer things to do, I must do them well. More focus. I will push for things to be better done, even if it takes more time. We’ve been preaching for too long shorter cycles at work, where we do everything ASAP. We can change that, and it’s up to us. If we do something well, we won’t have to keep coming back at it. That doesn’t mean that we will not focus on being fast and establishing many prototyping cycles.

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Collaboration Tip #3: Be visual when registering your ideas.
By drawing we activate other regions of our brain and can give people more information about an idea. In addition, sketched ideas draw more attention and are easier to locate later on.

Wish #3: Be crystal clear about intentions.

Good intentions, if not perceived by others and turned into action, can be worthless. So this year I’ll try to share more and be more communicative to my team, peers, partners, clients, community, everyone!

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Collaboration Tip #4: Work in teams.
Be considerate and influence everyone to make sure there is a “creative energy” flowing within your group.

Wish #4: Get better at teamwork.

The truth is, I love to work and do things by myself. It’s therapeutical. And I like to do some things that I am not even supposed to do at Livework (like the visual part of slides, changes on websites, organise books, etc.) Those things help me to think about what we do. Nevertheless, I love the motto “teamwork makes a dream work”. I learned that at Zappos Insights and never forgot it. I should focus that on more and take more advantage of the amazing team we’ve been assembling at Livework. Dreams get bigger and closer to reality when more people are dreaming about it too. Also, it’s just simple math: we do more (we multiply) when we go together. And not that I’m bad at it, but I know there’s a lot of room to improve here.

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Collaboration Tip #5: Encourage other’s (wild) ideas.
Instead of judging your peers’ ideas, create a space for acceptance. We will have time to select the ideas with the most potential, and this will be done in groups.

Wish #5: Judge less and inspire more.

I actually started writing this piece because of judging. People are criticizing everything nowadays. That’s sad. Everybody is being judged and it seems there’s no room for mistakes. I want to create room for that and make people feel as much comfortable as I can around me to be whatever they want to be. That’s important. We must learn to live with each other in more harmony.

As we get more experienced, we learn to synthesise and analyse things faster. To do that, we have to know how to filter information, which includes, sometimes, labelling ideas and people. That can quickly move to a bad place if one is not aware. And I will remain vigilant that it doesn’t happen to me in a bad way, and that I’m all about discussing ideas, regardless of who is doing it with me. Also, I will work on encouraging and inspiring more people to take chances, helping them whenever I can. Life is too short to stay only on the pathway.

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Collaboration Tip #6: Get inspired by others.
What can your colleagues’ ideas add to yours and vice versa? Ideation never ends… keep creating and registering while sharing your ideas.

Wish #6: Talk less, listen more and make things.

Take more feedback. Be better at letting people know it’s ok for them to share when they feel what I’m doing is not how they would do the same thing. Listen more, talk less. I intend, however, to consume less from others (especially when there’s not much value, like social media), and create more things. I intend to publish articles like this one, or even a new book (which has I abandoned a long time ago).

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Collaboration Tip #7: Let go of “your” idea.
Once you start working as a team, ideas will never be “YOURS”.
Once you understand this, it will be much more fun to work with you!

Wish #7: Remove as much ‘ego’ as possible.

Nobody likes to work with assholes that try to get credit for everything that happens and show how much they know. I love getting into arguments and being ‘right’; I won’t lie about it. Also, I’m very confident that the quality of my work is world-class. I do want to push the Service Design agenda globally, it’s been my goal for quite a while, and I don’t intend to stop doing it soon. Nevertheless, people waste too much time to get their ego inflated, in search of acclamation. I don’t want to get in this path, and I do hope that if you are reading this and see me with this behaviour (even if it is just an appearance), you let me know.

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Collaboration Tip #10: Do not be intimidated and do not give up!
Sometimes we believe that some problems are impossible to solve.
The chances of this being true increase when you believe and agree with it!

Wish #8: Know when to abandon things.

People are too afraid to let go of things. We must abandon some projects sometimes to make room for better things. It has to do with focus and doing things well, which are wishes before that. But everyone should be more comfortable with stopping projects that don’t look promising. Of course, not before a good assessment and burning some oil to figure possible ways to make them work. If it’s not worth your time anymore, stop it. That’s fine!

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No collaboration tip, just an ending…

Wish #9: Have a great 2020! Do great things and be aware of your impact on others and the planet.

Not related to any tip, but very important.

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Luis Alt

I observe (and write about) how people use services and how organizations provide them — Founder of Livework in Brazil.