The Inner Vision Deck: Don’t under-estimate this no-frills brainstorming tool

The Inner Vision Deck is a card deck of 69 keywords and phrases that can be used for creative problem solving. Designed by Rory O’Connor, a creativity and creative problem-solving trainer, this new brainstorming tool arose out of his need to teach his clients a “gentle” (non-intimidating) approach to developing ideas and solutions. This card deck is based on a creative problem-solving technique developed by Win Wenger, founder of Project Renaissance and the author of numerous books on creative problem solving.

Simplicity is key

The cards are simple in design: One side contains the keyword or phrase, and the other side contains the Inner Vision logo. Rory says he intentionally kept the design simple so that users can focus on connecting the words on the cards with what is in their conscious awareness. “This simplicity also means that people are not embarrassed to use the deck in public, so it encourages use,” Rory explains.

Some keywords and phrases included in this deck include: uphill struggle, unite, breaking the bank, guardian angel and awakening. Like other brainstorming card decks, you utilize these keyword prompts by asking yourself, “How does this apply to my current challenge?” or “What insights does this keyword provide to me right now?” Users are encouraged to write down any ideas and insights; if none occur, draw another card from the deck at random. The words and phrases contained in the cards are quite diverse, and should be quite effective for nearly anyone who needs fresh ideas.

Testing validates effectiveness

Before launching the Inner Vision Deck, Rory tested a prototype his new brainstorming product with hundreds of users, to help him to refine the keywords. It was only after a growing number of people kept asking him to buy the card deck that he made the decision to have an initial run of the decks printed. So far, the Inner Vision Deck is only available in English, but Rory says he welcomes any inquiries to produce versions of it in other languages.

The deck comes with a simple set of instructions, including three recommended creative problem-solving techniques and tips on rating your ideas. A companion worksheet can be downloaded for use when brainstorming with the Inner Vision deck. It helps guide the user through the creative problem solving process, and to take desirable action on the best ideas. In a sense, this worksheet is something like a creative facilitator.


The Inner Vision Deck is simple, powerful and inexpensive. It’s also fairly compact, so you can carry the cards in their hard plastic case just about anywhere. I have long been a fan of utilize keywords and phrases to “whack” my thinking, and I think Rory has done a good job of selecting thought-provoking words and phrases for his card deck.

You can order the Inner Vision Deck from Rory’s website, The cost is GBP£12 (approximately US$21 or €17 at current exchange rates).