Collaborative working environments are great, but sometimes they can get a bit noisy and the distractions prevent you from focusing. Karl Sabino told me how they used to solve this problem at Wheel (before it got swallowed up by LBi in 2004).
Get a toy monkey. Put it somewhere everyone can see it. The next time someone interrupts you at an inopportune time, tell them to “Go ask the monkey”.
Often, the act of clearly articulating your question is enough to enable you to answer it yourself.
Monkey says: “The answer lies within. But you might want to start by checking the intranet.” (Image Credit: Lance McCord)