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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Von Oech's
Ancient Whacks

More Creativity Cards from
My Favorite Creative Whack-O
Another discussion about favorite creativity tools with my buddy Peter Lloyd. This time we talk about Roger Von Oech's book, Expect the Unexpected or You Won't Find It: A Creativity Tool Based on the Ancient Wisdom of Heraclitus.

We both love it, and I mention that I am almost never without my "Whack On The Side of the Head"-inspired Creative Whack Pack. Peter asks how I liked the Ancient Whacks of Heraclitus card deck.


I didn't even know it existed.
Peter generously agrees to send me an extra review copy in his possession. Flash-forward a few days and I am eagerly shuffling through my new deck of creative cards!

Although this 32-card deck is much slimmer than the deck of 64-cards in the original Whack Pack, after reviewing each one, I believe that the Ancient Whacks deck provides much more food for thought.

Each card in the Ancient Whacks deck is based on epigrams from Heraclitus (the world's first creativity consultant, circa 500 BC). An epigram is very much like a Zen "koan" -- ambiguous and sometimes paradoxical statements that are intended to make one reflect on their meaning.

For instance, Heraclitus' statement "A wonderful harmony arises from joining together the seemingly unconnected." is a perfect reminder to try a technique I use all the time -- one in which I use metaphor to create a new approach to my creative challenge.

If you're promoting the opening of a new coffee shop, you might start to compare coffee to other things. How is coffee like flowers? Well... you pick beans, they both use "ground", they both need water, they both have a wonderful aroma -- that's a good one. Perhaps we could create a coffee bouquet? A dozen lattes? etc...

This card deck is not just a source of creativity - it's a source of inspiration.


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