Oblique Strategies is a set of cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in 1975 to help solving creative problems. The deck offers “over one hundred worthwhile dilemmas”. Each card in a deck has a phrase or sentence, sometimes a cryptic one. A person in a state of impasse, pulls out a random card from the deck and reads a phrase printed on it. The authors believed that it could help find a way out of creative block.
State the problem in words as simply as possible.
Only one element of each kind.
What would your closest friend do?
Are there sections? Consider transitions.
Try faking it!
What to increase? What to reduce?
Honour thy error as a hidden intention.
From the introduction to the 2001 edition:
These cards evolved from separate observations of the principles underlying what we were doing. Sometimes they were recognised in retrospect (intellect catching up with intuition), sometimes they were identified as they were happening, sometimes they were formulated.
They can be used as a pack, or by drawing a single card from the shuffled pack when a dilemma occurs in a working situation. In this case the card is trusted even if its appropriateness is quite unclear…
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