I’m old enough to remember that huge Borders bookshop that used to sit over four or so floors on Oxford Street. With its huge floor to ceiling windows and plenty of space to sit and read with a cup of coffee, it was ahead of its time with you think of the lifestyle-meets-retail space. Perched with a cuppa and a book by one of those big windows always supplied endless inspiration as the opportunity to observe humans doing what humans do from a birdseye view was never-ending. Bookshops aside, I can’t think of anything more inspiring than observing the human race – whether listening in on conversations (Jo Good on BBC Radio London does a brilliant segment called The Listening Project, which is essentially a snoop into a private conversation between two people), watching people interact in different settings and how this changes in different environments, countries and situations.
Visuals & video
As they say ‘a picture tells a thousand words’ so I guess a video must tell a million (or 1.8m words according to James McQuivey, the consumer behaviourist who wrote the book 'Digital Disruption'). As simple as it may sound, I find a good image bank can really unlock parts of your brain that the written word can’t. From a scroll through OnceUponAPicture, a gallery visit, a scenic stroll or hitting the ‘Explore’ button on YouTube (and of course an Insta stalk) the power of good visuals is a frequent go-to for nudging the brain in a different direction.
Read, read, read
Working in this in industry makes you endlessly curious about the world. And the simplest way to satiate that curiosity is through endless reading and absorbing of information. I guess we all become a little like journalists in that we all know a little bit about a lot of things, important when working across clients in a range of industries. Reading a good trends report to soak up emerging trends in far flung places and developments in under-represented communities is massively inspiring in so many ways. Particularly at this time of the year, I love wading through the various papers and lists of predictions for the new year and run down of the preceding 12 months.
In moments when I don’t have time for a long read there’s still a lot to be taken from a simple headline or pun. The mastery of headline writers summing up a whole story in just a few words that gets us all to stop in our tracks as we pass the news stand (yep, thing of the past, right?), or scroll through a never-ending feed of clickbait, can also be a powerful set up to new ideas and thinking.
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