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10 Mental Blocks Roger von Oech

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1 10 Mental Blocks Roger von Oech

2 Ten Mental Locks The right answer That’s not logical Follow the rules
Be practical Play is frivolous That’s not my area Don’t be foolish Avoid ambiguity To err is wrong I’m not creative

3 Conceptual/Mental Blocks
The right answer Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one we have Look for the second right answer, then… e.g., five figures at start of chapter

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6 Conceptual/Mental Blocks (cont.)
That’s not logical We need a combination of “hard” and “soft” thinking Two main phases in the development of new ideas: an imaginative phase (thinking something different) and a practical one (getting something done)

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11 Exercise (p.46/50/62) Make a metaphor for a current problem
Compare your concept to something else, then see what similarities you can find See how far you can extend the comparison e.g., disciplining a ten-year old is like performing a magic trick

12 Metaphor Exercise Look at metaphor examples p.48/52/66
Make at least two of your own (re the meaning of life) Share in groups, discuss briefly Report out

13 Conceptual/Mental Blocks (cont.)
Follow the rules Rules, patterns, and the past are both useful and constraining Creative thinking may simply mean the realization that there is no particular virtue in doing things the way they have always been done Consider the stance: every rule here can be challenged except this one

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18 TRIPLETS A triplet is a set of three words that are linked by a common fourth word, consider, e.g.: ELEPHANT - HOUSE - SNOW What word could link these three words? (it can appear either of before or after each of the three words to form well-known compound words or phrases) An answer for this triplet is WHITE, as in: WHITE ELEPHANT, WHITE HOUSE, & SNOW WHITE

19 Some Triplets to Try BOARD - HOLE - JACK DOUBLE - ROAD - STITCH
MAKER - TENNIS – STICK

20 Triplet Exercise All teams have the same puzzle sheet but each team has a different set of clues. Find the link word for each triplet and write it in the appropriate blank. Scoring (time to solve & points): 3 minutes, 100 points 4 minutes, 80 points 5 minutes, 60 points 6 minutes, 40 points 7 minutes, 20 points >8 minutes, 10 points Copy the first letters of the link words to see an important message about teams.

21 1. REIN - HUNTER - SKIN 2. RIG - CRUDE - SNAKE 3. BAD - BULLETIN - FLASH 4. ROBBERY - EXPRESS - WAGON 5. CHEESE - ICE - SOUR 6. SECOND - POLL - PUBLIC 7. BELT - BLOOD - ORDER 8. BRUSH - OIL - SPRAY 9. DOUBLE - LEVEL - BLANK 10. AGREEMENT - FREE - SECRET 11. FIRE - ARTIST - NARROW 12. DUTY - RADIO - VOICE

22 13. WEAR - WATER - TAKER 14. GROUP - GUIDE - PACKAGE 15. COUPLE - JOB - NUMBER 16. MAN - BITTER - CABINET 17. INSURANCE - ORANGE - SECRET 18. LIFE - LIMIT - PART 19. AGE - PUMPING - WAFFLE 20. INSTANT - READY - VIDEO 21. FARM - CRACKERS - PARTY 22. READING - STICK - UPPER 23. PAINS - UNION - MANUAL 24. SUBMARINE - FEVER - JACKET

23 Conceptual/Mental Blocks (cont.)
Be practical Ask what if? The impractical can be a stepping stone Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after growing up

24 Exercise Avoiding Be Practical Lock
Pick a problem you are trying to solve or idea you are trying to develop Apply one or more of the techniques in this chapter to the problem What if someone else were solving your problem? What if you were the problem or idea? What could be a stepping-stone?

25 Conceptual/Mental Blocks (cont.)
Play is frivolous If necessity is the mother of invention, play is the father; use it to fertilize your thinking Play is what I do for a living. The work comes in organizing the results of the play.

26 Play is Frivolous (cont.)
Consider a Möbius strip One-sided surface Interesting properties Practical applications, e.g.: Conveyor belts Continuous-loop recording tapes Superconductors with high transition temperature Nano-graphite with new electronic characteristics, such as helical magnetism

27 Conceptual/Mental Blocks (cont.)
That’s not my area Specialization can not only overly limit problems we consider, but block ideas from other fields “Make it a point to keep on the lookout for novel and interesting ideas that others have used successfully. Your idea has to be original only in its adaptation to the problem you are currently working on.” (Edison)

28 Lunch with someone different
In group of 2-3 Use one of pairings on p.139 or your choice of two lunch partners Brainstorm what they might learn from each other about “the meaning of life” If you have time, repeat with a different pairing

29 “The most reliable source of innovation is the unexpected
“The most reliable source of innovation is the unexpected.” - Peter Drucker

30 Bionics (borrow from nature)
Elm tree seeds Hooked spines on burr Snake thermoscopic vision (0.002 C) Bamboo stalk (composite fibers) Bee eyes (facets filter polarized light) Seals’ hearing apparatus Beehive hexagonal construction Reliable celestial compass Infrared photography Velcro Improved helicopters Stronger, lighter pool tables Improved hydrophone design Fiberglass-reinforced plastics

31 Conceptual/Mental Blocks (cont.)
Don’t be foolish Resist excessive group pressures for conformity Occasionally, turn your “stupid monitor” down, play the fool, and see what crazy ideas you can come up with

32 When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
But watch out for groupthink

33 Alfred Sloan in GM board meeting
“That makes it unanimous, so I’m going to table it… We’re looking at this idea in just one way, and this is a dangerous way to make decisions. When everyone thinks, alike, no one is doing very much thinking.” (p.155)

34 Exercise – Playing the Fool
In groups, someone puts out briefly a difficult situation they are puzzling about All help view it from a different/reverse viewpoint If time permits, repeat with a different situation

35 Participation assignment for next time
Read and think about Heraclitus’ epigrams about life, nature, and the cosmos (p.200/202) Pick a favorite and discuss (write) what you think it means, possibly with more than one interpretation Turn in at beginning of next class

36 Conceptual/Mental Blocks (cont.)
Avoid ambiguity “If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you’ll be amazed at the results.” (George S. Patton) Take advantage of the ambiguity in the world. Look at something and think about what else it might be.

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38 Paradoxes Real knowledge is knowing the extent of one’s ignorance. -Confucius Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth Picasso There is no surer way to misread any document than to read it literally –(Judge) Learned Hand Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness. –Chang Tzu

39 Exercise – Random Cues Follow Oech p. 140/148/190:
Pick some project decision, or problem you have right now Pick a random number and go to that word on next page Think about how the random thing applies to your situation

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41 Heraclitus’ Epigrams (200/202)
What was one of your favorites? Talk a bit about it Other thoughts about the same one? Another favorite one:

42 Conceptual/Mental Blocks (cont.)
To err is wrong If you hit every time, the target is too near or too big You miss 100% of the shots you never take (Wayne Gretzky) Differentiate between errors of commission and those of omission - learn how to fail intelligently

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44 Conceptual/Mental Blocks (cont.)
I’m not creative Visualization and self-fulfilling prophecies “What concerns me is not the way things are, but rather the way people think things are.” (Epictetus)

45 There is a natural tendency to compare ourselves with others
There is a natural tendency to compare ourselves with others. Unfortunately, when we make these comparisons, we tend to compare our weakest attributes with someone else’s strongest… It is obvious that these kinds of comparisons are destructive and only reinforce the fear that somehow we don’t measure up. (Marvin Ashton)

46 Visualization and self-fulfilling prophecies
To be a champ you have to believe in yourself when nobody else will. (Sugar Ray Robinson) Visualization and self-fulfilling prophecies

47 Successful Visualization
Three elements within you that determine how successfully creative visualization will work for you in any given situation: Desire Belief (that preparation and visualization can help you have the result you seek) Acceptance (of that which you are seeking) Net effect of these three is intention

48 Discover your own creative self
Look at von Oech’s ten p.222 Identify some things about your creative style, for example: Situations when you are/have been more creative Things that help you be creative Blocks to overcome… Take notes for yourself

49 Successful, creative people are able to shift flexibly among four types of roles Each involves a different type of thinking Explorer Artist Judge Warrior

50 Explorer Search for new information and resources
Facts, concepts, experiences, knowledge, feelings... Look off the beaten path, outside the usual

51 Artist Turn these resources into new ideas
Experiment with a variety of approaches, follow your intuition Rearrange things, look at things backwards Ask “what if” questions, look for hidden analogies and connections Break rules

52 Judge Evaluate the merits of an idea and decide what to do with it
Weigh evidence critically, look for drawbacks in the idea, ask if the timing is right, question assumptions Make a decision

53 Warrior Carry your idea into action
Implement your idea, develop strategy, commit yourself Overcome excuses, obstacles, setbacks Have courage to do whatever it takes

54 Take a whack at it

55 Take a whack at it springboard off von Oech’s ideas starting on p.237


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