People, perfectionists and pop culture - What Inspires Me, with The Academy's Neil Broderick

The Academy creative director reveals what stirs his creative mind.


Great creative work is done collaboratively, and I like being around people. It’s a million times better IRL, but I’ve made peace with Zoom for now. Just.

Bringing people together from different walks of life and at different points of life leads to better ideas and better work.

I do love reading about people who have made an impact on the world too. Like Ed Catmull, whose book 'Creativity Inc' tells the story of Pixar and how it puts creativity at the heart of everything it does. It taught me to trust my gut, stay true to ideas and always take feedback as a positive.


The term ‘perfectionist’ is sometimes used as a negative. Or a fake negative. But regardless, perfectionists are pretty inspiring. Steve Jobs was one. Serena Williams is one. Wes Anderson (best director in the world, IMO) is one. Watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi to see a 90+ year old chef who is the living embodiment of Shokunin - the endless pursuit of perfection. The pride he takes in perfecting his work, and how everyday he works to improve on the last. Beautiful (the film, not the fish).


I don’t think you need to be into fine art or go to galleries every day to be cultured. Or creative. But I do think you need to be connected to pop culture so what you do is relevant. And that’s what makes our job so great – all the things you’d want to do anyway are all the things that make us better at what we do. Imagine getting paid to binge on boxsets, play games and scroll. It all means that we can better make stuff that people care about, and then that too can pass into popular culture.


The motherland. Watch the 1994 Riverdance and tell me you’re not inspired.

Ireland is way more than Bono, Guinness, Sinead O’Connor and St Patrick’s Day. We know how to tell a story - just ask Michael O’Leary how Ryanair took flight.

There is an Irish way of looking at things, which is mostly with humour.

The real world

Probably wasn’t the only one, but I took my first ‘tech holiday’ in lockdown to get away from my screen, switch off and spend some time in the real world. Nature is good for the soul. And for creativity and inspiration too, which is why Bill Gates takes ‘think week' holidays in the woods. Apparently.

Doing good

Someone once told me that to make something great, you need to make people laugh, cry or think. It’s a bit David Brent, but I want to feel like what I’m doing matters and want our work to make a difference. Maybe a brand campaign can solve a bigger problem than the one in the brief.

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