Yes, And…

The phrase “Yes, and…” is an affirmation and an extension of possibility. It is also a technique used by designers to kick start collaborative creation. Borrowed from improvisational comedy and acting, “Yes, and…” is an exercise that engages team members in a rapid-fire cascade of open-minded exploration. Each idea, no matter its seeming merits or shortfalls, is greeted by “Yes, and… .” This encourages divergent thinking. And it forestalls the premature rush to entertain all the reasons a thing can’t be done (until later in the process when possibilities have been given the chance to incubate). This prompt charges team members to discover and extend possibilities contained within existing research projects. Whether giving shape to a still-germinal effort or taking as a springboard to a “completed” body of work, collaborators’ “Yes, and…” will drive their inquiry and resulting project.