a positive “no”

As a technical artist, I sit in a lot of meetings where seemingly impossible ideas are flying all over the place.  In those situations, I have to work at letting the sky be the limit for as long as possible.  This isn’t easy.  I immediately start going into “figure it out” mode, and since many ideas can fall outside the realm of doability, I can tend to squash the brainstorming process.

Don't Do Anything Sign

I have noticed over the years, that because I don’t generally carry the burden of whether an  idea is a good one or not, or whether it will actually make a service better or not, it has been easier for me to list all the reasons why an idea won’t work, and not offer up any suggestions myself.  In my mind, I had thought to myself:  “Its your job to come up with the ideas, and its my job to execute.  So just come up with another idea.”

Somewhere along the way, probably “when I was at Kensington”, I realized that I wasn’t really interested in simply executing someone else’s idea, but I wanted to be a part of creating something together; to bring the best of all the art forms together and make something amazing.  Now the goal was collaboration, and just sitting back and waiting for workable ideas to come my way wouldn’t work any more.  Just saying “No.  What else have you got?” became obviously unacceptable.

Now, when I am in the sky’s the limit situations, the goal is to take the ideas and make them work.  To not just say something can’t be done, but to help figure out other options for creating the same idea.  To be a part of the creating it, instead of killing it.

As a tech person in brainstorming situations, how do you think you are viewed?  Do people expect you to shoot down their idea?  Or can’t they wait to share their idea with you because you’ll figure out way a way to do it, or to tweak the idea into something workable, or to make the idea better?

At the end of the process, maybe the answer is no; maybe the idea isn’t possible.  However, along the way, have you fostered the idea that you are a “no” tech person, or have you been a problem solving team player working hard to make the service the best it can be?



Creative Commons License photo credit: Lynn Friedman