Roger von Oech's Creative Whack Pack

I have been using Roger von Oech's Creative Whack Pack with various groups for years.  (Actually, it is my wife's copy - I believe that she was given it at an Andersen Consulting seminar more than 15 years ago.)  The cards never fail to excite people's imagination.  Participants are enticed into reading more cards and the stories they contain.  I often have to remind participants that they have been given the cards to solve a problem.

There are four types of cards - the Explorer (understanding the problem), Artist (creating new ideas), Judge (choosing or refining existing ideas) and Warrior (implementing solutions).

To be most effective, it is important to know what the problem is you are seeking to address, and what stage you are at with the problem, so you can read the cards of the appropriate type.  It is not very useful to read Explorer cards if you are seeking ideas on how to convince people of the value of your idea.  In that case you need the Judge or Warrior cards.

Below I have included the instructions I give to make good use of the Creative Whack Pack.

In preparing this post I saw that there is an iPhone app of the Creative Whack Pack called Be Creative (click here).  I just purchased it, and asked it to hit me with a card.  The card is called "Listen to Your Dreams".  It talks about the influence of dreams on some scientists I am not familiar with, and on the books of Robert Louis Stevenson, including Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.  The 'card' even describes some example dream situations in case I cannot recall my own dreams.

Click here to go to Roger von Oech's website.  He has other creative thinking tools, and he provides a link to the Creative Whack Pack at


1.   Discuss a decision that must be made in terms of ‘what has to be decided’ and ‘why’.
(Someone should write down what has to be decided and why.)
2.   Ensure that everyone agrees with this short decision definition.
3.   Split into pairs (and one group of three if you have an odd number).
4.   Each pair takes three cards and places them face down on the table without looking at them.
5.   Taking it in turns, a person reads out a card.
6.   Discuss how the card applies to your decision.  Take notes if you like.
Note:  You might find that some cards are not relevant.
7.   When you have finished with that card, the next person reads out a card.
8.   Keep repeating until all cards have been discussed.
9.   Get back together as a whole group.
10.Write a list of alternatives you have as ‘decision options’.
The key to this process is being able to look at a problem from a number of different perspectives.  This can be challenging, and you may find the process a bit alien.