Roger von Oech

Creative Think

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Russ Savage

Well, the reason for the early celebration is not necessary now.
But what is the reason you have for changing the celebration now?

Does the event (rule) not come from the reason for the celebration now? And isn't the celebration of the old events as fresh (not obsolete) as any other reason now?

I think innovation is about creative thinking leading us to escape "to" more than escape "from."

Roger von Oech

Russ: Good comments. I do agree that the "early" New Year's celebration is a charming tradition. I use it to highlight the more general phenomenon of continuing to do things for reasons that made sense in the past, but those original reasons no longer exist, and yet we still do them.

I'm sure we can all think of examples of this phenomenon both in our business and in our personal lives. They can range from the route we take to work to how our business forms are designed to the compensation system of the sales force, etc. And while the early New Year's party is probably still a lot of fun for the attending Russians, out-of-date business forms and payment systems that don't reflect what's going on in the marketplace can be a drag on competitiveness of the organization.


Hello Roger,

Excellent point! I agree with the idea of reevaluating (some of the) rules. Although we can't do it with everything all the time, doing so when facing specific difficulties or trying to innovate or push things forward is a super tip to remember.

Did I tell you I got married on a Friday?
Got a fantastic castle for the reception this way (impossible to book or afford on any Saturday or Sunday). Guests were pleased to have a full weekend to rest after. ; )

Best 30th December Wishes ! ! !

Liz Strauss

Goodness! In the very, simple most amazing definition of that word -- goodness. Thank you for writing this post. It is a wonderful reminder.

Robert Hruzek

I remember a similar story. A woman was cooking a large ham for dinner and her daughter noticed that she cut off the last two inches of the ham just before closing the lid and putting it in the oven. Her daugher asked her why she did this, and she replied, "That's the way my mother taught me how to cook a ham." Later, the mother started wondering about it and finally asked her mother why she cut off those last two inches. Her mother laughed uproariously for a while and finally managed to stop long enough to say, "It was too big for the pan!"

Great post! Always question assumptions - you never know what you might discover. (on the other hand, I love the "new" tradition these Russians have - that's something I'd do too...)


Reminds me of this story (

Start with a cage containing five monkeys.

In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the monkeys with cold water.

After a while, another monkey will make an attempt with the same response - all of the monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Keep this up for several days.

Turn off the cold water.

If, later, another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it even though no water sprays them.

Now, remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one.

The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.

Replace the third original monkey with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four monkeys that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing the fourth and fifth original monkeys, all the monkeys which have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs.

Why not?

"Because that's the way it's always been done around here."

Cam Beck

From Google Answers:

In Cracow, Poland an unfinished trumpet call is played each day, on the hour every hour. “The plaintive tune breaks off mid-bar, commemorating the original 13th century trumpeter, who, while giving the alarm before a Tartar invasion, was hit in the throat with an arrow.”


mallikarjun janardan

the russians are from the asian part of the erstwhile USSR and hence when it is afternoon of December 30 in the US. It is December 31 night in Asia. Therefore I think that they are right in celebrating the new year that afternoon. Also, new year begins in Asia.

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