For some, it’s that instinctual gut feeling and for others, time and space create a moment that lights a fire. Creatives have shared the ways in which music, nature, partnerships and existing content have inspired them and this time, it’s a little bit of everything. Freedom and space seem to be what creatives seem to need to hone in on their best ideas, most likely because this gives their thoughts time to run free. But it’s also that downtime, lack of pressure and ability to tinker with anything that sees inspiration run wild.
Lauren Cooper and Cara Johnson, associate creative directors at GUT and Daniel Bonner, global chief creative officer at Wunderman Thompson share their tips and tricks for creative inspiration with LBB’s Nisna Mahtani.
Lauren Cooper and Cara Johnson, associate creative directors, GUT
One of GUT's main principles is, ‘When in doubt, remember the agency's name’. So as creatives at GUT, we follow our guts when looking for inspiration. What ideas stick with us after the meeting? Which ones give us a little butterfly in our tummies, whether it’s from fear of being sued, or from just knowing it will be a blast to produce and share with the world?
One thing we love to do when ideating or overseeing teams is to do one round where only stupid ideas are allowed. Only bad ones. Even if we don't use anything from that round, the freedom to use our time to shake everything out makes all the work better in the long run. We believe every idea can be improved, even up to the day it launches, and we're always ready to add pieces to make it stronger or pull back a little if we've gone too far. But our rule is that the core should always remain intact and should always make us feel something. Also, we love to take our minds and bodies out of the office for creative inspiration.
[Pictured above: Cara Johnson (L) and Lauren Cooper (R)]
Daniel Bonner, global chief creative officer, Wunderman Thompson
When it comes to inspiration I have found that the most enlightening, mind-blowing and visceral inputs almost always arrive during those moments of ‘inefficiency’. Inefficiency? Sure, I’m talking about the gaps, spaces and moments of escape that need to exist outside of the structure, formality and jam-packed agenda of our everyday commitments. Because allowing the mind to wander during the commute, the overheard coffee queue chat, the workout, the podcast, that thing she said after the meeting was over, the furious thumb-scrolling catchup session while dinner cooks…is where new neural pathways can be opened and glorious avenues of thought pursued.
Of course, there is a place for being organised, structured and ordered when it comes to our pursuit of inspiration – personally, I want to escape to and learn from those worlds I can never conquer – science, elite sports, the natural world or anthropology. In fact, as humans, we now know just how important Inspiration is to us following Wunderman Thompson’s recent study. We authored the world’s largest, most in-depth, research on the topic of Inspiration, where we found that on average people ranked their need to be inspired higher (and effectively more important to them) than that of their need for sleep or need for physical intimacy. That’s kinda inspiring.
Contrary to my first point - The transition of inspiration into the ideas and solutions demands absolute efficiency. Leave no space for delay, interruption, interpretation of dilution. Capture it, all of it, in any way possible. I’ve learned that no matter where I might be standing when the magic manifests itself…it has to be recorded before any of the good stuff can escape. Much like panning for gold, most of it will be thrown away and cast aside, but to strike it rich, you have to start with as much as you can cram into the pan.
[Pictured above: Daniel Bonner's inspiration]