'Out of the rot grow beautiful ideas' - What Inspires Me, with 3 Monkeys Zeno's Stuart Yeardsley

Where does 3 Monkeys Zeno creative director Stuart Yeardsley find his inspiration?

Suddenly the world is very different. There’s no rule book. Lockdown is helping us remember what’s important, and within that we can find inspiration. Be kind, be present and look out for each other.

Here’s a few things that are keeping me inspired during lockdown…


Inspiration is everywhere you look in your social and news feeds. Seeing the locals of northern Italy forming a balcony band or the singer performing in a hospital car park to comfort a friend having chemotherapy. To Captain (Colonel) Tom Moore’s epic walk for the NHS, to even Chris Martin’s imperfect rendition of all the greatest Coldplay hits.

Seeing people’s sense of humour and lateral thinking shine through in a time like this is incredibly energising in all this chaos.

Death of a Salesman

A great inspirational quote from Arthur Miller's amazing play Death of a Salesman, which addresses loss of identity and a man's inability to accept change within himself and society. The quote was introduced to me by Nils Leonard, Uncommon’s founder. It is beautifully powerful reminder to keep doing the best work we can in world where change is the only constant for brands to navigate.

"I’m not interested in stories about the past or any crap of that kind because the woods are burning, boys, you understand? There’s a big blaze going on all around."


Humans are fundamentally storytelling creatures. Whether you’re talking to a friend or penning a novel, you’re using the same tools to form a connection with people, to entertain them, and to make them think differently about the world. The magic of storytelling remains key for me, and I love the power of brilliant film and TV writers.

Scriptnotes (podcast) is a great source of inspiration if you want to learn how screenwriters create mad, surreal and brave storylines. Each week, screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.

Yes, and…

My son once offered to teach me how to be funny as my jokes are crap. Improv has taught me two key skills: listening and saying “Yes, and…” – perfect for there and in-the-moment problem-solving on the fly when we are collaborating remotely. There’s no script in improv – it’s spontaneous and together you help each other through uncertainty to an amazing place.

Compost heap

I love the notion of composting for inspiration. Everything you read, things that you write, things that you listen to, people you encounter, they can all go on the compost heap. And they will rot down. And out of them grow beautiful ideas.

I’m reading The Moth – 50 true stories of people defying the impossible. Quite apt for now. TheMoth.org is a great source of inspiration.

I also retreat into my bubble of literary escapism: The Phoenix comics – kick-ass super-hero capers, and a great reminder of a technique to inject a new spark of inspiration.


Water is a common theme and it appears anywhere when I need the space to disengage and reignite my brain. Once you step into the ocean you experience the most extreme form of meditation and mindfulness without needing to give it any fancy terms. You are completely present, and completely connected.

Lockdown seems to have slowed time. We have time to stand and stare, time to delight in the grace, activity, and sheer brilliance of nature; and time to feel a little human connection through the natural world, even in isolation. It is so restorative and inspiring and reminds us all we are just part of one big ecosystem.


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