04 November 2009

A Creative Whack: Exaggerate

Hi -

Do you like to collect creativity-enhancing techniques?

I've enjoyed books like James Adams's Conceptual Blockbusting, which helps you notice (and thereby eliminate) your own blocks to creativity. You've probably also seen Brian Eno's "Oblique Strategies," a deck of pithy thought-provoking sayings intended you to turn your creative problem on its ear.

Another creativity card-deck is Roger von Oech's "Creative Whack Pack." Many of the techniques are well-documented elsewhere, but I like how a deck of cards invites browsing. (I keep it in my briefcase and flip through it now and then.)

Here's a good example. It's a technique used by many successful entrepreneurs and inventors:

Imagine a joke so funny that you can't stop laughing for a month. Paper stronger than steel. An apple the size of a hotel. A jet engine quieter than a moth beating its wings. A home-cooked meal for 25,000 people. Try exaggerating your idea. Think big: what if it were a thousand times bigger, louder, stronger, faster, or brighter? What if the number of people who could use it were increased a thousandfold? Now think small; what if it were only one-thousandth as powerful, fast, costly, or complicated as before? How can you exaggerate your idea?