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Creating a Safe Community for idea sharing- The Power of "Yes, and""

Building on the question "How might we create safe communities where all ideas are welcomed?" the "Yes, and" mindset from improv offers another powerful tool and mindset that fundamentally changes the way we interact with one another.

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"Yes, and" is an idea and mindset that comes from the world of improv.  The key rule is that you must always accept your partners offer.  In an improv scenario, this is critical as nothing will kill a scene faster than two players shooting each others ideas down.  

When introduced to groups as a mindset to enable safety and creativity, the #1 misconception is that "yes, and" means that you have to agree with every idea that is shared.  To some, this comes off as overly consensus based, while also not allowing room for debate or discussion around ideas.

In truth, "Yes, and" is not about agreeing with ideas, it is about acknowledging ideas.  When we excitedly shout out "Yes!" it means we are acknowledging that we heard the idea, and that it could be a great idea.  The "and" encourages us to be inspired by the ideas that others put out, and look for ways to build upon, break down, or remix those ideas.  

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Photo of Carole

Developing a mindset that enables us to see problems as opportunities is key to start being creative rather than feeling stuck!

Photo of Dina Gold

I like "mindset" approach; kind of like hypothesis questions which start with, "What if..." or "How Might We..." and allow room for growth off each others ideas vs. stopping.

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