The Joy of Creativity
The term “teamwork” is thrown around in lots of circles, especially in management seminars and business meetings. The truth of the matter is somewhat different to how it is often presented, though. For there to be true teamwork, every person must be able to bring something to the group that would otherwise be missing. If the group (or ‘team’) is properly constructed, there won’t be any need to promote teamwork, as it will simply be present. All members should be able to realize the value of each person involved without being prompted to work together.
The FOSS world breeds teams more through people who have similar goals better than anything that could be constructed by a business meeting. Simply put, if a project thrives, it is normally through the combined effort of people who simply wish to see the project succeed. There may be a “leader”, but they are generally in that position because of their contributions (such as Linus Torvalds), or through simply having the entire group’s goals in mind. If the team works, then the leader is there because the other members respect them enough to take instruction or advice from them.
The best teams are composed of creative individuals with a common goal. It’s not all about technical skill. While you obviously need to have the skill to implement an idea, often times a simple idea can grow into something worthwhile because it’s creative enough to survive the natural selection of open source software. I have lucked into meeting some truly creative people who work together through what is probably considered ‘chaotic-experimentation’ by onlookers. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard someone simply say “That is not a good idea.” It is generally tested, or tried, or written…and the end result is either trashed or it grows into a useful end product.
The creativity of the people involved often take what is a simple idea and they say something like, “…but wouldn’t it be better if…” and from there the idea takes on a life of its own. While there may be plenty of technical knowledge, that simple phrase can often lead to ideas and new concepts that would have never existed otherwise. Creativity is often overlooked, but it is essential to every good idea that has ever existed. Good ideas tend to survive.