Description :

This group exercise can be done at the beginning of a creative process. It will illustrate the participants how to identify idea killers in the group – all type of communication such as  “That’s not how we do it here” or  “We already tried that”.

Methodology :

Step 1

The first step is to raise awareness. Divide the participants into pairs. Give each group the task of coming up with an idea for the adoption of a rescue dog or going on holidays. The first person makes a suggestion: “Let’s adopt a dog…”. Then the second person responds with a sentence starting with “Yes, but…”. 


Person 1: “Let’s adopt a dog”

Person 2: “Yeah, but it’s such a responsibility”; “Yes, but the dog can get sick and it’ll cost us a lot of money”

Do the exercise again. This time, each sentence should start with “Yes, and…”.

Person 1: “Let’s adopt a dog”

Person 2: “Yes, and we’ll have more opportunities to go on walks”, “Yes, and we’ll have company!”, “Yes, and we’ll have a chance to learn how to train a dog”.

After doing this exercise the participants will have a better understanding of how we are more often in the ‘yes, but…’ mindset than in ‘yes, and…’. They will also notice when they are looking for new solutions, the ‘yes, but…’ mindset is an idea killer. On the contrary, the ‘yes, and…’ mindset offers many more possibilities.

Step 2

Give each person a bag with candy in it. In the front and visible, place a big empty jar. Every time someone responds with an idea-killer response during the creative process, she or he has to throw a candy into the jar. 

When you are done with the creative activity or exercise (feel free to try any of the activities in the toolkit), have the group count how much candy is in the jar. 

  • How does the group feel after the exercise? Did this experience help them reflect on their mindset towards new ideas?
  • How often did they respond with idea killers?




Time :
Materials :
  • Big jar
  • Bag with candy ( at least as many as there are participants)
Outcomes :

Heightened awareness of different factors that can block our creativity.