Roger von Oech

Creative Think

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Tim Siedell

It wasn't a seminar, but an important presentation.

This particular client was big, stuffy, and loved their huge board room. Low lights. Huge table. Microphones at each place. Formality was part of their culture.

For this presentation, I arranged to have them picked up in a limo. They were then driven out to a normal house in the suburbs (which I had rented for the day). They were totally thrown off guard. I explained to this client that their customers connect with their brand in living rooms, not boardrooms. It totally set the tone for the entire presentation.

Worked great.

Lewis Green


I'm not sure that offering a creativity seminar at a time when people are falling asleep or in a place that smells like detergent with people coming and going is my cup of tea. I may have been forced to decline those opportunities.


As part of creating integrated space programs and then facility designs for major institutions, on several commissions with hospitals, I rotated all-department head meetings through each of the involved departments - from Intensive Care to Laundry. Purpose: Get individual program representatives to understand others' environments and concerns instead of just pushing their own. Many "leaders" had never even visited their "peers" departments, on which they depended for services or for which they were critical support - let alone understood all the pieces of the puzzle. Result: Successful process and design!

Roger von Oech

Tim: That's a very good story. I'm just wondering why what you described doesn't happen more often.

Lewis: You're probably right. But at least these VPs were willing to try to something pretty far out. However, I think there's a lesson here: if you're too far out in left field, you just might be out of the park altogether.

Roger von Oech

Randy: Good example of getting to know other people's territory. I bet it created some good cross-fertilization!


The image u posted is not from Denver Marriott. It is a picture of a multi-level parking lot in Singapore.


Well, I'm not sure how interesting this was, but just last week I was in Nashville speaking to a group of people about living justly in the suburbs. We were supposed to have a private room at the restaurant, but the venue had double-booked and another group had the room. So, I had to give my speech right in the middle of the restaurant. The other diners were gracious, but you could tell they just wanted to eat their burger!


In the 1980's when I was working as an external Organizational Development consultant, I worked for a large US oil company. In order to train their managers, I had to board a crew boat at 4:00 am to go to a remote site in the bayous of Louisiana - complete with snakes and alligators.

Roger von Oech

Mr. Loosejaws: It is indeed a parking garage in Singapore! I didn't have a jpg of the one in Denver.

Will: That must have been trying. I had a somewhat similar session I did for Cartier in New York about ten years ago in which I did my presentation in a restaurant and there was only a skimpy divider between our group and the other patrons.

Fredrik: That's some hands on experience! Probably gave you new appreciation for the comforts of a downtown hotel!


First, I want to say I admire this blog. I like things that make me think, not tell me what I should think.

The seminars I have attended are in the usual places--I am usually in a suit, and my Spanx are annoying me, so I can't really think.

As for light houses, laundry rooms, and garages, they may add atmosphere to a seminar, but I prefer fresh air.

Creativity (for me) is done on top of a hill, or in a tree fort. I am a firm believer that your inner-kid holds the key to the creative gene. A kid believes anything is possible.

I would love to see "suits" going out on a limb, and climbing a tree.

Image always seems to get in the way of "imagination".

Roger von Oech

adnohryak: Thanks for the very kind words (blush, blush).

I agree with you: fresh air is a great stimulant for new ideas.

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