There is a line in the movie, Working Girl (a classic film by my standards) that reads” “If dumplings can be considered a big idea, I guess…” It’s a sarcastic response to the lead character’s suggestion that dumplings are a popular new appetizer according to W, a magazine she reads “because you never know where a big idea will come from.”
Years later, dim sum dumplings may be passé, but Tess’s theory remains valid. Big ideas do come from unexpected places, so those of us in the creative field need to have our eyes open at all times. It’s not enough to attend events (or watch the Academy Awards) and think, “Hmm, how could I create something similar at my event?” I believe successful event planners should take every opportunity to seek inspiration even outside of the event world.
For instance, I’m not the least bit interested in sports or electronics, but when I’m waiting in a doctor’s office, I often seek out Sports Illustrated or Popular Mechanics just to get a sense of those fields. At the same time, reality TV is a trend I can definitely live without, but I can’t argue its popularity. So, yes, I have watched my share of Keeping up with the Kardashians. (Remember all those Survivor-themed corporate events we endured a few years back??) Event trends are frequently borne from pop culture.
Another way to expand your horizons is to consider your favorite websites and expand the list. Or, if you get your news online from CNN, FOX or MSNBC, go beyond the sections you “always read.” In most cases, online articles are short and you never know what you might learn.
Finally, for those of us that plan B-to-C events, it’s particularly important to constantly pay attention to how other companies market their goods and services, even if they are not our clients. More than once I’ve noted an ad campaign for something like Smirnoff and been inspired to alter the design of an event I was working on for a completely different industry.
So, keep your eyes open. Dim Sum, cupcakes, and candy tables are SO yesterday. Tomorrow is much more interesting.