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Oblique Strategies was a set of 7-by-9-centimetre (2.8 in × 3.5 in) 100 printed cards, created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in 1975, as a way of assisting creative problem solving. If you're a little stuck, you'd draw a card, and see if it somehow gives you an idea for how to move forward. It is an aid for lateral thinking. Providing a somewhat off-the-wall suggestion which makes you maybe see things from a different angle. There are many possible ways of provoking lateral thinking, like the old trick of looking up one or two random words in the dictionary.

A line has two sides

A very small object. Its center

Abandon desire

Abandon normal instructions

Accept advice

Adding on

Always give yourself credit for having more than personality

Ask people to work against their better judgement

Ask your body

Balance the consistency principle with the inconsistency principle

Be dirty

Be extravagant

Breathe more deeply

Bridges -- build -- burn


Change ambiguities to specifics

Change instrument roles

Change nothing and continue consistently

Children -- speaking -- singing

Cluster analysis

Consider different fading systems

Consult other sources -- promising -- unpromising

Convert a melodic element into a rhythmic element


Cut a vital connection

Decorate, decorate

Destroy nothing; Destroy the most important thing

Discard an axiom

Disciplined self-indulgence

Discover your formulas and abandon them

Display your talent

Distort time

Do nothing for as long as possible

Do something boring

Do something sudden, destructive and unpredictable

Do the last thing first

Do the washing up

Do the words need changing?

Do we need holes?

Don't avoid what is easy

Emphasize differences

Emphasize repetitions

Emphasize the flaws

Feed the recording back out of the medium

Fill every beat with something

Find a safe part and use it as an anchor

Get your neck massaged

Ghost echoes

Give the name away

Give way to your worst impulse

Go outside. Shut the door.

Go slowly all the way round the outside

How would you have done it?

Idiot glee

Imagine the piece as a set of disconnected events

Infinitesimal gradations

Intentions -- nobility of -- humility of -- credibility of

Into the impossible

Is it finished?

Is something missing?

Is the intonation correct?

It is quite possible (after all)

Just carry on

Left channel,right channel, center channel

Listen to the quiet voice

Look at the order in which you do things

Lost in useless territory

Lowest common denominator

Magnify the most difficult details

Make a blank valuable by putting it in an exquisite frame

Make what's perfect more human

Mechanize something idiosyncratic

Mute and continue

Only one element of each kind

Openly resist change

(Organic) machinery

Put in earplugs

Reevaluation (a warm feeling)

Remember quiet evenings

Remove a restriction

Repetition is a form of change


Short circuit (example: a man eating peas with the idea that they will improve his virility shovels them straight into his lap)

Simple subtraction

Spectrum analysis

Take a break

Take away the important parts

Tape your mouth

The inconsistency principle

The tape is now the music'

Think of the radio

Tidy up

Trust in the you of now

Turn it upside down

Twist the spine

Use an old idea

Use an unacceptable color

Use fewer notes

Use filters

Use your own ideas


What are the sections sections of? Imagine a caterpillar moving

What are you really thinking about just now?

What is the reality of the situation?

What mistakes did you make last time?

What would your closest friend do?

Work at a different speed

You are an engineer

You can only make one dot at a time

Your mistake was a hidden intention

Don't break the silence

Don't stress one thing more than another

Use "unqualified" people

What wouldn't you do?

Try faking it [Stewart Brand]

Slow preparation, fast execution

Is the style right?

Where is the edge?

Voice your suspicions

What is the simplest solution?

Make it more sensual

Use something nearby as a model

Think -- inside the work -- outside the work

What context would look right?

When is it for?

What to increase? What to reduce? What to maintain?

How would someone else do it?

Would anyone want it?

Go to an extreme, come part way back

Once the search has begun, something will be found

Be less critical

From nothing to more than nothing

Retrace your steps

Only a part, not the whole

Faced with a choice, do both [Dieter Rot]

Always give yourself credit for having more than personality [Arto Lindsay]

Revaluation (a warm feeling)

Lost in useless territory

It is quite possible (after all)

Idiot glee

Move towards the unimportant

It is simply a matter of work

Not building a wall; making a brick

The most easily forgotten thing is the most important

State the problem as clearly as possible

Always the first steps

Question the heroic

Go outside. Shut the door.

In total darkness, or in a very large room, very quietly

Which parts can be grouped?

Change specifics to ambiguities

Use cliches

Consider transitions

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