In my experience,
- 1. they must share some background knowledge. It is too fatiguating to have to explain every piece of information you are using in your work.
- 2. they must share a similar goal. This does not need to be your final goal (e.g., making Indian philosophy part of the general enterprise of "Philosophy", and, hence, make it available to people looking for meaningness). But at least some part of the proximate goal must be common. I can aptly collaborate with someone whose proximate goal is to critically edit a text, if only we are both interested to understand a certain portion of that text.
- 3. paradoxically enough, I tend to think that they must NOT share many of my views. Differences in outlook make intellectual exchange intriguing and challenging.
- 4. they must be willing to engage in dialogue. I have been working with stubborn people (and I am one, too), but they were not so stubborn as not to end up admitting that they could not make sense of something (for instance, of a contradictory statement). People who are just too sure can be 'useful' but it is rarely the case that an authentic collaboration can take place.
What do readers think?
As for my praise of team-work, see here. The specific case of workshops is dealt with here, and that of conferences here.