People working together in groups are encouraged to build on the efforts and ideas of others as they engage in collaborative activity and discussions because it can help them to “tap” the “creative” potential in the group and generate more – and often better – ideas and alternatives.
Because this technique encourages people to add to or improve on the work or ideas of others, it is often called “hitchhiking,” but it is not “stealing” credit from others. Rather it is a way for individuals to offer suggestions that increase the value of what others are doing or suggesting and promote the effectiveness and output of the group as a whole.
Building is appropriate – and desirable — whenever something one person is doing or saying “triggers” a new idea that offers the potential for additional possibilities or benefits. You can build on the activities or ideas of others by:
- Suggesting ways to modify, improve, or expand them
- Combining two or more activities or ideas into a new one
It’s always good practice to look for ways to build on the efforts and ideas of others because it encourages participation and the flow of ideas that can help members of any group to generate new and more innovative ideas, processes, solutions, and results. And remember, when you do build on the ideas of others, acknowledge the person who originated the idea in the first place. It’s a “first-step” that’s always appreciated!