Brainstorming Technique: The “Yes, and” technique.

The "Yes and" technique.

Brainstorming Using The Yes, And Technique.

Today, I want to talk to you about how to improve the quality of your brainstorming session using the “yes, and” technique.


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Brainstorming Session

One of the reasons that clients bring me in is to work with them on improving their ideation, or their brainstorming sessions. Sometimes this will be done virtually sometimes in person in the form of workshops as really, what the problem they’re trying to solve is how to get the best from their team, their people, in terms of generation of new ideas, and being able to analyze these ideas as they create them. 

Yes, And Technique

Now, there was a technique that was first talked about by Phil Johnson, he wrote a book called improv in the 1970s. He was a teacher of acting, and improvisation techniques with actors with comedians. And this book was very influential in the acting community and actually started to permeate more widely amongst in the corporate world as well. And the technique is very, very simple. But let me first tell you what, before I tell you about the technique, let me tell you about the problem that actually can solves. So sometimes, if you’re working in certain types of organizations, when you have any type of ideation session or brainstorming session, you can sometimes have the people in the room who immediately look for all the problems, why something’s not going to work, this will, this will fail, this will never work. And it can be quite negative, and really pull down the vibe in the room at a time now those people are really needed because you need that diversity of thought. But in those early stages of an ideation or brainstorming session, you actually need people to be more expansive in their thinking. 

So this is when the yes and technique comes in. And I first really discovered this Yes, and technique from moving from the United Kingdom to then working in the United States in California, we’re in Silicon Valley of the Yes, and technique is used all the time. It’s just something part of the fabric of the startup scene. 

How It Works

And this is how it works. Let’s imagine you’re doing a brainstorming and ideation session with your team could be in person could be virtual, and someone puts forward an idea, even if you think it is the stupidest, wackiest, weirdest idea is never going to work. It is your responsibility to say yes to the idea, and, and add something that builds upon that idea. So is additive in its effect. So even if you don’t necessarily believe in the idea that person’s putting forward, you have to somehow find in your brain the ability to add something to that makes it perhaps even better, even we don’t honestly believe at that point, in the core idea, because a lot of brainstorming sessions are as much about movement moving forward from a fixed position to more growth mindset, as it is about anything else. 

One Thing

Now to do this improv technique of the Yes, and it requires a willingness to listen, a willingness to be open to new ideas. Because using the Yes, and technique requires that you listen to that person, even maybe if you don’t think much of that person, you don’t think much of necessarily their ideas, but you really have a willingness to listen. And to say yes to the idea. And what about if we added this to it? So we think, okay, we’re going to build this bridge, does this build it out of some bizarre type of material? Yes, And what if you build it out of that material and also did this so is adding Now sometimes what will happen is these little bridges, your linkages that you’re moving, there’ll be one thing within that that actually has real value. And this is when you go to assessing the stages as well. Now, this is a great technique, it’s a very simple technique to use, I highly encourage you to use it in the next brainstorming or ideation session that you have. Just explain to the team how it works, maybe show them this video, and just use the yes and technique for exploring the ideas and improving that sense of creative collaboration amongst your team. So let me know in the comments below. 

Do you use this Yes, and technique is is something that you find valuable in your organization and the creative work you do?


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