Too Comfortable Looking Only at Ourselves

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NOELLE WEAVER: After a couple of false starts, the temperatures finally reached the high seventies this past weekend and the flowers are in bloom. New York has reawakened from its winter slumber.

For me it marks the end of hibernation and my renewed energy usually means a renewed interest in all that New York has to offer: lectures, art exhibits, seminars and the best people watching you'll ever find.

With this in mind, the other day I made a list of industry conferences and seminars that I would like to attend for the purpose of education and inspiration for my role at SS+K. It was the usual list of events sponsored by the usual industry folks covering the usual topics: online, mobile, management, new business, etc.

10 items into the list, I paused… then hit delete. It was spring. Hadn't I just said that this was the time to think about things that led to renewal and a new boost of energy?

So I began to make my list again. This time the list consisted of events from AIGA, Free Lectures at NYU, Aperture's exhibit "The 50 Photographer's of Tomorrow," Trendwatching.com’s conference in the fall, Wired's Next Fest and a Mobile Living exhibit happening here in the city in late May.

As an industry, we've become too comfortable with looking only at ourselves. All this does is lead to copycat ideas. Arguments over lackluster thinking. And agencies that don't know how to think beyond TV. Let's stop presenting the "next best" worn-over idea and start presenting "the first-ever" original concept. Let's stop arguing. If we really want to shine and innovate for our clients, shouldn't we start by looking for inspiration in what's happening in the world [art, fashion, music, entertainment, technology, politics] around us?
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