I penned a few posts on the work Realtime Man blog whilst in SXSW recently. I thought I'd repost here in case you missed them. This one is about inspiration.
Inspiration. According to the dictionary, it’s defined as ‘The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative: “flashes of inspiration”‘
It’s a key asset of what we do for a living. We’re in the business of ideas. We can argue over semantics ofhow to generate those ideas, how strategic those ideas are, but the plain fact is we create ideas that inspire a behaviour change. And what helps us generate those ideas is inspiration.
I always remember an old Creative Director I used to work with. When he joined the agency I was at at the time, he said his creative teams were suffering from the pencil sharpener syndrome. Upon asking what that was he replied: “They’re devoid of inspiration. They don’t get out. They don’t soak things up. They expect things to inspire them without looking for it. They look at their pencil sharpener on their desks and nothing else and expect to be inspired…”
I love to be inspired. I love to explore new things. Question them. Mash them up. Physical things. Metaphorical things. Good things. Bad things. Just… things. Lots and lots of things.
And I think I can say SXSW has the most concentrated selection of things I’ve ever experienced. And, by golly, I’m inspired. Energised. Ready to solve problems.
I’ve been inspired by the scale of thinking on show here. Why people have been generating ideas. Mostly it’s people who want to do good. People who want to create social change (mostly) for the good of society. (I’ve also been surprised by the lack of ambition by some big players but that’s another post.)
I’ve been inspired by the sheer range of topics. What those ideas have covered. Personally, I’ve attended talks that have covered podcasting, conscious capitalism, groundbreaking technology, food content and a whole bunch of other stuff.
I’ve been inspired by where these ideas live. It’s a show dedicated to interactive technology, but that’s only really a means to an end. The thing people engage with to do something or be part of something. And where those ideas live has been disparate: from clothing, to apps, to space, to the social conscious.
Lastly, I’ve been inspired by who these people are. Given the sheer amount of intelligent entrepreneurs at the moment, I’m guilty of knowing a name and not much else about some of these people. This has given me a great opportunity to put a name to a face, and to an identity. It’s given me the chance to try and get under the skin of the PR machine and actually see these people look me in the eye and tell me what they’re thinking. And that can never be underestimated.
And all of that’s great. It’s great because I’ve approached my time here with an open mindset. A mindset a little more open than it usually is in London.
Now, most people around me I’m sure would say that I’m an energetic person that is eager to learn and eager to soak up as much as possible. (I call myself a gormandizer. That’s lifted from CBGB by the way.)And I do. I love to learn, and I’ll never change. But I think my time here has changed me a little. It’s reinforced for me just how important inspiration is. And it’s given me even more drive to seek it out back in London. Back at my desk. Wherever I may be.
Inspiration. It’s all around us. All we have to do is seek it out. Stop looking at pencil sharpeners and get out there.