What Inspires You?

by · October 15, 2012

Hydra-perspective by Anand George Zachariah, CC Attribution

I am always on the lookout for simplicity and common-sense sustainable form in everything from the next marketing campaign concept to a better way to manage my emails. Genuine innovation, in my opinion, is not about great breakthroughs, it’s about the unsung heroes – the processes that close the gap between business strategy and day-to-day operations. Continuous changes, not opportunistic inventions are at the core of innovation giants like 3M, and Apple.

I was in need of a little inspiration myself this past weekend – I needed a workout for my spirit and an installment of creative vision. It is then when I picked up a copy of Oprah’s magazine and found an amazing article called “Tall Tail” about a double amputee who transformed into a real life mermaid with a help of a team of special-effect artists. When I read the story I was mesmerized.  It got me thinking that when we create something from the heart and out of love, other people can feel it and it creates a magic. So how does this relate to business and marketing? How can we dig deeper into who we are and simply share in a way that will have our target audience transformed?

Great innovations are always disruptive, they come from a place of love, and they challenge a status quo. The problem is that we all are so busy and focused on the day-to-day activities putting everything, but our own priorities on top of “to do” lists. We all need some breathing space – taking a hint from 3M’s “15 percent of time can be devoted to creative projects” approach, we should all try to purposely allocate time for browsing through libraries, websites we love and, perhaps,  listening to TED. To make this happen I like to put these activities as an appointment on a calendar. No phone calls are taken at that time. Well, maybe sometimes.

Creative greatness is the result of an orchestra as innovation and creativity never happen in silos. With that in mind, a little over a year ago we created Creative Commons Qatar with the idea to bring people together and encourage them to collaborate and innovate. Our team liked the idea of encouraging people to share, learn, and communicate with others locally and internationally to promote content generation, especially in Arabic. For those on a lookout for inspiration, Creative Commons might be a good platform for collaboration – mixing with others with a goal to make creativity thrive will surely provide more sources of inspiration than you could have come up with on your own.

It is challenging to single out just a few most effective action steps that would deliver the biggest return on the investment and create that innovative breakthrough.  Could it be that accepting less to have more is one of them?

What inspires you? What are some strategies that help you with innovative breakthroughs?


Post By Julia Astashkina (25 Posts)

Julia Astashkina is heading the Marketing and Outreach Section at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Qatar. She runs organization’s multiple communications and marketing initiatives and is a guest blogger of the Digital Qatar blog. Julia has extensive experience in strategic marketing, communications, and social innovation. She has an MBA and other degrees from Georgetown and ESADE, and is the community lead for Creative Commons Qatar.


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