Yes And is a technique that is taught in improvisational acting and in communications courses.
In improv, an actor begins supplying some bit of information that helps to create the scene. They may say to another actor “Looks like we’re in for a bad storm.” This is called an offer and the other actor’s job is to accept the offer and support their scene partner. They might say “Yes and I hope that the road doesn’t flood.” The opposite of accepting the offer is blocking, for example, contradicting the offer, which stops the flow of the scene.
Here is a video that demonstrate this technique:
The Improv Yes-And Rule
Yes And as a communication technique is meant to raise awareness of when we are dismissive of the ideas of other people. For example, Chris says “We could hire a virtual assistant to handle all the routine work that is using up all of our time.” Lee says “Yes but we’d have to spend time training a VA in how we want things done.”
The “but” in that reply can feel like a rejection of the original idea. Can’t you just hear Chris say “You’re always so negative. How are we ever going to get out from under if we don’t do anything?”
If Lee said “Yes and we’d have to spend time training a VA in how we want things done.” The conversation might continue in a similar vein. “Yes and we could start the VA in stages to break up the time drain.” Or even “Yes and we’d want to think of a way to minimize the disruption.”
Use the “Yes And” method to acknowledge and accept another’s suggestion and build on it.
Posted in collaboration, communication, porous
Tagged accepting the offer, acknowledge, awareness, brainstorming, collaborative techniques, communication, creativity, Debbie Exner, fun, habits, improvization, innovation, Maddie Hunter, pattern break, porous, support, Yes And
When Maddie and I have workshop participants take our Collaborability assessment, we frequently ask them which collaboration aspect surprised them. The most frequent answer is Pausing to allow time for reflection.
Pausing is most important when you have an instant and negative reaction to a collaborator’s suggestion.
When I notice that I have a strong negative response toward an idea, it’s a sign to me to slow down and check out what’s really going on. More often than not, I find that my reaction has more to do with me than with the idea itself.
The pause allows you to develop awareness about your own areas of resistance or automatic response. Once you’ve paused, you can ask yourself “How could this work?” or “How is that idea connected”? If you take the time to consider the merits or opportunities of an idea, it may lead to a solution that will work well.
Posted in collaboration, porous
Tagged awareness, Collaborability assessment, collaboration, collaborative aspect, collaborative techniques, competency, Debbie Exner, Debra Exner, ideas, learning, Maddie Hunter, open space, Pause, porous, reflection
While exploring the attribute of agility, I discovered a another doggie sport! For fun, here are a few pet-inspired videos demonstrating successful (and not so successful) collaborations. Notice that each collaborator has a different motivation.
First the fabulous performance so that you understand the goal
But, as with collaborations, it doesn’t always go that smoothly!
Dogs are initially trained with doggie treats but cats have a different motivation:
A fun toy and a willing owner! I have to go and try that on my kitties!
What motivates you?
If you’re hooked and want more of an explanation of the sport follow these links:
Why We Love Cats and Dogs – Video: Cat Agility Show | Nature.
Posted in agile, collaboration, just for fun
Tagged agile videos, agility, cats, collaborative techniques, Debbie Exner, Debra Exner, dog, fun, goals, Maddie Hunter, motivations, sport
The challenge: Create an algorithm that was 10% better than the one Netflix was currently using to recommend movies to subscribers and win $1,000,000!
The contest began on October 2, 2006 and was expected to take some time. It is a great example of crowdsourcing, or community-based design, which allows organizations to become more porous and tap talent outside of their organization.
“It’s been quite a drama,” said Neil Hunt, Netflix chief product officer. “At first, a whole lot of teams got in — and they got 6-percent improvement, 7-percent improvement, 8-percent improvement, and then it started slowing down, and we got into year two. There was this long period where they were barely making progress, and we were thinking, ‘maybe this will never be won.’
On September 21, 2009 Netflix awarded the $1M Grand Prize to the collaborative team “BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos.” Tune in tomorrow to find out about the role of collaboration in this contest!
Posted in business, collaboration, porous
Tagged Belkor's Pragmatic Chaos, collaboration, collaborative techniques, contest, crowdsourcing, deadoll, Debra Exner, innovation, Maddie Hunter, Neil Hunt, Netflix, networking, porous, synergy
Be forewarned! If you go out to dinner with me on a day when I didn’t get to write, you may be pressed into collaborative service. Such was the fate of my husband and friends last night.
by Angela Rutherford on flickr creative commons
Writing – blog posts and book pages – is my top priority from now until March and I am applying reward incentives to keep myself focused. One of those is “No wine until I write two!” The two is two blog posts (to stay ahead of the game), two pages (on the book) or two genuine hours of writing (even if it doesn’t yield a finished product).
Yesterday got away from me before I could write my quota. With me at dinner were my husband George, and friends Mike and Diane. We’d already ordered the wine so I had to act quickly. I asked, “Can someone give me two examples of how collaboration worked for you this week?” Both Mike and Diane came up with an answer. I’ll save Diane’s collaboration example for another day.
Mike talked about finding a problem with the way a customer’s data was showing up on reports that his company produces. He got his team together to solve the issue, considering whether the data was coming in incorrectly, what happened to the data next, finding the source of the problem, deciding if it applied to other customers and estimating the cost of fixing it. The point of the story was that the team collaboration helped to resolve the issue quickly.
Much to Mike’s dismay, Diane and George started asking him a whole lot of questions, attempting to collaboratively solve the issue all over again! My glass of wine was perched at my place-setting waiting for me to take my first sip so I asked Mike if he needed any help and he said “No everything is being handled.” Yahoo!
The moral is: If you’re out to dinner with me and supply an example be sure to start by stating what help, if any, you need. Hmmm…that’s a tip that might work in other situations too.
How do you motivate yourself to stay focused on your priorities?
Shackleton was not impressed by our ideas
I have a lot of experience with collaborating long distance and find that it works quite well. For example, yesterday I met by phone with Maddie Hunter, who lives in NJ, and Gwyn Nichols who is here in AZ. We talked for about an hour or so, brainstorming and planning a presentation that we will give in a few months.
Then, we divided up some assignments and hung up to write individually for a half-hour. We emailed our drafts and got back on the phone to discuss and edit and plan next steps. It was productive and fun, and together we came up with ideas that would not have occurred to us individually.
We’ve used google docs (docs.google.com)to brainstorm by writing ideas simultaneously in a spreadsheet and to store documents that we both need to access. Now we’re trying a collaborative online project management software program that Gwyn introduced us to – viewpath.net. Has anyone ever tried it?
What tools do you use to collaborate long distance?