Roger von Oech

Creative Think

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Cam Beck

Roger - Nice job. I love how you're able to bring about such facts from antiquity and ask us to compare the problem solving that led to the ingenious solution to today's issues.

Michael Wagner

Roger - your postings on language innovation have me thinking about the invisible nature of "what if" thinking and the challenge of implementation.

Prior to reading your posts few would have thought to themselves, "look at those spaces between words! I wonder who came up with that!" Spacing is a great idea that is now invisible to modern readers.

Then I began to imagine all of the resistance to the creative solutions you've written about in language.

"Sure...anybody can read if you give them vowels. But isn't that just dumbing down language? In my day you had to figure out what word was intended by fully grasping the context! Kids today just read without thinking."


"I'm not so sure about those new fangled spaces between words. It seems like such a waste of papyri." So said the Six Sigma Scribe.

Not sure where I am headed with this comment but it is fun to imagine the grumbling that accompanied great ideas. And maybe it is is an encouragement for us to go for the same kind of creative solutions regardless of what others say.

Thanks for offering up the conversation.

Keep creating,

Valeria Maltoni

Maybe what Mike is getting at is that it's not only enough to have an idea, brilliant that it might be. It needs to be protected from skeptics and championed all the way to extreme measures for it to see the light of day sometimes.

Jobs exist of the strength of what used to work so the people who occupy them often do their best to "hold on" to what was because that's how they're graded and rewarded. Innovation, even of the most obvious kind, is gutsy to do and often its only reward.

john harper

Intriguing info. Easy to make the connection to writing for the web using more white space, bulleted lists, etc.

Also, loved the question about how can one apply the concept elsewhere.

Tom Haskins

It didn't take me long to come up with "what in my experience is like a steady stream of words without spaces?" My RSS reader feels that way lots of the time. There is no break in the relentless supply of great ideas, articulate expressions and inspiring analogies. I've tried "mark as unread" in Bloglines but that just adds to the pressure in the steady stream of great stuff to read because the same postings are still sitting there in the reader. Last week I tried something new that 'gives me some space" between the postings. I emailed posts to myself that I want to think about some more, quote someday or link to in a future posting of mine. In my email client I set up a destination folder where these emails sit until I ponder them. After reading them, I delete or move them to a folder set up for each of my favorite bloggers. This post went into my "Roger von Oech" folder. It's a keeper. Using emails in this way gives me space to ponder slowly, delete at my own pace and find the useful ones again when I need it. It's too soon to determine if I'm "reading faster" as a result. If I am, there's a wonderful paradox in that: by giving myself the space to slow down, I sped up my blog reading.

Roger von Oech

What wonderful comments!

Cam: People have been doing innovative things for many millennia. I find it inspiring to try and tease out what they may have been thinking when they tried something new.

Mike: What a great perspective: it's one thing to get the idea, and quite another to overcome the judgment and skepticism that kills many of them.

Valeria: On the other, if we went along with every new idea that came along, things would be chaotic. But you're right, most people tend to err on the side of caution.

John: Nice analogy to using this insight on the web!

Tom: What a great idea. I might try that filing system myself. It may not equate to "faster reading" but it might lead to "better comprehension." I agree with you: there is a never-ending stream of stuff coming at us in our RSS readers.


in the agile world we say taking the time to think speeds up projects.
By slowing down and think about th elast time we actually speeds up things.
Slowing down and think:
* A daily stand up: talking for 15 minutes a day with the team about
-What have I done yesterday
-What do I promisse to finish today
-Where do I need help
* a retrospective ever x weeks , when we have delivered a small piece of work.

* PairProgramming: looks like slower to deveoper something, but in reality speeds it up alot.

* doing automatic testing (TDD)
it is slower to develop, but it is actually faster because we think better about what we want to develop


Jim Brown



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