Welcome to a new season of innovation and collaboration. If your idea, product or business has made it this far, it deserves to go much further.

You will experience innovation at an exponential scale as you work with new people. Think of a network of computers – many brains processing an idea from different perspectives to produce something novel. That’s the beauty of collaboration.

This year, use social media to identify people whose ideas complement yours. Join the Reddit, Nairaland or Facebook forum for your area of interest. Contribute to ongoing discussions or start a thread of your own. Sometimes, you may be ignored at first, but eventually your brilliance will shine through. Many social media groups work organically. People begin to recognise your handle and then reach out in real life. Those online connections soon become real world references.

You can use social media to connect with people around the world that you may otherwise never meet. Be bold. Be opportunistic even. But, be real.

If you’re prototyping a new idea, attend more hackathons and start-up competitions. Don’t be afraid of your idea getting stolen. Focus on the exposure and platform. At those competitions, seek collaborations with people who have the skills you currently don’t have – Marketing, business development, fundraising etc. Anyone can have an idea, but it takes an organisation, no matter how basic, to bring it to market. This year, organise and structure.

Your best partners will be those who work well online: by email, Skype, Slack and so on. They’ll save you time and by extension, money.

Use celebrations to launch important ideas. Turn your next birthday into a product launch. Everyone’s already planning to come. Why waste that?

Talk more. The most unusual ideas can come from conversations.

Choose a partner the same way you’d choose a spouse or significant other. Values matter.

Be ready to give out equity. Focus on owning a part of something great and not on being the sole owner of nothing.

Sign proper agreements. Hire a good Lawyer. Don’t be cheap.

Be generous. Give people what they deserve based on their contributions. This builds tremendous goodwill for future projects.

Share office space, share energy costs, share staff costs. Pay in kind. As a start-up, operate on a shoe-string budget.

Volunteer for projects outside your core industry. New experiences create a more balanced worldview.

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