In brainstorming sessions — and in improv — no phrase is more valuable than "Yes, and ..." The theory goes that criticism kills creativity and increases hostility. Instead, when someone adds a new idea to the mix, a "yes, and ..." reply can maintain creative flow and foster a positive, encouraging environment. Just ask Tina Fey.
After years of watching this advice cycle through businesses both big and small, scientists have started to think it could use some revision. For more than 15 years, scientific research has actually shown that dissent, debate, and competing views can spur creativity, not hinder it. Positivity is great, but criticism might be, too.
Whoops. Turns out Tina Fey and the rest of us might need to switch up our techniques to brainstorm and improvise better. Instead of "Yes, and ..." maybe we should go for "Yes, but, and ..."