Arthur B. (Andy) VanGundy
May 24, 1946 ~ May 5, 2009
Andy was a friend, mentor, colleague and co-author of our creative collaboration: Orchestrating Collaboration at Work. We first met online about 10 years ago, and one thing led to another. Prolific emails, long phone calls, and a shared passion for creativity. As we got to know each other I dreamed of writing a book with him, and shortly after that my dream came true. He asked me to collaborate with him on arts-based training book.
I am so grateful Andy has given me the opportunity to collaborate with him, because I’m sure if I did this alone, I would never have gotten past the publisher’s five pages of instructions for preparing a proposal. I had no idea what I was in for when we started this book and, I am happy to say- for the most part-the whole process has been very enjoyable. So enjoyable, in fact, I have examined how it is that we work so well together – we don’t even live in the same country.
Some statistics regarding our collaboration for this project:
Number of face-to-face meetings: 0
Number of phone calls: 6
Number of emails: 2,500
And some observations:
- We collaborate well because we each have complementary skills necessary for the success of the project. While each of us probably could produce this book on our own, it would be much more difficult to do so. This makes each of us valuable to the other.
- We clearly defined our roles, duties and deliverables at the onset, to avoid future misunderstandings. We also religiously follow-up and follow through, so we can count on each other.
- Respect for each other is part of the foundation of our association. So, when we make errors, we don’t kill each other! We respond instead with compassion. We respect each other’s opinions and treat each other’s ideas with care-even if we don’t always agree with each other.
- We constantly inject humour into our communications, which is so important to the collaborative process-especially in an online environment.
L. “Andy, what is a white paper? and don’t get smart on me… ;-)”
A. “Curses!! You set me up like that and then yank the rug right out.”
L “A master fencer anticipates the moves of an opponent even when blindfolded.”
We also agreed early on to avoid sarcasm.
- There is a quality of care in our partnership that gives each of us permission to be fully human. Neither of us feels judged when our human foibles surface. This quality of care dramatically impacts the quality of my own work and significantly reduces stress levels when we are under pressure. This creates a sort of “us against the world” camaraderie.
Bless you Andy, and thank you for your friendship, guidance, humour and creativity.
Arthur B. VanGundy Ph.D. was Professor of Communication at the University of Oklahoma from 1976 – 2008. He was Board Member at Creative Oklahoma, Inc., and a Leader at Creative Education Foundation. He wrote the creativity training program for the American Management Association and the creativity chapter for The American Marketing Association’s Marketing Encyclopedia.
He was a pioneer on idea generation techniques and wrote eleven books including: Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, Idea Power, and Brain Boosters for Business Advantage.
His books have been cited over 100 times in such journals as:
Academy of Management Journal,
The Journal of Product Innovation Management,
Journal of Advertising Research,
Copyright 2009 Creativity at Work