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A Whack on the Side of the Head



Creativity and innovation are a big part of delivering value to customers. In “A whack on the Side of the Head”, Roger von Oech shares ways to move away from the obvious, think differently and create new ideas. He also shares his experiences of igniting creativity in others and provides exercises for the reader to try.


One thing I particularly like is that he sees two phases to developing new ideas:


  • imaginative, where ideas are generated and played with

  • practical, where ideas are evaluated and executed. 


Having both these phases means that something tangible is created as a result of the ideas. So value is delivered to customers. 


It’s an easy read with good story-telling, often giving historical examples of creativity. 


One method that he describes to generate new thinking is the use of a random thing. He provides good examples to explain it but the bottom line is this:


1. Think of a question that describes the problem you’re looking to solve.

2. Pick a random thing.

3. Think how the random thing links together with your problem. When you first compare them, it may look like there’s no connection but there is. Your job is to find it.


I’m using this at the moment. I’m still in the imagination phase. Here’s where I am so far:


1. Question: what more can I do to generate curiosity and interest in my training courses?

2. I randomly picked a word from a book. I shut my eyes and pointed my finger on the page. The word I got was…”hammer”. Oh dear. 

3. I’m still thinking and haven’t got there yet but some ideas are beginning to form.


There is a lot of information in this book. I plan to drop into it before new projects and workshops. 


If you want practical ideas for helping people to think differently then this is a book for you.

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