Wrecking Ball [of Whacks] to Insipid Thinking

October 18, 2012 10:21 by rob

Roger von Oech, the creator of Ball of Whacks (and many more creativity tools and books), is a vehement proponent of creative and innovative thinking. His products and books challenge the perspectives that keep us locked in standard modes of thought and push a willing mind to see the world differently and approach problems, challenges, and life with active creativity.

When we recognize that the world around us, the universe we exist within, and even ourselves, changes on a second by second basis by the sheer nature of existence, it becomes clear that relying on static modes of thinking may indeed limit our perspectives and reduce the ability to approach each moment with innovation. However, just recognizing that isn’t the same as breaking free as these perspectives tend to be rooted so deep they feel almost inherent. That’s where things like the Ball of Whacks comes in!

30 pyramid pieces, containing rare earth magnets, form a Rhombic Triacontahedron. In one sturdy and simplistically beautiful tool you get elements of brainteasers and problem solving as well as creativity-boosting and meditative focus. The challenges and mental stimulation yield benefits in a more free-form approach that encourages creativity and reduces the frustration that comes from narrowed thinking.  While playing with the Ball of Whacks your mind works creatively and your fine motor skills sharpen. On the other end of the spectrum, Ball of Whacks can serve as a meditative aid; the free-form play provides calm focus so that your mind can find relief from concerns and problems that run on loop.

It has been found that active motor-skill use actually sharpens mental acuity. In the included handbook (an easy to read and handy guide to quickly making the most of your Ball of Whacks experience, included with every ball!) there is reference to a particular study where a control group sat in a room silently while a target group sat in a separate room for the same amount of time and skinned apples with sharp knives. Afterwards, both groups took the same mental acuity test and the group who’d been activating their motor skills performed significantly better.
Even if you aren’t straining your brain on a conscious level, there is a lot of neurological activity taking place and there’s no healthy brain like an active one!

Challenge yourself to build complex geometric shapes, engage in one of 15 provided “creativity exercises" in the included book, admire the geometric intricacy of an object fundamentally founded on the golden ratio, or just play with the Ball of Whacks and explore the possibilities!

My favorite way to just play is to move the pyramid pieces around one at a time, watching new shapes evolve and transition and allowing my imagination to spot faces and ‘characters’ in these shapes. This is an imagination game I’ve played since I was little; I loved looking at a pattern of shapes and designs and allowing my imagination to isolate an outline and form it into a face or figure in my mind. The Ball of Whacks provides a tangible, maneuverable, and infinitely variable source for this activity! This is my most recent find,

I call it the Mechangry Bird because, obviously, I find that it resembles what I imagine a robotic version of those wildly popular pig-hating birds would look like!

Just imagine what you’ll find!