Brainstorms often fail to deliver anything interesting a lot of the time, mostly because, sooner or later, someone starts saying, “Yes, but…”

Yes but we can’t afford that, yes but we don’t have the right skills, yes but does that fit our strategy, yes but… yes but. This is a fundamentally negative reaction. One that kills motivation, enthusiasm and interest as fast as a bucket of ice water over your head.

It also demonstrates how important a positive attitude and positivity, in general, is to innovation, invention and creativity.

The point is never whether you have the budget, the skills, the market of the opportunity. The point is whether it is an idea worth pursuing.

Perfect ideas rarely emerge fully formed into the light of day. Mostly, they require polishing, fine-tuning, having things added, having things taken away. Then they become perfect.

Unhelpful yes butThe “Yes but…” response judges all ideas as if they are finished and then banishes them with pre-existing judgements.

However, if you react and judge [positively, you have an opportunity to grow and develop good ideas to completion, to truly make progress. This is reflected by something as simple as saying ‘Yes and…” instead of “Yes but…”

Use ideas as jumping off points and Grow them.

When you have created a long list of ideas and new approaches or whatever your brainstorm was set up to deliver, don’t eliminate options because they ‘are too expensive, ‘won’t work’, ‘are too radical’. Rather choose ideas to develop because they are a start, are going in the right direction.

It is very hard to be creative when you are depressed and unhappy. Negative is defined as ‘being characterised by an absence’. Just this definition shows you that if you are going to choose by applying negative criteria, you are going to end up with nothing new.

By contrast positive is defined as ‘being characterised by presence’. In other words, you have a THING.

A THING can be built, adapted, improved and perfected. An absence takes you back to square one, to start all over again. Groundhog Day.

Next time you’re in a brainstorm, remember this and keep focused on the ideas that have value, rather than just dismissing things with ‘Yes but…’