Event Professionals Share Creative Inspirations

Skift Take

Drawing a blank around event ideas is something most within the industry grapple with at some point. With this in mind, event professionals share their go-to creative inspirations.

In a recent podcast featuring Stephanie Cheung, director of strategy & insights at MarketID, Cheung said she believes “events are the business of inspiration.”

But to create inspiring events, planners need to feel inspired themselves. Inspiration can, at times, feel in short supply when working on multiple deadline-driven projects while under pressure to adapt to new market needs and expectations.

Fortunately, the world presents many opportunities for creative inspiration. Here, four event professionals share their event inspiration idea generators.

Everyday Experiences

Ruud Janssen, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Event Design Collective GmbH

“[Event] inspiration comes from moments of liminal experiences. Nature, conversations, jam sessions, food, wine, music, art, and travel. In any order and repeat ruthlessly. Although, [inspiration] seldomly has to do with purposefully trying to unlock a challenge or a problem. It is associative and diverse, coming at you at any time or place.

The hardest part is keeping track of these impulses and thoughts in the moment. Creativity and design, for me, are led by restrictions and constraints. Exploring a problem requires time, a team, and space, guided by a process multiple minds can use in sync.

We like to use the Event Design using the #EventCanvas methodology to articulate the narrative of experience journeys and instructional designs within a (very) specific frame of restrictions. Ultimately, the purpose of the creative process is to deliver outcomes in the desired direction of change.”

Knowledge Sharing

Kapil Mudholkar, Associate Director of Marketing, Media 7

“Industry podcasts have always been the ideal place for me to get inspired. I have been regularly going through podcasts and other related information sources to understand how the industry is doing, especially post-pandemic.

After 18 years in the industry, my experience has primarily been with in-person events, conferences, exhibitions, and expos. Podcasts have allowed learning to center more around event tech platforms and their significance in today’s world, alongside virtual event management.

Knowledge sharing is critical for technical give and take within the [events] community, helping professionals like myself connect with new people, understand more about industry concerns and challenges, and information exchange.”

Learning and Connection

Lea Worth, Head of Content and Executive Education, IQPC Exchange

“I am working at high-level, invitation-only B2B conferences. So I look for inspiration that impacts either executive learning or connection.

For inspiration on learning, I get my best ideas from industry podcasts. Podcasts provide insight into topics, case studies, emerging terminology, and unscripted reactions to questions and opinions. They also give insight into executives, something articles and blogs cannot provide to the same degree.

The best sources for inspiration on connection come from observing everyday activities like how people behave in large versus small groups, when people are side-by-side or facing one another, or how people respond when given a task compared with making their own choices. These seemingly mundane activities provide enormous insight into building opportunities to connect to an event.”

Outside the Industry

Merijn van Buuren, Founder, Event Mender

“When running low on creative inspiration, step outside your bubble and research what other industries are doing. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to think of an exciting idea. Sometimes, it comes down to putting a new twist on something that already works in other spaces.

For example, the retail, e-commerce, and technology sectors are great sources for trends and boundary-pushing ideas. While researching, you might also come across new products or tech that spurs even more creative ideas.

With all the information available online, inspiration is just one click away. Time to get outside of that box you’re in and get those creative juices flowing!”