Graham Bednash: Why sharing our secret inspiration can benefit us all

By Graham Bednash, campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 18 August 2011 08:00AM

I got to thinking about how good we are at sharing our ideas after reading a great Twitter link from the Innovation issue of the Google Quarterly.

Graham Bednash

Graham Bednash

Google employee No16, Susan Wojcicki, the senior vice-president of advertising, was writing about Google's eight key rules for innovation. Susan has some great reminders for our industry, where innovation and new ideas are our lifeblood. Two of the rules are worth nicking straight away: "Look for ideas everywhere" and "Share everything".

There have been some really good books written about the importance of "looking for ideas everywhere". One of the best is from 1928, A Technique For Producing Ideas by James Webb Young, the former creative director of JWT. If you ignore some of the dated language, it's really a compelling read. He perfectly defines the essence of an idea: "An idea is nothing more or less than a new combination of elements." The book is a great reminder about why we need to be curious about absolutely everything and "connect the unconnected". To have new ideas, you need a lot of knowledge and a lot of information, but then you also need the ability to combine them to find a pattern you haven't seen before.

Our industry is schizophrenic. We need to know the facts. We need to understand consumer insights and data. But to create value for our clients, we have to create new ideas. Which brings me back to sharing. When people share their inspiration, everyone benefits. Look at LinkedIn and see how many different industries are setting up shared spaces to exchange ideas. It's easy and everyone benefits.

If only we could capture all the secret people and places Campaign readers follow to get this kind of inspiration. We could all benefit. You've heard of random acts of kindness. Well, why don't we apply the same approach to inspiration? We could create an "inspiration amnesty" and share our secret inspiration. Simply, in one place. A way of using this inspiration for the collective good of the industry. As we're all using lots of platforms already, it need only be for a few days. Just long enough for us all to discover something new.

So, if you'd like to discover new places that may inspire you, first share the two sources that you love most. Post it on Twitter at this hashtag: #shareinspiration.

For me, two current favourities are Brainpicker (bio: "interestingness curator and semi-secret geek obsessed combinatorial creativity") and Openculture (bio: "the best free cultural & educational media on the web"). Of course, there are thousands more out there that are equally inspiring. But only you know what they are.

Graham Bednash is the global head of invention at Mindshare.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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