Synopses & Reviews
Jack's Visit To The Idea DoctorPeople who are resting on their laurels are
wearing them on the wrong end.-- Malcolm Kushner, Philosopher
Jack's mind felt like a head of wilted lettuce. He'd just returned from a meeting with his boss, and had found out that he wouldn't be getting the promotion he'd been hoping for. As he thought about his situation, Jack realized that he hadn't been performing very well lately He had missed deadlines on several crucial projects. And his once perceptive mind was producing trite solutions to important problems.
He tried to put some pizzazz back into his thinking, but nothing worked. Finally, he went to an idea doctor for help. "I just don't seem to have it anymore," Jack explained.
"All right, I'll ask you a few questions so I can figure out what your problem is," the idea doctor responded. "First, have you stuck your neck out and taken any risks lately?"
"Not that I can remember," Jack answered.
"Have you been asking what if? to stretch your imagination?"
"I've been too busy."
"Have you kept an open mind when evaluating new ideas?"
"I know what works and what doesn't."
The questioning went on like this for a while. Finally Jack asked, "What's the diagnosis?"
"No doubt about it, you're stuck in a rut," the idea doctor proclaimed. "At first I thought it was just a case of plaque-on the-brain. Then all I'd have to do is prescribe some mental floss. But your situation is more serious."
"That bad, huh?" Jack shrugged.
"Yes. You've got your ends reversed."
"You see, the human body has two ends on it--one to create with and one to sit on. As long as you actively pursue new, ideas, your creative end stays in good shape.But if you sit around doing the same old things, your brain descends into your rear. The result is that your ends get reversed."
Jack knew that the idea doctor was right. "What causes this?" Jack wanted to know.
The idea doctor replied, "To avoid trying new things, some people develop attitudes about creative thinking that keep them safely stuck where they are. These attitudes are: It's not important.I'm not creative.
"They're dangerous because they can cause you to miss some important things. For example, if you're indifferent to creative thinking, then you've failed to see that generating and implementing new ideas are crucial survival skills in a rapidly changing world.
"If you spend your time like a fireman--fighting fires, tending routines, and letting your business manage you rather than the other way around--then you haven't realized that your job might be easier if you engaged in some creative fire prevention.
"If you arrogantly believe that you've already got the right answer, strategy, or approach, you won't find out that there may be a better way to do what you're doing-perhaps until it's too late.
"And if your self-esteem is low, you haven't realized that whether or not you become the next Picasso, Einstein, or Curie, you were born with the ability to probe the world in unique ways, and your challenge is to realize this potential."
Jack listened to this explanation and then he said, "What you've told me makes a lot of sense. I think all these attitudes have influenced my thinking at one time or another during the past year." He then paused for a moment and asked, "Is there any hope? Is there anyway to wake up my creative powers?"
"Yes," said the idea doctor. "As a matter of fact, this remedy has been around for centuries."
"Let me have it," Jack said.
At this point, the idea doctor walked up to Jack and gave him a kick in the seat of the pants . Jack was stunned for an instant, but then he jumped up and exclaimed, "I'm going to go out and get some new ideas. I'm going to make something happen." The kick had been just the jolt he needed to get his ends realigned.
"You see, Jack, sometimes nothing short of a kick in the seat of the pants will get people off their duffs to create something new. I'm glad it worked for you."
"Thanks for everything," Jack said as he left.
When was the last time you had a creative idea? This morning? Last month? Last year? Sometimes you need A Kick in the Seat of the Pants
to get your thinking going. This book does just that by taking you on a guided tour through the four roles of the creative process-Explorer, Artist, Judge, and Warrior.
- When it's time to seek out new information, adopt the mindset of an Explorer. Get off the beaten path, poke around in outside areas, and pay attention to unusual patterns.
- When you need to create a new idea, let the Artist in you come out. Ask what-if questions and look for hidden analogies. Break the rules and look at things backwards. Add something and take something away. Ultimately, you'll come up with an original idea.
- When it's time to decide if your idea is worth implementing, see yourself as a Judge. Ask what's wrong and if the timing's right. Question your assumptions and make a decision.
- And when you carry your idea into action, be a Warrior. Put a fire in your belly, eliminate your excuses, and do what's necessary to reach your objective.
Kick provides exercises, stories, tips, and Roger von Oech's proven techniques to help you strengthen each of your own creative roles.
Roger von Oech takes readers on a guided tour through the four roles of the creative process--Explorer, Artist, Judge, and Warrior--providing exercises, stories, tips, and proven techniques to help them strengthen each creative role.
About the Author
Roger von Oech is the president of Creative Think, a California-based consulting firm that stimulates creativity and innovation in business. He has worked with such companies as: Anheuser-Busch, ARCO, Bristol Myers, DuPont, General Foods, Hallmark Cards, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, NASA, NBC, Procter & Gamble and Xerox. He is the author of the best-selling book, A Whack on the Side of the Head He is also a nationally- ranked Masters swimmer, and a collector of old television commercials. He lives with his wife, Wendy, and their two children, Athena and Alexander.