Handy Device for Creativity: The Ball of Whacks

by phil on Thursday Jan 1, 2009 10:33 AM

If you haven't checked out Roger von Oech's creativity products before, they are a must buy. I'd especially recommend the Creative Whack Pack, which I've used regularly since 1998 to help get me unstuck.

I just got one of his newest products, the Ball of Whacks, and it's really cool. Basically, it's a bunch of pyramids with magnets that you can then build interesting shapes with. By keeping this on my desk, I found an interesting, maybe unintended, side effect.

What I do is shape the object gradually throughout the day. I'll move a piece here and there, bit by bit, every couple hours or so without thinking. When I leave my desk and come back, it kind of strikes me with a question, "why did I make that shape? what does it say about my psyche." For example, I came back today, and saw it in this kind of chaotic, pointed monster shape:

This made me think to myself, am I in a thorny state of mind right now? Probably if I saw the whacks shaped like the following, I'd imagine I was in some sort of harmonious or calm state:

Or, maybe this projection represents a state that I'm trying to reach. If it's pointed, then it suggests I'm seeking increased activity and disorder. If it's cohesive, maybe I'm seeking harmony. Either way, I like the idea of getting pleasantly surprising feedback about my state of mind. I used to, for example, make one random abstract expressionist sketch each day, and then look back and try to psychoanalyze myself.

Disclosure: I'm consulting with Roger currently, but I decided to post this on my own.

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