Workplace blogs
Workplace blogs

Creative Solutions Require a “YES” Mentality

There’s a theater improv game called, “Yes and!” in which two participants tell a story together, with each participant using the bridging phrase “Yes, and…” as a way of building on each others ideas.“Yes, and…” is also a useful phrase to keep in mind when you try to look for creative solutions to challenging issues or a creative solution to a dispute. It forces people to seek out common ground. It forces people to listen to each others perspective. And it can force creative solutions that might have otherwise been overlooked in favor of simpler, one-sided solutions.

The “Yes, and…”  approach can also be used as a creative, intellectual warm-up exercise. Create a list of issues that seemingly have polar opposite perspectives and then force yourself to take a “Yes and” approach and see how you can agree with both statements. You can try it with workplace issues, or, if you are feeling very brave, dive into the deep end of the pool and see what ideas can come out of …

Believing global warming is a serious threat AND believing global warming is over-hyped and the solutions to it are a serious threat to our economy?

Being pro choice AND pro life?

Being against the war in _____ AND for the war?

Being for more government regulation in ____ AND against more government regulation?

Being for unfettered free speech AND for some controls over free speech?

Being for Star Wars AND for Star Trek?  (okay… I had to lighten the mood here)

Anyways, you get the gist. Try this with some of your less controversial workplace issues and see what ideas it leads you to.

Michael Kerr, December, 2011

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