20 quotes from the creative whack – Roger von Oech

16th Feb 2017
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Roger von Oech is one of the pioneers behind the creative revolution in business. His book, A Whack on the Side of the Head, is a perfect blend of fun, imagination, and surprises. A speaker, toymaker, and author, von Oech and has been providing creativity consulting services for big names like Apple, IBM, Disney, Sony and Intel.

Image credits: Creative Commons

Describing creativity as ‘whack’, here’s what he has to say on the subject:

 

  1. “Everyone has a ‘risk muscle’. You keep it in shape by trying new things. If you don't, it atrophies. Make a point of using it at least once a day”.
  2. “If you fall in love with an idea, you won't see the merits of alternative approaches –and will probably miss an opportunity or two. One of life's great pleasures is letting go of a previously cherished idea. Then you're free to look for new ones. What part of your idea are you in love with? What would happen if you kissed it goodbye?”
  3. “Knowledge is the stuff from which new ideas are made. Thus, the real key to being creative lies in what you do with your knowledge.”
  4. “If you don't execute your ideas, they die.”
  5. “There is a close relationship between the ‘ha-ha’ of humour and the ‘aha’ of discovery.”
  6. “Going to a junkyard is a sobering experience. There you can see the ultimate destination of almost everything we desired.”
  7. “Am I getting lazy? Am I too busy? Am I becoming arrogant? Am I getting timid? If you answer ‘yes’ to any one of these questions, that's your warning to kick that attitude!”
  8. “It's difficult to get your creative juices flowing if you're always being practical, following rules, afraid to make mistakes, not looking into outside areas, or under the influence of any of the other mental locks.”
  9. “Look for the second right answer.”
  10. “It's important for the explorer to be willing to be led astray.”
  11. “Here's my advice: Go ahead and be whacky. Get into a crazy frame of mind and ask what's funny about what you're doing.”
  12. “Remember the two benefits of failure. First, if you do fail, you learn what doesn't work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.”
  13. “Most brilliance arises from ordinary people working together in extraordinary ways.”
  14. “The hallmark of creative people is their mental flexibility. Sometimes they are open and probing, at others they're playful and off-the-wall. At still other times, they're critical and fault finding. And finally they're doggedly persistent in striving to reach their goals.”
  15. “Take advantage of the ambiguity in the world. Look at something and think what else it might be.”
  16. “Flexibility is a requirement for survival.”
  17. “The worlds of thought and action overlap. What you think has a way of becoming true.”
  18. “Open your mind up to things that have no connection with the problem you're trying to solve: subscribe to an unusual magazine; spend a morning at an elementary school; go to work two hours early; test drive an exotic car; attend a city council meeting; try an Indonesian recipe.”
  19. “By the time the average person finishes college, he or she will have taken over 2,600 tests, quizzes, and exams. The right answer approach becomes deeply ingrained in our thinking. This may be fine for some mathematical problems where there is in fact only one right answer. The difficulty is that most of life isn’t this way. Life is ambiguous; there are many right answers- all depending on what you’re looking for. But if you think there is only one right answer, then you’ll stop looking as soon as you find one.”
  20. “New ideas are not born in a conforming environment.”

Now how’s that for inspiration?

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