Thursday, July 9, 2009

Von Oech persuades me to buy an iPhone app

An all-new Whack Pack for the digital age.

I just did something I thought I would never do.

No, I didn't watch an episode of the New Adventures of Old Christine; I bought an iPhone app for $2.99: Roger von Oech's Creative Whack Pack.

Anyone who has taken my advertising class remembers (OK, I'm flattering myself) von Oech, who defined the creative process with four imaginary, albeit distinct, roles: the explorer, the artist, the judge, and the warrior.

What I didn't know is that Von Oech created a deck of cards based on these roles, ostensibly to help us out with our creative problems, and called it the Whack Pack.

I found out about the cards, and the cool, new iPhone app based on the cards, at Brad Isaac's Persistence Unlimited - the goal-setting blog - today. He says:
"To do a workshop, you enter a problem you are having. Simple enough. Then you are dealt 4 cards that will predict your future and you live happily ever after (just kidding ). The 4 cards actually are designed to give you a “whack” in each of their focused areas. By their very nature, whacks are designed to stretch your imagination in new ways so you can see your problem from new and different perspectives."
At the link above, he gives an example of a problem he entered into the iPhone app and the four, possible solutions (one for each imaginary role) generated by the Whack Pack.

I was intrigued, and - my weakness - I saw a use for the app in the classroom, so I plunked down $2.99 and gave it a try. I'm impressed - it's not only a fun parlor game, but I can see uses for it in brainstorming and encouraging others to be creative.

A cool feature allows you to e-mail the results - to yourself or anyone - to keep a permanent record of your session.

Equally interesting are von Oech's thoughts about the lessons he learned selling an app on the iPhone store, including how to market an app and find the best price point. Good advice, espeically since it worked on me.

And, no, I will never watch an episode of the New Adventures of Old Christine. Never ever.


  1. What fun! Thanks for the very kind words about the iPhone version of the Creative Whack Pack. I hope this product helps you to generate a lot of ideas in the future.

    Best wishes to you!

  2. Von who? As I recall, I got that question wrong on the first year midterm exam.

    Anyhoo, I didn't even know you had an Iphone. I thought you didn't do cellphones!

  3. I don't do cell phones, but the writing was on the wall.

    Plus, I just keep telling myself that the iPhone is a glorified iPod and e-mail portal.


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