I recently learned about Oblique Strategies from Tim Harford’s TED talk on “How frustration can make us more creative”
A transcript is available – helpful if (like me) you prefer reading to watching a video.
Oblique Strategies is a deck of cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in 1975. On each card is written a challenging constraint, and they are used to help artists (particularly musicians) to break creative blocks by encouraging lateral thinking. There are a number of sites offering online versions of the card deck, such as this one and this one.
As I explored these sites, refreshing the pages to cycle through the different constraints, it struck me that many would be relevant in the library/university context, such as:
- The most important thing is the thing most easily forgotten
- Go to an extreme, move back to a more comfortable place
- Work at a different speed
- Faced with a choice, do both
- Listen to the quiet voice
- Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them
- Who would make this really successful?
- Ask people to work against their better judgement
- Use an old idea
- Shut the door and listen from outside