Some Wild Ideas I Got from Whacking

by Brad Isaac on July 8, 2009

One interesting tool I found way back in the early 1990′s was Roger Von Oech’s Creative Whack Pack.  The Whack Pack is a deck of cards based on his popular creativity building books A Whack on the Side of the Head and A Kick in the seat of the Pants.

I happily own a copy of each of these as well. But one problem always plagued me. I never felt like I understood the Whack Pack. They are fun cards to read and all, but I was missing something because I never felt like I was getting answers. Just more questions.

A picture of me “whacking”

Then along comes the iPhone and subsequently The Whack Pack for iPhone . This awesome version has with it a ‘workshop’ mode that guides you through the process.

To do a workshop, you enter a problem you are having. Simple enough. Then you are dealt 4 cards that will predict your future and you live happily ever after (just kidding ). The 4 cards actually are designed to give you a “whack” in each of their focused areas. By their very nature, whacks are designed to stretch your imagination in new ways so you can see your problem from new and different perspectives.

It may sound a little silly – and it is at times. But we all need a little sillyness now and again to keep creativity flowing.

I presented a problem I was having last nonth to the CWP. And overall, after 20 minutes or so of working on my problem I felt much clearer, relaxed, and optimistic.

Below is a recent workshop I did – complete with typos for your convenience.

Your Issue:

Deciding what my highest priority goal should be

Card 28 – Imagine Others

Creative people I respect:

  • Edison - he would say, work night and day with stuff you like doing. Your goal will appear.
  • David Gilmore – practice and get drunk now and again. You’ll figure it out
  • Da Vinci – take chances – explore new worlds.

Card 11 – Use Your Senses

I look at the idea of honing in on 1 goal today as a dark, pressure filled event. Sort of like since I take on stuff SO ambitious, I can’t help but fail – at least in some respects.

Not focusing let’s me relieve some pressure since I can always move on to something else.

Maybe I can think of a goal that is both fun and low pressure that involves enjoyment of other senses. Like maybe my one and only goal for June is to make extaordinary food for lunches and dinners.

Or maybe a goal to spend 1 hour a day doing nothing. Just sitting at the park taking in the sounds of people and children playing.

Card 12 – Listen to Your Dreams

What is dreamlike in my current situation? The images of future pressure, failure, disappointment and thoughts of letting me and others down is just an illusion. Rationally, I know it’s fear, emotionally it is confusing. Just like when you wake from a dream you know there isn’t a creature under the bed. But you are still afraid.

Card 23 – Rearrange

How can I rearrage my issue?

1. Decide for ALL of June I will have no goal or direction

2. Every time I feel pressure to perform, I stop and review #1

3. I start focusing on the objects I want, not the actions. Do I want a boat? A Mac? What?

Have you tried whacking?

I know many of you have either read Von Oech’s books or use the Whack pack, why not post your opinions below.   Maybe you have some tips for getting more from the books or software.

If you like this post, please consider voting for it on or stumbleupon… you’d be helping your fellow whacker! lol

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B. Riley July 8, 2009 at 12:02 pm

So it’s like the magic 8 ball with more whack! Instead of answers, it gives questions. . . Nice!

July 8, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Glad you’re having fun with the Creative Whack Pack App! Thanks for the kind words as well.

Good luck and happy whacking!
.-= Roger von Oech´s last blog ..Video of the Amazing X-Ball® =-.

July 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm

This is great – cool idea and iPhone recommendation.
.-= kenton´s last blog ..The 15 creepiest vintage print-ad treatments =-.

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