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When inspiration amps up creativity
October 7, 2019 | Sarah Larson

“To inspire is to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” Thanks, dictionary.

What do you envision when you hear the word, “inspire”?

Maybe it’s a song that made you feel ready to tackle the world or a film that made you think differently. Maybe it’s a book that left you oozing with creative ideas. Perhaps it’s an inspirational quote or good social post at the right time?

The truth is that inspiration comes from everywhere. There is no red button to hit to feel inspired or inspire others. And that’s great because everyone is different, so what inspires you may not create that same emotional response in someone else.

At MindFire, we’re always searching for ways to create those emotional responses in our clients’ target audiences. How do we inspire them to take a specific action? Well, it takes a lot of inspired Arsonists to figure that out. If we’re not feeling inspired, it’s going to be exponentially more difficult to inspire others.

“You can’t start a fire without a spark.” Thanks, Springsteen.

That’s why our incredible leaders, Lynn and Erik, took the entire MindFire team to Chicago for our second annual three-day Inspiration Expedition. The goal? Find inspiration in everything that surrounds us. And let’s just say … that goal was achieved.

Expedited inspiration

While this wasn’t everyone’s first Inspiration Expedition, it was a completely new experience for the entire team. We kicked it off with a stop at Gino’s East, an iconic 53-year-old restaurant known for its classic Chicago-style deep dish pizza, where we took in the signature-covered walls and indulged in some of the local cuisine.

Next stop – a trip to the iconic Wrigley Field, where we thought about how brands hit the right mix of nostalgia while still accommodating guests’ modern desires. Have you heard of nostalgia marketing? StartUp Mindset gave a great definition of it as, “a company’s effort to jog our memories and leverage an already established virtue of a brand or an idea and realign it with their own offering.”

Wrigley Field hits a homerun in this area – queue the montage of old baseball games, the traditions of baseball stadiums (singing in the seventh inning), and keeping the classic, close-up feel of the historic stadium minus the new jumbotron.

We also watched as the Cards beat the Cubs. 😢 But it was still a great start to our expedition.

MindFire team at Wrigley Field

Yes, and

Second City is an iconic improv comedy club that lives by the motto, “Yes, and.” Famous alumni include Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Gilda Radner and more. We toured the space and participated in an incredible workshop custom-built for our team. It was an unforgettable experience. Improv really forces you to step out of your comfort zone, and what you learn outside your comfort zone is truly amazing.

A couple of lessons we learned that I’ll be applying to my entire life:

  • Play the scene you’re in. We have a tendency to try to force the scene to be what we want it to be. That doesn’t work in improv nor does it work in any life setting.
  • Do you find yourself thinking about what you’re going to say next? Maybe you’re judging what the other person is saying? You’re not really listening if you’re doing one of those. By just listening, you’re also being more present.

We won’t reveal all the secrets, but let’s just say our team came out of the workshop feeling refreshed, connected and motivated.

MindFire team at Second City workshop

After an afternoon of working (we don’t just play, I promise), we enjoyed an incredible dinner at Spiaggia, a Michelin-starred restaurant known for its world-class service and creative dishes that deliver unique, incredible tastes. We noted how the renowned establishment used service to elevate the dining experience beyond the top-notch cuisine.

Did you know that food is a great motivator? In fact, a survey by Seamless found that 57 percent of employees say food-based perks would make them feel more valued and appreciated. I certainly feel that way after eating that incredible wild boar gnocchi.

We topped it off with a Second City show that left us crying in laughter and also astounded at their skills (well done on the Quad City River Bandits suggestion).

Looking at the city

Our final to-do on the awesome expedition was an Architecture Tour on the Chicago River. We learned about the different types of architecture that make up the Chicago skyline along with some of the inspiration behind many of the buildings’ designs. We thought about how architecture is influenced by the environment, and also considered how architecture influences its environment in-turn.

That wrapped up the trip. We left feeling valued, motivated and most importantly… inspired.

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