We are pleased to send out C3’s first newsletter. Writing about our collaborative work style to introduce ourselves seemed apt because, after all, collaboration is at the heart of contemporary science. From multi-PI studies to multi-site studies, collaboration has become as essential part of the scientific process. Funders realize this too, and have created increasing numbers of collaboratories, networks, and multi-site funding opportunities. C3 was founded on a similarly strong belief in the power of working collaboratively. We worked closely together for many years in an academic-model research institution before deciding to start our own company, C3 Science.
In the past three months we have developed both websites and proposals that required working closely with clients over multiple iterations. We work with multiple writers and editors who all apply their unique perspectives to each project; and we work with investigators across disciplines and institutions. We are also working with artists and web developers to create print materials, websites, and to design a “look and feel” that is consistent with the broad dissemination goals of individual studies. This is fulfilling work, and reinforces why we formed this company. We want to work closely with researchers to improve their research, not turn out mountains of one-off products on which we were brought in to copyedit.
What does our collaborative work style actually look like? While working on a pair of recent proposals, we held daily meetings to discuss how each proposal was going, to see whether anyone was falling behind and needed assistance, and to figure out what work remained to be completed. Both proposals came together quickly and the timing had to be carefully orchestrated. Both were also proposals for large projects that involved multi-million dollar budgets and a number of sites, so simply tracking the multiple iterations of, and comments for, each draft could have been a full time job. But these morning “traffic” meetings are only the beginning of our work day. We also shared sections of each proposal to make sure we had several different perspectives on each. Our long experience working in this field and highly collaborative team made what could have been a stressful situation exciting and enjoyable. On projects like these, concentrating on the creative challenge instead of the logistic problems makes a world of difference, and keeps us excited about our work as we learn from each other by putting our heads together. Another example of how we work intensely with each other is our process of doing “rounds” on each other’s work. When one of us faces an interesting problem in a piece we are working on, we will use that piece to conduct a workshop-style review of the editing. That way we hear from each other what the other person might have done differently, and what worked well. We have learned that having multiple writers and editors give input gives a much richer result than just having a single editor. We think this working style is unique in its intensity, and in its level of trust—and we know it benefits our clients in addition to providing learning opportunities for us that keep us excited about doing this work. We hope you think so, too.