Accepting offers – saying “Yes, and…” is fundamental to improv. Without it there is no action, no progression. When applying this principle in business and organisations, the criticism is often that many ideas are not worth accepting. In other words, (“yes…) it’s OK in improv (“but…) not at work. In trying to shift the mindset from ‘Yes, but…’ to ‘Yes, and…’ I came across this explanation by Robert Lowe in his book Improvisation,Inc.
‘Yes’ is about acknowleding. Letting the other know that they have been heard. It doesn’t presume agreement. ‘And’ is about addition, rather than substitution.