Why Inspiration Matters
Inspiration gives you a new lens of focus, allowing you to isolate insights that are striking and compelling. Inspiration isn’t easy, and it isn’t automatic. Here are some tips for fostering inspiration.
I recently asked a client to share their existing research to support an upcoming innovation journey. They pulled out a big cardboard box filled with impressive stacks of reports. They had competitive intelligence, audience needs, brand awareness and usage patterns. But even with all this, the client was having trouble identifying a strong starting point for innovation, for developing the “what’s next” in their product offering. They had research, but no direction. They had information, but no inspiration. And innovation needs inspiration.
Inspiration provides a critical kind of illumination. It doesn’t provide answers, but it does reveal the paths that can lead to solutions. Inspiration helps you examine your challenges with increased clarity and a new awareness of possibilities.
You could say that inspiration helps you see further. You will start to see beyond tactical, close-in opportunities, to insights that reflect higher order benefits. You’ll be able to see the way to more a meaningful and enduring possibilities framework.
Inspiration gives you a new lens of focus, allowing you to isolate insights that are striking and compelling. It elevates your expectations, and also makes you a smarter and more vigorous editor of information, insights and ideas.
And inspiration improves the vision of those around you. You can now re-organize and reinterpret well-worn paths to capture the attention of people around you. You are seen in a new light, gleaning additional support for your project and clearing the way for organizational alignment.
Inspiration isn’t easy, and it isn’t automatic. But finding ways to become inspired and stay inspired is worth it. Especially if you don’t want your work to end up as just another stack of facts and figures in a big cardboard box.
“Inspiration gives you a new lens of focus, allowing you to isolate insights that are striking and compelling.”
WE’RE BETTER TOGETHER
We like words like fieldtrips, excursions, immersions and insight experiences. We like them because we know there is no such thing as second-hand inspiration. Inspiration happens when we are up-close, real-time and personal. That’s why we do the work together with our clients. Our work gets better when our clients participate, but more importantly, our clients’ work gets better. When we explore the world in tandem we get our clients to step out of the conference room so they can see things differently, think harder, and go further. Together we get inspired.
“Within these projects there’s a moment when the ground shifts under you, and you see the world in a different way.”
- Leap Innovation Client, 2012
YOUR INSPIRATION CHECKLIST
You can’t just flip a switch and be inspired, but you can model behaviors that foster inspiration.
- Smart Design: Don’t skimp on a project’s front-end design. Find early opportunities for inspiration and transformative thinking.
- Think Like a Human: When gathering insights, you must look at the world like a “regular person.” Think like a human, not like a marketer. Constantly thinking about how the insights will directly solve your challenge is a sure-fire way to dampen any inspirational sparks.
- Stay Engaged: Make sure your work is structured in ways that keep everyone emotionally and intellectually absorbed.
- Give It Time: Allow time to absorb information. Schedule time to discuss, analyze and really think. Give your team space to identify and explore new patterns.
- Be Emotional: Dig into what lies beneath the facts and don’t shy away from emotional implications; they may lead you to a higher order place.
- Dimensionalize: Go to new places, and get new perspectives, even if they feel a little weird…especially if they feel a little weird.
And at every stage, make it crystal clear why your team should care about the findings, the output, and the implications to the business, before and after you actually know what they are.