Oblique Strategies


Useful dilemma prompt cards; a portable oracle

How to get unstuck. Pick a card at random and either 1) do what it says or 2) let it lead you to another idea. It’s amazingly effective. This handsomely boxed stack of cards was created by the lateral genius Brian Eno and good friend Pete Schmidt in 1975 to get themselves and other musicians unstuck in the studio. It’s been through four updated editions since.

I use this tool in any design situation to think differently. In life I’ve found it more productive than throwing the I-Ching or staring at the wall.

This fifth printed edition on heavy silky stock will pop your rut. Or, you can click on over to an Eno-fan web site where a button will reveal a random card on the screen. Go to enoweb

But the form of Oblique Strategies I currently find most useful is a tiny desktop utility that pops up on my computer screen on demand. A click on the beautiful silver card will produce a random rule. Since I do much of my work at the screen, having the digital cards “always on” is perfect. This little gem is free, but only runs on MacOSX. The one improvement I crave is to be able to add my own strategies — I have a bunch. Ideally, there’d be a place to share and swap oblique strategies.

More than you wanted to know about Oblique Strategies in its various editions and forms, plus links to digital versions for other platforms including Windows and the Palm (!) are available at this amazingly complete fan site: Oblique Strategies

05/26/03 -- KK