Voices

Post-pandemic positivity

With restrictions beginning to ease and a return to outdoor sports and simple pleasures, we asked a selection of creative leaders where they are getting their creative inspiration from.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director

Share


How do you stay creative in the midst of a global pandemic? It’s neither an easy nor simple question to solve. Yet, when we asked it back in June last year, it was clear that although across the industry the total transformation of the workplace almost overnight bought with it a wide range of challenges, it also gifted spaces, and the boredom by which to be creative.

Of course, it hasn’t been easy and the myriad of data points showing the negative impact of digital presenteeism on our collective mental health underlines the fact that ‘Zoom fatigue’ is not a pithy headline.

The unnecessary binary debate on whether the death of the office will kill creativity misses the point that the best leaders are focused on creating the best conditions for the people within them to thrive, regardless of their location. Data from Creative Equals shows just 9% of creatives have their best ideas in the office highlights the fact that traditional office structures do not automatically equate to a hot bed of creativity. Yet for workers attempting back-to-back Zoom calls in cramped and shared living spaces, they are still sorely missed.

With restrictions slowly lifting and the sun finally shining we asked a selection of industry leaders to share how their favourite outdoor spaces and activities are keeping them creative in the midst of lockdown restrictions being eased.

The past year more than any year I have known, the water of the Lido has been both my sanctuary and my escape.

Amelia Torode

Amelia Torode

Amelia Torode.jpg

Co-Founder

The Fawnbrake Collective

I breathe in and breathe out.

My warm breath seems to form into crystals in front of me, hanging in the crisp winter air.

I look at the water in Brockwell Lido.

The white board says the water is 3.2 degrees. That’s pretty chilly, But I’m here now, swimming costume on so I really need to get on with it and get in.

I step down.

It is a shock.

No matter how often I swim, winter water shocks.

It tingles, or is that me, with the mix of fear and excitement?

On a crisp winter’s day with the sun cascading into the blue, once you’re in, you feel like an arctic animal, maybe an Emperor Penguin, serenely gliding through the water.

The past year more than any year I have known, the water of the Lido has been both my sanctuary and my escape. As the world closed down, for much of the year outdoor socially distanced swimming was allowed.

Hanging onto a semblance of imagination and creativity during the pandemic has been tricky. I get my inspiration from curiosity, meeting people, talking with them, seeing, exploring. Tough, but not impossible, to do that all online. Practically impossible whilst home-schooling two primary aged boys with work from teachers they never saw and that was never marked.

So, swimming was the way that I could get out and clear my thinking to attempt to allow for new and unexpected thoughts to come into my head.

And now the water is above 12 degrees, and the sun is out and restrictions are lifting more.

Jump in, the water’s lovely.

Anger is an energy; the internet is an endless playground. Use them to your advantage.

Mickey Jones

Mickey Jones

Mickey Jones.JPG

Junior Copywriter

RAPP

If you’re like me and are a slave to your desk, office or not, you might find fitting in daily walks or outdoor spaces tricky. Which means one less outlet for inspiration, right? Tip, get angry. Seriously.

I’ve been reading more about daily injustice, tuning into heated Twitter conversations and speaking to my colleagues about industry issues. Now my list of creative ideas to tackle problems, big or small, has grown. Anger is an energy; the internet is an endless playground. Use them to your advantage.

Tune into the niche accounts documenting the undocumented, listen to people’s stories and see how your skillset can solve the problem or one aspect of the problem. Your ideas could be someone else’s hope, and hope is something we all need right now. Let your brain and heart do the rest.

P.S Netflix breaks are inspirational. I won’t accept otherwise.

Often the best ideas come when walking along or heading to the shops to buy milk.

Ben Harwood

Ben Harwood

Ben Harwood.png

European Creative Director

Feed

Since the world ground to a halt, the key to staying sane has been to venture outdoors. Whether it’s a local walk around your neighbourhood, a Zoom call from the garden or even a trip to the bins, it’s been shocking how valuable fresh air is and has been over the last year.

I’ve found that early morning walks in place of the commute around local roads and areas of my neighbourhood really beneficial. Often the best ideas come when walking along or heading to the shops to buy milk. The weekend is a particular delight. Being able to drive to areas like Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill, ambling around the streets and eyeballing enviable architecture has been another source of inspiration.

Overpriced takeaway coffee and even crepes, if you know, you know, are great to fuel the senses and give the dishwasher a welcome break. Over the last few weeks we’ve seen more and more people flock to the local parks to catch up in groups of six or two and seeing life returning to normal has been really inspiring. I can’t wait for the world to open back up so we can get back to real-life collaboration.

For creative people to be creative they need their blood to flow further than just the end of their arms.

Damon Collins

Damon Collins

Damon.jpg

Founder

Joint

It’s a fact that whilst working from home it’s easy to burn through hour after hour without moving more than your fingers.

It’s also a fact that for creative people to be creative they need their blood to flow further than just the end of their arms.

That’s one reason why, in the first few days of the first lockdown last year, we at Joint decided to instigate a mandatory 90-minute lunch break. 

Fiercely enforced, and with strict instructions for everyone to get away from their screens and get their bodies moving, that space in the day has successfully forced us all, over the last year, to clear our minds and create space for new stuff to fit in up there.

Of course, we don’t do this solely to boost creativity. The mental health benefits of exercise and ‘getting out of your mind’ are no secret.

While everyone will have their own way to go about this, mine is, and has, for many years, been Kyokushinkai karate.

I find an hour or so exhausting myself mentally and physically successfully delivers the kind of brain emptying I find necessary to be able to solve problems, and, especially over the last year, stay vaguely sane.