Aderonke Adebanjo: The power of collaboration [NEW VOICES]

by Aderonke Adebanjo

I have observed something that worries me and something I think as young Nigerians we need to change very quickly.

With the way things are going and with the level of success a lot of young people have the potential to attain through the use of social media and other tools, I find that there is something many of us are ignoring. And that “thing” is the power of collaboration.

I really started thinking about this while I was reading a book written by the co-founder of Twitter. The more I read the book, the more I started to understand what we needed to change in this part of the world. I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel especially when it’s not necessary because you can learn from what others are doing without having to make the same mistakes they did. And one of the things that jumped out at me in that book was the incredible things that can happen when people join forces to create.

I won’t get into the details of the book but I highly recommend that you read it though (It’s called Secrets of Success From the Co-Founder of Twitter by Biz Stone) and I’ll say that in thinking about how Twitter was birthed, with a little bit of reorientation and a few adjustments in our way of thinking, young Nigerians can do and achieve so much more.

Collaboration, I find, is not as common here as is necessary and I think that’s the case for a few reasons. I think the first reason for this is that in a quest to be relevant, novel, and successful, a lot of people try to achieve great feats on their own so as to be recognized as the sole pioneer or the first to accomplish whatever the feat it. And while it’s great and ok to dream big and desire to be a pioneer, it’s also important to note that some feats require team effort and collaboration.

There’s a quote that says “to go far, go alone but to go farther, go together” and even the Bible says “one will put a thousand to flight but two will put ten thousand to flight” and both quotes highlight the fact that sometimes in order to achieve more, we might have to collaborate more. This isn’t a new idea per se but I think it is certainly a neglected one.

Another thing that keeps many young, creative minds from joining forces to collaborate is fear – fear that their ideas will be stolen, fear that they won’t be given credit for their work, and fear that they won’t be rewarded adequately for their efforts. But to those who are afraid, I ask: how far do you want to go? and how great do you want the results to be? Because if the answers to both questions are “very far” and “very great” respectively, then you must conquer the fear of collaboration and get to work. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we must go alone but other times, it becomes imperative that we go together.

These fears I’ve mentioned are only valid when due diligence is neglected during the process of collaboration – when paperwork isn’t in order, terms aren’t outlined clearly, objectives aren’t identified, and visions aren’t aligned. When none of these are done properly, collaborating becomes a messy, frustrating, and uninspiring experience.

However, if due diligence is properly carried out, it casts out fear but sadly, this still remains one area where a lot of young people get it wrong. They allow excitement, friendship, laziness, and procrastination to stop them from doing the needful to make collaboration a rewarding and successful experience.

I think whatever fears or concerns young people have about collaborating need to be addressed quickly and head on so that they can go farther and achieve more when we consider that when bright minds come together, bringing their skills, talent, varying degrees of expertise, and creativity together, leaps and bounds can be made in our different industries. We must make every effort to stop whatever might try to get in the way of the magic that can happen when young people come together and collaborate particularly because I strongly believe collaborative efforts can really boost our economy.

And so I challenge anyone reading this to think of what areas and in what ways they can collaborate with other young people more, bearing in mind what the enormous possibilities are and what potential resulting success lies ahead. I also challenge us all to confront the fears that keep us from collaborating with others and figure out ways to tackle those fears aggressively so that as we join forces and resources, we can do much more to boost our economy, change lives, accomplish more goals, and do much more than we thought we were capable of.

Aderonke is an On-Air Personality (OAP) on SMOOTH 98.1FM where she hosts The Drive Time show, which provides the right balance of entertainment and education to get listeners through traffic in the Lagos metropolis. The show offers useful information, great music, and interesting chit chat and interviews.

Aderonke is also a writer/blogger, which she demonstrates on her increasingly popular blog called The Love Chest ( She loves great conversation, a good laugh, and ice cream!

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