A Whack On the Side of the Head: How to Unlock Your Mind for Innovation, by Roger von Oech ISBN 0446380008
Five out of five stars
My first exposure to this book was in a series of faculty development seminars. Reading through the book and then carrying out discussions and role-playing made what can often be a boring chore something to look forward too.
Although some of the references, specifically those regarding computers, are very dated, the overall concepts are timeless. Valuable inspiration does not appear on a timetable, daydreaming and letting your mind wander are generally the best ways to capture the insights that lead to new ideas, better products and more efficient ways of doing things.
Of course, to the modern spreadsheet reading, drive out the last pennies of unnecessary cost mindset, such actions are seen as “a waste of time” and a danger to the profit margins. That is unfortunate and in general wrong. History is replete with instances, some of which are mentioned in this book, of great and revolutionary ideas being spawned from a silly thought or looking at something and thinking about it in a different way.
Change was fast when this book was written and it is even faster now. Companies that were great a decade ago where the decision makers were secure in their business models and lacked creative vision are now the fodder for business books about what can go wrong. Nearly thirty-five years after it was first published, this book can still serve as a guide to keep your organization out of that particular pit.