(Photos taken while working from home, as is appropriate these days)
Julia Donaldson and Children’s Authors
I wouldn’t be who I am without having read Roald Dahl, his infectious ideas and revolting humour. Dahl still influences huge amounts of my thinking, but with my own kids I’ve found Julia Donaldson’s books such as A Squash and a Squeeze great to read and with excellent messages for mental health and kindness. Dr Seuss is someone who my parents thought was too American and ‘weird’ for me, but the Dr Seuss Sleep Book is written as news and a must read for PR parents of young kids.
Shed Simove and Novelty
I waste far too much time in novelty shops. Always full of bizarre ideas, they can be an unlikely source of inspiration. One person who’s always inspired me is Shed Simove who came up with the novelty candles that spell out "You’re Old" and patented the idea. He wrote Ideas Man and I highly encourage agencies to bring him in for a training session if you want a refresh of your creative process.
Quincy Jones and Producers
It took me a long while to realise that the true genius behind most music tracks lies with producers who bounce from creative hit to hit while their artists are often still struggling through their ‘difficult third album’. Quincy Jones is someone whose creative clarity is just staggering when you join the dots. Thriller aside, he composed the soundtrack for The Italian Job, produced for Sinatra, Ray Charles, and Aretha. I also love how in recent years he’s given some jaw-dropping interviews.
Charlie Brooker and futurologists
This past week we’ve seen Big Brother Germany not told about current news events, mirroring Brooker’s series Dead Set. From Nathan Barley to Black Mirror, Brooker has truly become the doomsday prophet of our times. There’s a lot of nonsense in futurology in the tech space, but when it’s done right it can be both inspirational and slightly anxiety-inducing.
Robin Williams and improvisation
“Oh captain, my captain” - Robin Williams always inspired me for being an incredible improvisational dynamo. Whether it’s that moment in Mork & Mindy where he shouted "fly, go free", writing his own lines in Good Morning, Vietnam, or voicing cartoons, I’ve always found him the ultimate free thinker. I was very lucky to see him live at a small club when he made his first stand-up appearance in the UK for 26 years and shake his hand. A true creative hero.
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