Yes, and…Change the world

Regine Gilbert
2 min readFeb 6, 2017


Have you ever been in a conversation and someone interrupts you and says, “yes, but”? This may automatically turn you off to what they have to say because it may be taken as a negation of your previous statement.

In improv comedy, an actor is not allowed to say no. They can say “yes, and”…

“Yes, and” can go far beyond the comedic stage. Yes, and can change the world. How can it change the world? If you use “Yes, and” it means that you need to be listening to what the person is saying. It’s a powerful way to add on to what someone just said.

What “Yes, and” can do for you:

  • Increase collaboration
  • Allow for more engaging conversation
  • Provide a positive environment for a team
  • Allow for additional problem solving

A few weeks ago I attended the UXCampDC and there was a discussion about User Experience and Social Justice. I got the opportunity to see this collaborative philosophy in use. “Yes, and” was used by the participants of the discussion. It provided people in the room the ability to share their ideas without fear of saying what they wanted without it being taken seriously.

How would your conversations with co-workers or users be different if you removed “but” out of your life and used more “yes, and”? It’s worth trying.



Regine Gilbert

UX Designer. Professor @NYU @GA. Passionate about accessibility, design & tech. Thoughts are my own.