March 14, 2022


While it seems like it was just yesterday, I remember back in the ‘80s when my workplace was decorated with those motivational posters featuring a beautiful photograph and a strong statement intended to lift the spirits and inspire everyone. I bet you’ve seen those, too.

I called it: Breakroom Inspiration.

While I’m not sure it really worked, the photos were mighty pretty, that’s for sure. Often the sayings fell a little flat – especially if you were working in an environment that was less than ideal.  At least corporate leadership acknowledged the fact their employees had a significant need for inspiration.

That’s still the case. We all need to get a lift from something – no matter from where it comes.  I like to think it can come from a variety of sources.  When I get stuck creatively I often go back to a file where I keep creative ideas, and look for an approach that might get me unstuck. Or I might find an idea I used in the past, that can now be used to uniquely solve a new problem.

My friend Jim Link, a Minneapolis-based Consultant, wrote a book about this concept and called it “IdeaLinks”(link to book please).  The approach is to store up great ideas and use them to solve future problems you may face in business.

How2Get the Best Answers

There was a time when a member of our creative team saw a sign he liked outside of a restaurant. That particular sign was designed to draw pedestrians into dine. Well, he stashed that idea away. A few years later it was retrieved and became the foundation for one of my favorite marketing campaigns created by our agency. There was also the occasion when I was dealing with a prospect who had gone quiet on me. Remembering the power of coffee, and using our 5Points Creative branding, I sent her a customized bag of java, along with a clever note, to jumpstart the sales process. It worked.

Great ideas are often right in front of us, but sometimes we don’t see them.  Other times they’re tucked away in a folder waiting to be used. Occasionally, when you open that file, there’s an idea in there that perfectly fits the challenge you’re currently facing.  So, if you’re solving a business problem or creating a new campaign, seek inspiration.  Also, be open to finding old ideas that can be used to solve new challenges. No matter what the source.

Perhaps old motivational posters aren’t the answer.  Being open minded, storing good ideas, and giving yourself room to dream, think, and process is usually inspiration enough.


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