Finding Inspiration at CreativeMornings Grand Rapids

I’ve had the pleasure of attending the last two CreativeMornings events in Grand Rapids. And though the themes for each event were minimal and heritage, when I think back on them, the word inspiration is what comes to mind.

A shelving unit whose design was inspired by the unexpected.
Nicolai Czumaj-Bront’s piece Resonate was inspired in the most unexpected of circumstances.
Image credit Nicolai Czumaj-Bront.

Inspiration Is Valuable

Nicolai Czumaj-Bront spoke at the June 2014 CreativeMornings event and Chuck Saylor spoke at the July 2014 event, and in each talk, the speaker discussed the importance of inspiration. Saying that “I need inspiration” or “I’m going for a walk so as to feel more inspired” has an unfortunate negative connotation; in some ways, it’s like the person is saying “I’m going to keep procrastinating and putting off my work.”

I’m sure Chuck would disagree with that statement, as he reminded us of the value of sitting and watching the ocean for a while. And Nicolai gave a concrete example: one day while driving through the the midwest United States, he noticed the slightly undulating hills in the landscape in a way he has not noticed before. It inspired him to draw out some quick sketches — sketches that ultimately became Haworth’s Resonate.

A low fidelity sketch of Resonate.
If this sketch of Resonate does not demonstrate the power of low fidelity sketching and prototyping, then I don’t know what does. Image credit Nicolai Czumaj-Bront.

How to Take Action

Ok, I’m sold. But what is the next step? What can I do to spark inspiration? How can I be confident that my time invested in watching the ocean, driving through the countryside, or anything is going to pay concrete value?

Perhaps there is simply inherent risk here — some moments will pay nothing, and others will pay big — and I need to convince myself that it’s all worth the risk.

I’m feel keenly interested in this, as after speaking with a former colleague, I’m thirsty for more inspiration in both my professional and personal life. How do you seek inspiration? How do you convince yourself that investing in inspiration is worth it?

Thanks to CreativeMornings Grand Rapids for inspiring me to think, wonder, and write about this !