Brian Eno's oblique strategies

Brian Eno's oblique strategies

Brian Eno is one of the world’s most successful music producers.

He has worked with everyone from David Bowie to Coldplay shepherding them through the challenging process of creating a successful song or album.

More than most, Eno understands that the creative process is non-linear and unpredictable.

Sometimes even the most talented musicians will find themselves in a creative quandary.

They hit a wall. They feel stuck. Their inspiration runs out.

It’s at this moment that Eno’s years of experience come to the rescue in the form of his famous ‘oblique strategies’ cards. 

Jointly created with the artist Peter Schmidt and first published in 1975, the cards are a method for promoting creativity. 

The idea is that you pick a card at random from the pack and let whatever is written on it inform your next move. 

For example, the card might say ‘Honour they error as a hidden intention’. This would be to encourage you to reflect on a recent mistake and wonder if it held the kernel of a good idea within it. 

Other well-known examples include:

  • ‘What would your closest friend do?’

  • ‘What to increase? What to reduce?’

  • ‘Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify.‘

If you think these cards could be a helpful tool for your own creative process, you can purchase your own set from the enoshop.

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