Say yes,and instead of yeah–but

This weeks video post features the legendary marketing guru Joseph Pine (The Experience Economy). In 2002, he asked me to participate on the faculty at the annual Think About conference. This event, put on by he and his partner Jim Gilmore, is the premier experential marketing conference in the world. It attracts marketing pros from top brands (Coke, P&G and Mattel to name a few) as well as futurists and authors. It has a cool academic vibe and is referred to as “Think About University”. I brought my video camera along and shot some footage and did interviews. I’ll roll this out in installments over the next few months.

Joe’s collaboration technique extends from his body of work on Experential Marketing. He has a great point of view about how to work with someone else and innovate. Too many times, especially in project work, we take on the devil’s advocate role and answer all creative ideas with a dismissive/anal retentive “yes, but…?” which kills innovation pretty quickly. In the comedy improv world, the yes, and routine is core to coming up with funny sketches. As Joe believes all the world is a stage (even business), he also believes that we must borrow from street theatre and improve to stage memorable experiences. Don’t try to add meeting value by shooting things down when they haven’t even left the hangar, leave operations issues for the final pro/con debate — once the idea is given a chance to come to live. Joe demonstrates the value of saying “yes, and” in those situations to foster creative thinking.


Recommended Action: Identify one yes,and opportunity at work this week and purposely try out Joe’s technique. Post your results in comments.

Recommended Read: The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre and Every Business Is A Stage by Pine and Gilmore (if you’ve never read it, you’ve missed one of the top five big idea books in the last 20 years!).