What Inspires Us?

2017-11-03
Picture the scene; July 11th 2016, Stade de France. 22 seconds after the 108th minute of play, much to the surprise of onlooking fans, one of the footballers brings the gruelling game to a close by scoring the winning goal. Seconds later millions erupted into triumphant cheers, whilst many millions more were left in bitter disappointment.

By why, you might ask, was his success so unexpected? Unfortunately, as a player with a history of failures, the support behind him was underwhelming. So where did this moment of strength, will and belief come from? How did he innovate and become an inspiration for so many in one simple moment?

When we innovate, we dare to say to ourselves ‘why not?’; and it is from this moment, this small spark of light, that the process of creative thinking is transformed. Not only individuals, but many companies and businesses search incessantly for a way to create this moment.

We already know that not all innovation processes are successful, and of course not all creative moments are transformed into innovation. If you do the math, we can see that a lot of inspiration must be generated before it translates into success.

InnoWave recently conducted a survey across our teams, spanning various profiles, ages, and competencies, focused toward the question ‘what inspires you?’ More than 80% or respondents pointed to facts, people, or positive memories; something that makes them smile.  This result raises the question however, are we confusing motivation with inspiration?

Consider dictionary definitions of the two terms:

Inspiration: Stimulus; creative ability of artists, writers, authors or other professionals: the creator never loses his inspiration. Lighting; idea sudden and momentary, usually great.

Motivation: The act or effect of motivating, of arousing interest in something: the praise served as motivation to improve.

It seems that when asked to think about what inspires us, we naturally look to the past and moments of motivation, rather than moments of inspiration.

In my opinion however, the best way to find our moment of inspiration is to dive deep, to hurt, to distress; to experience what many often call "stomach ache". If we look back, the great innovations and leaps of mankind were the result of man's will to achieve more, to go further, to fly higher. This is our innate desire: to want more, to break the barriers that bind us to the present. Challenge yourselves in your enterprises. Challenge your people and your minds, to search around you, or within you, for this stomach ache, this anguish of wanting more. I am sure you will find fertile ground to test the spark, to plant the seed, to innovate. The World needs us, we need us, we have the tools, we have the motivation. This is the treasure map to find inspiration and to transform it. The moment is today. Each of us plays a part in the creation of our future.
 

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