Saturday, June 1, 2013

Creative Whack Pack Review

According to Colby, men will confess to treason, murder, arson, false teeth, or a wig, but not to a lack of humor. I believe that something similar happens with creativity: people like to think that they are creative, don't even  consider otherwise and… they may be right!

What many of us need to bring forth our innate creative powers is some sort of catalyst. Roger von Oech's Creative Whack Pack fits the ticket. In its original form it consists of a deck of 64 cards divided in four suits. Each card is gives a bite-sized story or situation and a strategy that may be adapted to the problem or concept the user is working on. The idea is that drawing cards singly or in combination and considering the strategy can shift the user's mind to previously unexplored, creative directions. The accompanying booklet gives some pointers on how else the pack may be applied but encourages the user to come up with her own methods.

The concept works. I've been using it since the mid 90s and has helped me overcome humps time and again. The only problem I find with it is that after many years of use, the strategies and stories have become a bit too familiar making the pack lose some of its spark. Still works fine, but I feel that now I need a tad more extra effort on my part to make the magic happen.

A good companion to the deck is the book A Whack on the Side of the Head by the same author. Here he explores his ideas on creativity more thoroughly sans cards. I believe that reading it once can make the reader appreciate the spanning concepts more and draw more benefit from the pack.

Inevitably, on this age of the tablets, an official app has been released. I've not checked it out, still preferring the physicality and feel of a deck of cards, but you might want to take a look into it. Thoroughly recommended.


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