The Co-creation of a New Calendar Girl

Late last year I was looking around for some music and happened upon a spectacular open source music project. It is the brainchild of Tamara who made the effort to write and record the vocal track for one song each month. These were then made available to the CCmixer community who would mix and engineer the tracks and then republish the finished track.

The aim?

To collaboratively produce an album at the end of the year. Read more of the back story here.

What is interesting is to see the way that the community picked up on this collaborative effort and brought it to life. There is a real tenderness and excitement in the whole creative process. But what is the secret to this? How does it happen?

First up … any community effort or cocreation project must start with a GIFT. Without the gift of time, contribution, energy and sponteneity, cocreation cannot exist. In this instance, Tamara’s initial gift was her songwriting. Her second gift was her beautiful voice. The third was her time and care to record and share the tracks.

Next came the COMMITMENT. Tamara followed through each month to build and sustain the community. Around the world, people would wait, expectantly, for a new vocal to be released … and then would set to work, collaborating, building and refining their mixes. Comments and feedback would flow between the collaborators and remixes, additions and whole new songs would emerge.

To make this work, you also need a THEME. You need to find some way to harness the creative energies of diverse people. You must allow them into the process, and allow them to tell their own story as much as they tell yours. In open sourcing the vocal track, Tamara turned her single voice into a creative chorus.

Finally, you also need a GOAL. While these projects can be fun, they also need to be serious. By setting a deadline to the project (one song per month for a year), Tamara was able to build support over time. This would allow the community enough time to build and to get excited about the process and the contributions made.

So, if you are thinking of a kicking off a co-creation effort, remember the steps. Better yet, write them down in a notepad, skip over to Calendar Songs and write out a plan for how you will bring your project to life. Remember:

  • Gift
  • Commitment
  • Theme
  • Goal

Oh, and make sure you have fun while you are doing it. Enjoy January!