When Collaboration Kills Creativity: a video Yahoo's Marissa Meyers needs to see

When I read that Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyers effectively ended the company’s work-from-home policy, it bugged me, but I couldn’t exactly explain why.

It wasn’t that I felt it was an unfair abridgment of workers’ rights or privileges. It felt wrong to me from a business standpoint. All I know is that over time it became more and more clear to me that working in an open office environment worked against my creative strengths and played to my social weaknesses. 

This video by Daniel Widfeldt Lomas is part of a series based on Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, by author Susan Cain. It expresses how I feel better than I could ever hope to. It is NOT anti-collaboration, but it offers an effective argument that many of the ways we collaborate now are broken and wrong-headed. 

Pixar offers a great model for how to mix individual creativity with serendipitous collaboration. Creative workers have their own spaces, but the design of the building encourages spontaneous meetings and interactions, where organic collaboration can take place.

Maybe if Yahoo adopts some of these ideas, Meyers’s decision to end working from home will end up helping the company. But if she thinks putting everyone in a big room where they can play creative kumbaya is the answer, I say fuhgeddaboutit.