A Wack on the Side of the Head

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Acute Ambiguity

Roger von Oech, the author of A Whack on the Side of the Head, makes an unusual offer that thinking at random will increase the efficiency at which ideas become more abundant. This particular concept is certainly an original way to come up with new, fresh problem solving techniques. Ambiguity in the world can help new ideas flow for anyone when looked at in a creative way.

Chapter seven begins by explaining an example that would make the case against using ambiguity. In fact, the title of chapter seven is "Avoid Ambiguity". While it is true that vague statements leave questions unanswered, the traditional idea behind gathering information is to find specific details and clear communicated information. Ambiguous communication can be dangerous in some situations where the consequences of not understanding the complete picture can cause harm. Therefore, communication of specific information is needed in some situations, however, the author then goes on to explain how the ambiguous statement or event can lead to more accurate and applicable solutions.

In the event that a problem would arise in a company or social gathering that would call for a creative solution, random thinking techniques would be incredibly applicable. The author gives great examples of creative solutions and brainstorming techniques from the simple event such as a fundraiser all the way to complicated matters such as national defense strategies (von Oech, 1990). Many situations can be complimented by this type of thinking process. However, finding places to begin within a random pattern can be challenging.

Based on the random, ambiguous thinking technique, my wife and I used this method for a creative solution to figuring out how to decorate our nursery. We followed the different steps that the author suggests in order to come up with creative ideas. First, we asked ourselves the question, "What do we want out of the nursery?" Then, we opened the...
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