Process of Inspiration

Process of Innovation Photograph

To inspire is to be human: to create. to collaborate. to be vulnerable. to give. to breathe. to live in the space between.

I’ve succeeded. I ran the race. I’ve accomplished dreams. “But [like Bono attests] I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” Have you ever found yourself thinking this, too?

Success isn’t the main goal. Winning isn’t the main goal. What we really desire is to live a life full of meaning and purpose. What we really desire is to interact with truth and beauty in everything. In everyone.

This notion has been amplified to me in the last few months while researching: the Process of Inspiration – a subject that I had chosen to explore as the 2015 recipient of Hollis + Miller’s Innovation Sabbatical Program.

A quick look back through history shows us that our perspective of inspiration has morphed over time.  In ancient times people believed that it came from the muses and/or other gods. Hebrews felt it was a divine matter. And too, Christianity saw it as a gift from the Holy Spirit. Starting in the Renaissance and becoming fully apparent in the Enlightenment inspiration was viewed as originating in the individual instead of God. Since the early 20th Century to present, inspiration has been scientifically recognized as being part of the human thought process but, the actual act of inspiration is still a mystery to science.

However you want to view inspiration, of God, of man, or of both I believe there is a timeless aspect of it that has never changed. Inspiration is that which leads us to our authentic desires. We are only inspired by what we believe to be true and or beautiful.

And that is why I’ve began viewing inspiration as the artist of each of our lives. It’s his chisel that shapes us. His brush that paints us. We are the medium of choice. But, it is up to us to provide the proper environment (our inner self, our mind, our spirit) for the artist to work a masterpiece.

Thus far, along this sabbatical journey (besides researching inspiration itself) I’ve delved into ideas regarding purpose, leadership, organizational strategies, time management and others. Viewing all through the lens of inspiration what I’ve found is this: asking how to inspire leads an individual to ask how to be human. What does it mean to be human? Answering this question will lead us to expand our capacity for inspiration (being others-focused, being present in the moment, having a positive attitude, mastering your work, being knowledgeable, being authentic, being open…)

Please join Hollis + Miller and I in our search to expand our capacity for inspiration…to do great work while loving what we do. It is together that we create space for inspiration and the discovery of truth and beauty!

I am interested in hearing from you. Tell me: What is truth to you? What is beauty? What is inspiring you?  If you would, please share comments, thoughts, photos below.  And, of course, please share with your networks so we can glean from everyone’s perspectives.

Thank you.

Philip Korthanke, AIA, LEED AP
2015 Hollis + Miller Sabbatical Recipient

P.S.  In case these thoughts have spurred you to want to explore more, please find just a few links below. These are just a few of the unique sources of ideas and organizations that I’ve found interesting about how inspiration happens.

In 2013 Hollis + Miller launched an Innovation Sabbatical. The program is our way of encouraging reflection and helps our team launch out and discover innovations. It is about positively impacting on the growth of the recipient, the firm, and ultimately those we serve. Our Innovation Sabbatical takes a team member off day-to-day efforts and gives them a blank four-month canvas – a period in which they have a chance to step out of their regular project role, recharge and research areas of their choosing. The sabbatical is a strategic move — a springboard that fosters enhanced and potential innovations and creative ideas that enhance our lives, our business, the industry and hopefully our clients, too!