Roger von Oech

Creative Think

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Lewis Green


This is interesting in that I don't use a process. I do, however, spend time everyday centering myself and looking/listening to my heart and my inner voice.

My ideas come:

1. Any time except when I am not engaged with trying to find an idea.
2. When I'm sleeping.
3. When I am doing physical work.
4. When I am writing.
5. Most often, when I am reading other's work, such as now, for example.

isabella mori

i like the phrase: "i searched into myself".

it depends what the creative process is. often it just happens (some people who know me may now be rolling their eyes, saying, TOO often :)

when it is a more conscious process, i maybe not search but LISTEN into myself. then it often seems that what comes up is beyond myself. i need to hold still for that. those nebulous concepts/ideas/words from that other place don't get through if there's too much noise.

then sometimes i also search outside of myself. what are others doing? and as i survey the land, all of a sudden it clicks, and the right angle/idea shows up.

my weaknesses? i like to chase too many butterflies. they're all so pretty! i start a lot of projects and don't finish that many.

but as i get older i wonder more and more whether that is really a weakness. maybe a whole bunch need to get started in order for a few to be finished.


This post couldn't have come at a better time. I recently finished a creative project and have been thinking about my creative process and how I generated my ideas.

So far, I've figured out that my style is about chaos transforming into clarity through these functions: taking walks, meditating, middle of the night musings.

PS. Roger, I'm an OSU alum too. Go Buckeyes!

Roger von Oech

Lewis: Sounds like you get your ideas "near the edges," that is, when you're away from the problem altogether, or when you consciously trying to get ideas, e.g., writing.

Roger von Oech

Isabella: "My weaknesses? I like to chase too many butterflies. They're all so pretty! I start a lot of projects and don't finish that many." Good self-awareness.

" . . . but as i get older i wonder more and more whether that is really a weakness. maybe a whole bunch need to get started in order for a few to be finished." Or, what do you think if you'd kill your babies sooner? Would you be able to finish more and sooner?

Melanie: I hope you're able to give yourself time to find that clarity. BTW: I took a lotta joy in another Buckeye win over Michigan! You too, I'm sure!


i get my best ideas
--under deadline pressure
--building marble mazes with my children!

if i had endless resources, i would keep buying the haba marble maze pieces [and design a few of my own!]...learn a lot about flow, and always reveal my strengths and limitations...i tend to build castles in the air and this puts me at a production level that's more concrete.

i have become a TOTAL toy junkie. i even adapted a creative thinking exercise to my freshman comp classes-- we play with toys and figure out how to improve/adapt/streamline them, and then try to make the leap to larger problems/solutions. still working out the kinks in this lesson plan, but every time we do it i get more ideas on how to improve the lesson and make it more useful. for starters, i'd like to think it's useful b/c my students vaguely remember the exercise down the line; few courses require them to play with toys!

gotta go build a marble maze!

Otto Driessen


Michael Bierut (of Pentagram) put up a great article about his creative 'process'. He writes:

"The other day I was looking at a proposal for a project I finished a few months ago. The result, by my measure and by the client's, was successful. But guess what? The process I so reassuringly put forward at the outset had almost nothing to do with the way the project actually went. What would happen, I wonder, if I actually told the truth about what happens in a design process?"

For his 'honest' description, see:

It's well worth a read for all of us who (are forced to) think that a creative process can be explained away in phases, steps, etc.

Roger von Oech

Shelbey: Sounds like you get your ideas "at the edges" as well. Yes, indeed, toys are fun to play with.

Otto: Thanks for the link to Michael Bierut post. Interesting observations.

Sue Cooper

I am so glad that I have found this site. I admire your work and books and will enjoy this contact. My students were stimulated to new thinking habits using your materials.

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