Members of the Forbes Agency Council–including our own Jessica Reznick–recently shared their tips for inspiring creativity. Read on for their insights on finding your muse.
In Ancient Greece, creativity was credited to the muses, who were said to bestow inspiration upon those they deemed worthy. But muses are notoriously fickle, and creators must sometimes actively seek out their own sources of inspiration.
Modern muses can be found in many faces and places, from industry publications to professional colleagues and trusted mentors. Just as each entrepreneur is different, so too are the fonts they draw inspiration from. Below, 12 members of Forbes Agency Council share their go-to modern muses. Take a look and see if any inspire the creative in you.
Get Back In Touch With Your Surroundings
There are so many inspiring podcasts, publications and social accounts out there, but none compare to taking out my AirPods, turning my phone on silent and getting outside to experience the world around me. Whether it’s in nature, on a hike or the water, or exploring an urban neighborhood, I find plugging into my community and engaging with the people around me is the best way to breed new ideas. – Anne Marie Malecha, Dezenhall Resources, Ltd
Find Like-Minded Colleagues In Online Groups
I’m a part of a lot of online marketing groups, both paid and unpaid. In these groups there are other like-minded individuals who have probably already addressed different challenges my business is facing. For example, if I am having a unique problem with an ad campaign, I might ask other agency owners in the group if they’ve had the same problem, and if so, what they did to solve it. – Bryan Citrin, Chiropractic Advertising
Scan For Common Topics Of Online Researchers
Scholarly research is available online using obvious sites like those of Harvard Business Review and The MIT Press, as well as those of other top universities across the globe. Their research covers all industries, people and topics. But what unites them is where I find the gold: their topic titles. Mapping common terms and concepts provides a free lens into what is driving business and society at any given parallel point. – Michaela Dempsey,Scout RFP
Find Content That Inspires You
Discipline and routine are incredibly important aspects of how I run my life and my business. I consume content related to that, such as Tony Robbins’ Breakthrough podcast series, Goalcast articles and lessons from team strategy books like Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, and Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, by General Stanley McChrystal. – Joe Marinucci, Digital Media Solutions
Unplug When Needed And Rely On Experience
I crave quiet. We are overconnected, oversaturated, overstimulated. Five to 10 minutes a day of meditation does wonders for me. It allows creative ideas to stream into my mind. I feel more productive. I am also inspired by mentors and industry leaders who have walked in my path. I look to competitors for what to do differently and past experiences in my quest to build a unique PR agency. – Michelle Mekky, Mekky Media Relations, Inc.
Take Time To Talk And Listen
I get most inspired from the conversations of the people whose problems I’m trying to solve. I love talking face-to-face with real people, whether it’s customers, clients or just people I meet out in the street, but I lean on technology to glean insights from the conversations I’m not a participant in. Things like search trends or social listening analysis can validate those one-on-one conversations. – Jamey Bainer, PACIFIC Digital Group, Inc.
Do Some Old School Networking
I meet with a group called the Media Mavens once a month, where we share work, challenges and ideas among members of the industry in multiple verticals. It’s a refreshing way to establish partnerships and make connections to keep idea generation alive. PR needs to breathe new life into brands through interviews and earned media, thought leadership, internal communications, and digital marketing. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications
See What The Survey Says
So few marketers use it, but the General Social Survey at the University of Chicago is the single most comprehensive picture of the American public and their current attitudes about a wide variety of topics — and not only that, but how those attitudes and behaviors have shifted over decades. There’s no more complete or in-depth data set from which to draw insights. – Craig Greiwe, Rogers & Cowan
Try Classic Ideas For Simple Solutions
The digital world is changing every month, it seems. We gather inspiration not only from what is happening right now on leading design and technology web experiences, but also from what has been done in the past. Users will gravitate toward effortless, thought-out solutions, and thinking about what’s being done right now is only part of the puzzle for us. Simple and clean are our go-to patterns. – Lee Salisbury, UnitOneNine
Look To A Variety Of Muses
Walt Disney theme parks, which combine environmental design, innovation and storytelling together in a truly magical way, are a big inspiration for our work. I also often turn to online communities as well as credible articles and other digital resources for help. It’s comforting to feel like some of the challenges we face on a daily basis are more commonplace than we think. –Jessica Reznick, We’re Magnetic
Turn On Your Tunes
Besides the plethora of mentors and past experiences, there is one constant that I can always depend on for inspiration: music. Different types of music trigger different parts of the brain, activating various emotional states. So, depending on the inspiration needed, different genres such as classical, lo-fi and alternative can help uncover creative ideas. – Bernard May, National Positions
Gain Energy Through Shared Enthusiasm
We recently started a weekly creative team meeting dedicated to inspiration, innovation and all things creative. Here’s how it plays out: We keep a shared running slide deck, and each person adds anything that captures their imagination, strikes them as inspirational or is creatively excellent. Then once a week, the team gets together and shares their selection. The energy is invigorating! – Eric Fowles, VOLTAGE, LLC