According to bestselling author Berthold Gunster, saying “yes, and” rather than “yes, but” is the key to creativity and innovation.
HetkanWel | July/August 2010
“Picture this: You have a good idea and the only thing you hear are ‘yes, but’s. ‘Yes, but that didn’t work before either. Yes, but what if it fails?’ If you have a ‘yes, but’ perspective, you look at what should be but isn’t. As a result, you continue to think in terms of limitations, hazards and obstacles. ‘Yes, but’ will kill any idea.”
Yes, but what’s the alternative?
“The ‘yes, and’ attitude. This means you look at what can be done. You see chances and opportunities—not just the obstacles but also the path. You see what is there and what you could do with it. This enables you to think your way around problems. The result: creativity and innovation.”
How can you think your way around problems?
“Start by looking at reality in a different way and deconstruct a problem into a fact, so you move from ‘yes, but’ to ‘yes.’ You then proceed from ‘yes’ to ‘yes, and.’ You look at the bare facts and examine what you can do with them.”
So is it wrong to think in limitations?
“’Yes, but’ is not wrong! ‘Yes, and’ people invent the airplane; ‘yes, but’ people invent the parachute. The two need one another. The trick is to find the right balance.”
So how do you find that balance?
“Maintain the ‘yes, and’ basic stance for a longer period and be effectively concise with the ‘yes, but’ phase. If you stay too long in the ‘yes, but,’ you’ll think too much about the reality of the situation instead of observing it. Then you’ll brood instead of taking action. You’ll think about situations to the point of getting stuck, so a problem will seem unsolvable and you’ll miss important opportunities.”