How Does the ‘Power of Yes’ Apply to Innovation?

February 9, 2018

Why, you ask, the POWER OF YES!? And, how the heck does the POWER OF YES! connect with innovation? Let me explain.

Shawn Nason, Nason Group

It all began several years ago when I took an innovation job in a new industry. I was fresh from leaving an organization that held innovation as a core belief. The mindset and practice of innovation permeated every aspect of the organization’s culture and it guided how the company’s leadership made decisions for the organization. 

So, there I was with my team, ready for a new challenge in a company that was relaunching innovation within the organization. All of the ingredients for embracing disruption and bold ideas seemed to ready to go. The company’s mindset seemed to be right and the new leadership team was standing behind the new approach.  

But, as my team stepped into our first big endeavor, we heard the dreaded words that no innovator wants to hear:

  • No. 
  • We can’t do that, it’s way too out there. 
  • That’s a great idea, but it’ll never work. 
  • Regulations and regulators will not allow us to do that.
  • No! No! No!

My team and I were forced to embrace the demotivating power contained in the word no and how this “no mindset” can destroy the spirit of innovation. The effect of this type of mindset can and has stopped innovation not only in that organization, but organizations all over the world. Unfortunately, many innovators today face that mindset still.  

Navigating this journey of “no” shaped my thinking and my career path. The “no” words were part of a “no” mentality that was rooted in a “no” culture and I wanted to have no part in it. 

The experience became the catalyst for starting the Nason Group, which would be founded on the “POWER OF YES!” in innovation. 

In September of 2015, I blogged about the “Power of Yes!” for the first time. Fed up with organizational negativity, I wrote, “Each day I try to live the POWER OF YES—the power to give people the freedom to explore, test, and win; the power to let my children be all they want to be; the power to allow innovators the freedom to create what has never been created before; and most importantly, the power to say YES to life.” I still deeply believe in this statement, and in this current age we find ourselves in, it’s never been truer. 

As we lived into the “Power of Yes!” in innovation, we developed a challenge for ourselves and our partners:

  • Y—Yes, I can. Yes, you can. Yes, we can. Yes, Yes, Yes! In all circumstances, opportunities, and challenges, I will do my best to start with yes, which means distancing myself from the word “no.”
  • E—I will equip and empower everyone around me to reach for their dreams, especially the ones that they may feel are unattainable.
  • S—I will focus on success. There is a measure of success within each and every opportunity. Even if I fail, I learn and I move forward.

What WE Learned and What YOU Can Learn

The Nason Group has learned more than we expected from living the “Power of Yes!” It has influenced who we are today, how we work, and how we communicate. Most importantly, it affects our understanding of innovation and the partners with whom we work. We recently looked at who we wanted to be through the lens of the “Power of Yes!,” which enabled us to claim what we believe and why we do what we do. Here are our seven we believe statements.

 We Believe:  

  • The best thought solutions don’t always have to be complicated.

  • Using “know me, surprise me, and make it easy” will reconstruct the customer experience.

  • Disruption is healthy and necessary for growth and leads to new ideas that change the world—your world.

  • Ideas that are radical enough to change lives require a space for teams to create, develop, test, and implement.

  • Engaging consumers’ stories and voices are mission critical when exploring new ideas and the ONLY way to do business well.

  • Figuring out the right questions to ask takes time and energy.

  • With the POWER OF YES anything is possible. 

What are you currently saying “no” to that needs to change to “yes”? Practice replacing “no” with “yes” and let the impossible come to life! 

What We Do and What You Can Do 

At the Nason Group, the Power-of-Yes! mindset is our culture. It is how we lead, how we interact with our partners, and how we hold each other accountable. This year, I had the honor to take many of these thoughts and write a book called, “The Power of Yes! In Innovation!” In the book, I share my journey as an innovator and disruptor from the eyes of an executive and a person, what it is like to live out the “Power of Yes!” 

My ask of you today is to give it a try! Get out of your own way and focus on YES in the innovation space. When a “no” mindset creeps into your work, press the pause button so you can flip the no to a yes. And, in case you’re in the midst of wanting to give up on an innovation challenge, don’t do it! Find your Power-of-Yes moment and go kick some a**!

Rather than an article about a quick solution to innovation, I decided to write something from my heart that will hopefully challenge and inspire you to a new way of thinking. Getting to a YES mindset came from a lot of hard work, struggle, and pain. Our team has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of innovation. Perhaps you’ve seen it, too. Instead of living in the negative, which sucks the life out of innovation, let’s come together to focus on the POWER OF YES! together.

If you are interested in getting a copy of the book, The Power of Yes! In Innovation!, go to and enter code “InnovLead” for your discount. 

Shawn Nason is the CEO of Nason Group. InnoLead regularly publishes Thought Leadership pieces written by our Strategic Partner firms.