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Friday, 7 November 2003

Whack it unpack it

I have had a pack of playing cards for a few years now that was created by Roger von Oech ( It is called a ‘Creative Whack Pack’ and I use it when I am a bit stuck in moving things forwards. For the last two days I have started the day by choosing a card to get the thinking going.

Yesterday’s card was “Set a Deadline” – something which I am experimenting with where I have things that need doing that lack external pressure to get them completed. Seems to be working!

Today’s card was “Change its Name”, which left me a bit confused at first. Not sure what use to make of this concept.

The text on the card reads:

“If an architect looks at an opening between two rooms and thinks “door”, that’s what she’ll design. But if she thinks “passageway”, she may design something much different like a “hallway”, “air curtain”, “tunnel” or perhaps a “courtyard”. Different words bring in different assumptions and lead your thinking in different directions.” What else can you call your idea?

Now, after a bit of thinking two things occurred to me:

1. A task which I am really struggling to get in touch with at the moment is redrafting my PhD thesis. It’s a painful task which I have told myself I don’t enjoy doing. By renaming it, I’m trying to change the allure of this task. It is now ‘Redesign’ the thesis. So, I am currently working on redesigning chapter nine – seems more enjoyable already, and it introduces concepts of redesign that didn’t occur to me in the job of drafting.
2. Change my name – not literally of course. But when you change jobs you have an opportunity to redefine yourself, and particularly to draw out parts of yourself that were submerged in the previous role. This means that I can draw out my creative side much more than previous. Be much more extravert about my creativity.

I’m going to continue with the Whack Pack approach through the working days of next week too, and see what it generates.

Whilst writing this, I am listening to ‘Space Groove’ by Projekct Two (an offshoot, R&D unit of King Crimson). I love this double album for its twiddling innovation. It takes a prolonged groove off into stellar depths. Great stuff!

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