July's COLLABORATE talk with Parker Gates of stoke.d


In the spirit of July’s theme, COLLABORATE, we had Parker Gates of stoke.d (tw @stokedproject) join us to give a high-energy, hands-on lesson on how to be a better collaborator. Held at their studio in The Skillery  (tw @theskillery / in @theskillery) — our third event at the Germantown co-working space! — we had the patio open, our collaborate playlist pumping, and a fully packed house. 



Parker Gates co-founded stoke.d with Anna Love-Mickelson, and together they travel the globe spreading human centered design to organizations looking for a new way of working. They both also teach Design Thinking at the d.school at Stanford University where their own collaboration originally started. 

What Parker and Anna do is pretty revolutionary, considering how much collaboration is discouraged throughout our lives. In school it’s considered cheating. At work it’s considered inefficient, and the few times we do collaborate are often stressful and ineffective.

But, collaboration is also a very positive thing. When you bring very different people together, you expand your perspective in ways you simply can’t achieve on your own. Plus, it’s tough to be truly objective with yourself. 

So, what makes a good collaboration? Parker gave us four tips:

1) Take a “yes, and” approach, not a “no, but” one.
2) Make your partners look like bad asses.
3) Build a radically diverse team to ensure radically diverse perspectives.
4) Be mindful of process. Set separate times for generating and exploring ideas.

Have you had a chance to test some of his tips yet? If so, let us know how it went!



As always, we started off the morning with treats from some of Nashville’s finest, including coffee from Frothy Monkey (tw @frothymonkey / in @frothymonkey), bagels from Bagel Face Bakery (tw @bagelfacebakery / in @bagelfacebakery), mini-pies from The Loving Pie Company (tw @thelovingpieco), chocolate chip cookies from Steadfast Coffee (tw @steadfastcoffee / in @steadfastcoffee). 


Inside, we got together and redesigned Nashville into a perfect collaborative city. Everyone got creative — and a little crazy — drawing treehouse dance parties and skyscraper rollercoasters. We also set up our first jobs board, and we’d love to hear if anyone made a connection using it. Let us know on!


We also had Peter Durand of Alpha Chimp (tw @chimplearngood) live-scribe the talk before our eyes. Check out the video! Plus, if you’d like to learn how to do this, Alpha Chimp is offering a workshop through the Skillery.

And, if all of that wasn’t enough, we closed out the event with a give away of stoke.d calendars!


We owe a huge round of applause to our partners this month for helping us make it all happen: The Skillery (tw @theskillery / in @theskillery) and stoke.d (tw @stokedproject), Jive Print (tw @jiveprint / in @jiveprint), Grand Palace (in @grandpalace_nashville), Bagel Face Bakery (tw @bagelfacebakery / in @bagelfacebakery), Frothy Monkey (tw @frothymonkey / in @frothymonkey), and Steadfast Coffee (tw @steadfastcoffee / in @steadfastcoffee). You rock and we love collaborating with you!

A big thank you also goes out to our volunteer photographer Michaela M. Powell (in @mmp_photo), to our tech guy-cum-videographer Ben Stewart (tw @b3nst3wart / in @benstewart) for capturing the event for us. We hope to share video of the talk soon. Follow us on Instagram or Twitter to hear when it’s posted.