Roger von Oech is one of my favourite writers about creative thinking, so when I heard he had produced an iPhone version of his Creative Whack Pack cards, I asked if he’d be willing to answer some questions about it for Lateral Action readers. Here’s what he had to say…
1. Over the years, you’ve taught creativity in a variety of formats — books, cards, seminars, a magnetic toy (the Ball of Whacks) and now an iPhone application. What prompted you to make something for the iPhone?
Ever since the Apple App Store was announced a year ago, I knew that I would be creating a Creative Whack Pack version for iPhone platform. I didn’t have time to work on it until this past December. I then spent three months working with an Austin developer, Phil Dhingra.
This was a great experience working with Phil. We spent a lot of time conceptualizing the design and then implementing the ideas. I did a lot of the PhotoShop and HTML work on the product, and as a result, my skills in those areas really improved.
Here’s a key lesson: when moving from one platform to another (in this case, from a card deck to a smart phone), it’s important not to just cram your existing ideas into the new space. It’s critical to take time to understand the possibilities and limitations of the new medium, and then design from there.
2. How does the iPhone version of the Creative Whack Pack work? What can it do?
The basic model of the Creative whack Pack card deck is still there: 64 illustrated creativity strategies.
But because I’m not limited to the small area on the card front (as is the case in the physical card), each card in the iPhone version has room for a lot more examples, illustrations, stories, exercises, and questions.
I had two uses in mind when creating the iPhone version: 1) have each card be stimulating enough that it could provide the user with a 30-second “quick hit of creativity,” and 2) be robust enough to allow the user to apply it in a 10-minute creativity workshop (that is part of the iPhone version experience).
Here are some of the main functions of the Creative Whack Pack:
- Give the user a “Whack of the Day.” Every user on the planet receives the same “Whack of the Day” and it changes every twenty-four hours. The “Whack of the Day” is a great way to begin your morning. It’s never what you expect and it’s always a lot of fun!
- There is a “Give Me A Whack” function. Let’s say you’re in a meeting, and you need a different perspective. Just hit this button and you’ll get a new creativity strategy.
- The Creative Whack Pack comes into its full glory when you use it in a Creative Workshop. There are four different types of workshop. These really make you think.
- There’s an Index of the cards that allows you to study specific creativity strategies. This is quite useful when working with other people.
- Finally there is a “Share A Whack” feature that allows the user to share a particular creativity strategy with another person via email.
3. Having the Creative Whack Pack on your iPhone means that wherever you go you’ll have ‘a creativity workshop in your pocket’ (to use David Armano’s phrase). What are the implications for daily creativity?
It means wherever you go, there’s always an opportunity to give yourself a “quick hit of creativity,” or to do a creative workshop (especially effective with other people). I’m getting a lot of positive mail from people who are doing just that.
4. With the iPhone, Android phones and netbooks all flying off the shelves at the moment, it looks as though personal mobile computing has arrived. How do you see mobile computing developing in future — and what are the opportunities for stimulating and harnessing our creativity?
I think this is fantastic. I hope in future versions of the Creative Whack Pack, I can create a function that allows users to create their own creativity cards that can be added to the “deck” and shared with others around the world.
It should be fun to watch all of this develop. I’m glad to be a part of it.
Good luck to all of your readers!
Roger von Oech is the author of the bestselling creativity classics A Whack on the Side of the Head and A Kick in the Seat of the Pants, and the creator of the Creative Whack Pack and the Ball of Whacks. For more creative inspiration, visit Roger’s Creative Think website.