Roger von Oech is an internationally recognized leader in stimulating creativity and innovation. Since 1977, his seminars, workshops, and presentations have enhanced the creative skills of more than a million participants. In addition, his two creative thinking books, A Whack on the Side of the Head, and A Kick in the Seat of the Pants, along with his Creative Whack Pack, card deck have activated the creative juices of many millions around the world. His book, Expect the Unexpected (Or You Won’t Find It) promises new insights for those looking to improve their own creative skills.
Roger received his Bachelor’s degree from OhioState in history and philosophy. He also won various honors: Phi Beta Kappa, President’s Scholarship Award, Scholar-Athlete Award. Von Oech earned his Ph.D. from StanfordUniversity in a self-conceived interdisciplinary program in the “History of Ideas.”
Upon graduation, he went to work for IBM as a marketing representative selling data base and data communications applications. While there, he learned two important lessons:
ONE: You can have a great idea, but if you can’t sell it, it won’t get very far; TWO: Many people develop tunnel-vision and thus miss a lot of good ideas around them.
How does Roger teach creative thinking?
You improve your creative abilities by using them, not by being lectured at.
In Roger’s seminars, he runs individual and group exercises, some focusing on the client’s needs, and others out in “left field.” The participants then do the exercise and then discuss the kind of thinking that is exhibited.
He then gives examples from business, technology, history, nature, and a variety of other sources. Finally, you apply the lessons of the exercises to the problem at hand.
In addition, Roger uses various props, and video media to make my points. Thus, the sessions are fun.
Types of Programs Roger offers:
Depending on what your specific objectives are, the number of participants, and the length of time given to the session, the program can be a two-day seminar for fifteen people, a half-day workshop to fifty people, or an hour presentation to five thousand people. Here are some examples of different speaking & seminar situations with which Roger has been involved:
— A television network trying to think up new program ideas;
— A greeting card company looking for ways to incorporate technology into their products;
— A computer company interested in decreasing the length of time needed to complete software projects;
— The exploration division of an oil company wanting to think of alternative ways to interpret seismic data;
— The finance department of a beer company wishing to develop ways to serve its in-house clients more effectively;
— A retail chain wanting to get a glimpse of what the “kitchen of the future” will look like; and,
— A pharmaceutical company exploring the cancer market for new product opportunities.