Instagram inspiration: Why creatives need to get out of the office and into the real world

Where do top creative minds go when in need of inspiration? In The Drum magazine’s Cannes issue, guest-edited by Facebook, we got a glimpse into the places where great ideas are born.

Here's a snapshot from our magazine feature, where the industry’s leading creatives shared their insights with The Drum via Instagram. One theme that ran through all of the photos, is that we all officially have permission to get out of the office and into the real world. So, what are you waiting for?

Anne Elisco-Lemme, executive creative director, Duncan Channon

It might not be a tree top in Venezuela or an underground cave in Belize, yet my living room is a place of constant inspiration. It’s where I’ve silently observed my kids making sense of the world through play. It’s where I constantly dodge my dogs as they tumble across the floor like bear cubs. My living room is where generations gather to loudly play music together after a meal and where I sit quietly on a Sunday morning watching the light move across the walls. To be inspired by the every day. That is a lesson I’m very grateful that I’ve learned.

While it wasn’t said about advertising per se, it was said about writing: write what you know. And I think the same holds true for being a creative in this industry. You have to feel, taste, touch, love in order to understand what moves people. Sitting in a creative department 24/7 is gonna make you very savvy about what it means to work in advertising. Not much more. Go live your life and then bring that inspiration back into the work.

Brendan Hemp, executive creative director, Ogilvy Leopard

Kebler Pass Road traverses through the Continental Divide over the majestic mountains at an elevation of over 11,000'.

I love to ride my bicycle there (or anywhere) as the grandeur and beauty of this magical place inspires me to think up creative ideas along the way. It's that and perhaps the thin air.

Whether it's taking in our natural surroundings or at a gallery opening of a new contemporary artist, experiencing the world around us makes us better problem solvers, thinkers and creatives.

Dave Buonaguidi, chief creative officer, CP+B

I once said that 'creativity' is a curse. It is. A beautiful curse. It is an energy that drives you constantly, sometimes to distraction, and as Oscar Wilde once said, 'is impossible to use up...'. The ad business is more 'creative' than just the people who occupy the third floor, there are thousands of creative problem solvers working in lots of different areas in companies, who don't know or feel they are as creative as they actually are. We need to understand and then propagate the role of creativity and what impact it can have on our companies and our clients.

Personally, I need to make things. It doesn't matter what. Companies, adverts, clocks, robots, posters. Just stuff. I don't drink, I don't do drugs. Getting my hands dirty is my drug of choice and doing it with other like-minded people is amazing. I did the one day course at Print Club London the day after I left Karmarama and it changed my life. Dramatic but true.

The studio is like a third home for me, the creative energy is incredible, so much so that every new starter at CP+B London has to do the one day print course. The initial response is always the same. ' I'm not creative! Blah blah...' when they come in on the Monday after the course, they have changed because they have made something, often for the first time in years. Making something is just one small aspect of what it means to be creative, but once you've made something, you can make anything.

Jonathan Pickle, senior editor, Ignition Creative

The ocean provides a place for me that is much like meditating — I’m not thinking about ideas, I’m actively decluttering my thoughts — because when you surf you need to be in the moment to get in to the right spot to catch the wave, then find rhythm with its energy, and just trust your instinct. Unlike other sports or activities, you are in an environment that is constantly changing (like the creative world is) and you need to be present to keep up. When I surf, I have complete freedom of expression; there is no rule book, script, right or wrong.

As an editor I live in a dark box (my editing bay) all day. This is where I need to come up with ideas on the fly under tight deadlines and sometimes stressful circumstances. I need to mentally escape from that box by taking my mind to other places to find creative inspiration. That means I must take advantage of the time I spend outside the office for creative “recharging”.

For me, the ocean is the place where I expend any negative energy and recharge my batteries, giving me the headspace for fresh thinking and, most importantly, restoring my perspective. Time away from a project for any creative provides a new viewpoint upon return, whether it’s a five minute walk around the block or a lunchtime surf session.

Tony Hogqvist, creative director, Airbnb

Our house in Sweden is an old school, in the middle of nowhere, next to no one. It inspires me because my normal day feels like I'm the middle of everything and surrounded by many.

The best work is often done during two extremes. Under insane stress and personal setbacks or in complete harmony with a rested mind. It's hard to build a creative team around the first principle. So the easiest solution is to force people to take longer vacations and have a better work-life balance.

Victoria Stoyanova, founder and director, Malleable

I'm obsessed with Libreria in London. It's so much more than a bookshop, it's a cognitive playground. I love how Paddy always helps you pair books and narratives as if you were looking for the perfect wine, fabric or perfume. Creative minds should wander more! You never know where you'll find inspiration, interesting correlations and awe. I often take myself to Libreria on an artist date - a solo adventure in between the shelves where I always (re)discover something moving.

There are masses of insights to be derived from the many remarkable marketing stories not yet being told, and coupled with visually stunning design, The Drum magazine will be telling them. Subscribe here.