How can we achieve excellence in design collaborations? Cultivating social trust, organizing logistical aspects, supporting information flow are essential to any community effort. The need for ownership makes artistic collaborations different from others. The pitfalls of ego competition can be avoided by appropriate team size, task organization and fallback options. To negotiate design priorities, team members must use critical thinking. This presentation illustrates techniques for team-building with examples from my University of Oregon design studios focused on intentional communities. While the examples come from architectural design, the lessons are applicable to many types of collaboration that involve shared information about complex problems.