We run brain-storms around the world, for folks from different cultures, backgrounds, specialisations and expertise. And we always see how easy it is for a session to fail. And often, all it needs are two terrible, terrible words.
No two words can destroy creativity, stop thinking, build animosity and disrupt collaboration in an Innovation session than someone saying “no, but” to an idea. Saying “no, but” is like throwing a wet rag on someone’s thinking. Everything ends with it. (Of course, my Transactional Analysis friends will take this further, to the infamous Game of the same name).
So, what are the words that we should use in a session, to encourage and enhance ideas?
The most powerful two words that encourage and empower participants, and enhance their work. It promises more, a collaborative “adding” process that excites everyone, especially the participant, who feels supported by others.
And “yes, and” opens up possibilities to build the ideas into more meaningful engagements where others contribute, the make the whole truly greater than the sum of the parts.
As Steven Johnson, in his classic work “Where Good Ideas Come From” had mentioned that sometimes all a good idea needs is another good idea to combine with, to become a great idea. The word “and” offers enormous promise for that – the possibility of convergence, of combinations and cohesion. It pushes everyone to add more value, look at each idea positively and removes the elements of criticism and negativity.
“Yes, and”… The two most powerful words to inspire creativity. Try it today.