Pair design Rule #2: "Yes, and…"

August 28, 2014 Pam Dineva

We shared 40 hours a week, a screen, a product, client relations and a problem space. We raved about the joy and productivity of pairing is this post, and now we’re on a quest to codify the tenets of pair design.yes-and-2

Pair Design Rule #2: Yes, and!

Rather than bulldozing your pair with your own ideas, take their ideas and build on them. Don’t judge your pair’s idea and toss it away. It’s called “Yes, and…” It’s when you say yes, and to every idea and build on it, like paving a highway for discovery and exploration.

Yes, and! It works in improv. It works in marriage. It works in pairing. True story, just witness the brilliant ‘Yes, and’ demonstration by Janice and Jason on making breakfast a la ‘Yes, and’.

Here’s how our culinary example of ‘Yes, and’ went:

Breakfast of YES, AND

“Good Morning, I’m starving, wanna make waffles”
“Yes, with syrup!”
“And Bourbon!”
“Yes, vanilla bean syrup Bourbon and cornflakes, a la Humphry Slocombe’s secret breakfast ice cream”
“Ice cream, let’s make waffles a la mode”
“Yes, cornflake flour waffles with Bourbon vanilla bean syrup, where are the whisks at”


Breakfast of NO

“Good morning, I’m hungry, wanna make breakfast?”
“Ummmm you know, my neck really hurts?”
“oh, I’m sorry, uh how about some tea, a bloody mary and a sea anemone, I hear they’re really good for muscle relief”
“I had a bloody mary last night, no sea anemone”
“uh, sure… *shutter*”

Which partnership would you rather be in? The first one I think.

Okay fine, breakfast is one thing, but how do you say ‘yes, and’ to Lobster, 12pt font paragraph styles, really?

Timebox it. Give yourself a limited time commitment of YES. One of two amazing things will happen:

  1. You end up somewhere wonderfully unexpected, like deconstructed ice cream breakfast, whimsical logotype or a 21st century marauder’s map. Voila!
  2. download_20140828_184020Or…. You will both be convinced of the sheer insanity of ice-cream breakfast, Harry Potter-inspired interfaces. But now you’ve explored, you learned, you went down the rabbit hole and back up to clear the space for new, fresh, sane ideas. It’s a wonderful journey of discovery, like Dr. Seuss meets Tim Burton for a hackday.

So start slow, say ‘yes, and’ to the next idea you hear, be it brilliant or Lobster. And tell us, what did you come up with? Where did ‘yes, and’ take you today?

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