Building on ideas with the ‘Yes and…’ principal

Originally an improv (Comedy theatre) warm-up game. Now widely used as an ideation workshop method to produce unexpected results.

The “Yes, And” rule is a guideline of Improvisational comedy that suggests a participant should accept what the other person has created (“Yes“) and then add something to it (“And”).,_And%22_rule

‘Yes And…’ means

Letting go means less ego.

Openness yields unintended and positive returns.

Building awareness forces you to reevaluate.

Each moment is a tiny explosion of possibility.


noun – the formation of ideas or concepts – which, in this case is also used as a verb to generate many ideas from which something great may come.

Ideation, whether by yourself or in a group is fun until we automatically engage in self and others’ moderation. We have been taught in schools to be the smart one and have all the answers – this causes anxiety. Both in trying to produce ideas and the worry created about telling others who we think will judge our ideas.

During an ideation session we aim to create as many and wide-ranging (divergent thinking) ideas as possible (see the double diamond method). These many ideas which no matter how far fetched or possibly ill suited – can land on the board and become a catapult for someone to build upon and hopefully create something great. For example; if you feel that something is ill suited for this cause then it will automatically help bring focus to your thoughts, or make you think of a idea that buildson the first idea you were criticising to create something amazing.

Once you have many ideas that are available, everyone (group scenario, or peers for individual) has an opportunity to pick favourites to help prioritise the most important/beneficial/logical solutions to move onto the next round of design, which will again be validated.

Here is the best way I’ve seen to represent that idea and the benefits that can come from it. Using storytelling and real emotional examples that people can relate to. It’s a story well told.

and here’s how ‘Yes and’ can change your life