Collaboration is one of the most important (and sometimes most difficult) aspects of working on a large project. The communication you have between your client and fellow team members can make or break the whole experience.

This month, 99U breaks down the many different types of collaborations that can go into your work. From mentors and networking to team dynamics, here’s some of the best articles from 99U this month.


The best teams act like musicians

In September of last year, The New York Times produced a video using 3D point capture that rendered members of the Kronos Quartet as “dot clouds,” flickering in and out of existence in accordance with each musician’s participation. The result was a beautiful electronic illustration of the dynamic “ecosystem” that is the string quartet. (read more)

Don’t be “nice.” Be instrumental.

The Power Lens is one way that distorts how we see and understand one another. Your perceiver is wearing it whenever he or she with has relatively more power than you do. And this lens has a straight-forward agenda: prove yourself useful to me, or get out of my way. (read more)

No Degree Needed: When networking trumps a second degree

Artist Alexa Meade knows that education can’t always be bought. After majoring in political science and setting herself up for a job in politics, she decided to follow her childhood dream of becoming an artist. Instead of continuing her education in art and design, she chose to explore the field and see where it would lead her. (read more)


An 18-minute daily plan for finding focus

You could take any of a million approaches to organizing your day. You could convert your to-do list to a Post-it system, ritualize a twice-daily prioritizing check-in, or wake up at 4 AM, work for five or six hours, then exercise and relax. Shane Parrish of Farnam Street has a simpler idea. He describes a rock-solid 18-minute daily plan for managing your time and finding focus in your day, created by Harvard Business Review writer Peter Bregman. (read more)

Why it’s selfish to avoid giving negative feedback

Telling a colleague that they’ve underperformed (and why) is never fun, but it could be one of the most important, and kindest, actions you ever take. The fact is, no matter our status or past achievements, we can all improve at what we do. But for this to happen, we need someone trustworthy to point out to us how we are falling short. (read more)

Mentorship as you know it is dead

Hollywood has been using mentorship as a predictable, romanticized trope for years; Luke Skywalker had Obi Wan Kenobi, Daniel-san had Mr. Miyagi, and Harry Potter had Dumbledore. And who doesn’t love to think there might be some unrecognizable potential, something very special in ourselves that only a wise mentor could help us find? (read more)

What advice would you give to other designers about collaboration? Share it in the comments!