Yes, and… Making Leaps in Education 

 In their book, Creative Confidence, Tom and David Kelley discuss the challenges, but ultimate benefits of taking “leaps” when approaching innovation.

“While everyone has enormous potential for creativity, our experience suggests that successfully applying creativity in your work and life requires something more: the courage to leap. All that potential energy will just fade away if you don’t work up the nerve to unleash it, again and again” (p. 168).

In education, I have found a lot of great ideas get caught in the “Yes, but…” trap. Anyone who spent time performing on stage will tell you the number one rule there is actually, “Yes, and…” Whether performing in a scripted show or an improv scene, you take what your counterpart gives you and add to their idea. This ensures the show makes progress.

Can we promote more leaps in education? Let’s create more “Yes, and…” situations:

  • Rapid prototype. “If you want to make something great, you need to start making” (Creative Confidence, p. 123). Never underestimate the power of showing over telling. Draw a picture, make a model, create a spreadsheet. The more people can “see” an idea, the more realistic the possibility will feel.
  • Be honest. Let people know you are taking a risk and ask for their honest feedback during the process.
  • Don’t quit. When trying something new, it is important to manage your expectations: chances are high it is not going to go perfectly the first time. Take the feedback provided and make changes to modify your idea.
  • Engage a team. Let’s face it, risk seems less risky in a group. (This also happens to be a chapter inCreative Confidence: Team). The varied perspectives of your group will undoubtedly make your idea stronger. We can easily rely on our “go to” people, but be sure to reach out to diverse stakeholders in your organization.
  • Innovate inside the box. George Couros presents this idea in Innovator’s Mindset, and it is an important elephant to discuss. Educational mandates and political hoops are real, and innovation is still possible within them. Create your own pocket of innovation and share your work.
  • And v. But. This does not mean we avoid controversy or move forward with a weak plan. Problem identification is only a progress killer if our work stops there. When identifying a problem, be ready with possible solutions.

How do you promote “Yes, and…” situations? 


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