What Inspires Me

The Inspiration Economy

Inspiration Stash is a new website based on an idea I’ve been thinking about for a very long time.

The idea for this website occurred while listening to a talk on what the speakers called the “Inspiration Economy.” An inspiration economy occurs when economies based on a consumer purchasing engine reach a level of saturation. Consumer become more aware that fulfillment doesn’t come from yet another pair of designer shoes. Instead of seeking happiness through accumulating stuff, they seek to find fulfillment through creating what is beautiful and intrinsically rewarding.

Looking at economies worldwide, there is no sign that a consumer-driven engine is running out of steam. You only need to look at growing economies in China and India to find flourishing consumer economies.

But in maturing “post industrial” economies such as those in U.S. and Europe, there are signs of an inspiration economy. You can see an inspiration economy in the growing Maker Movement with its focus on do-it-yourself discovery, innovation, and craft. The focus of Millennials and Generation Z on having experiences rather than on buying stuff also suggests to me that there is an inspiration economy at work.

What especially intrigues me about the inspiration economy is in the opportunities offered to those of us who love to create.

As a person who is creative by nature, I am always driven by the question “what is a better solution?” Quite often, in my case, the better solution is to simply create what it is that is missing. This makes perfect sense in the art world. There are many examples of artists creating the music, literature, and performances that they wanted to have in the world.

Creating solutions also drives most entrepreneurs. Again, the motivation is to create something that doesn’t yet exist. Sometimes entrepreneurs get into trouble by creating products that services for which there isn’t enough demand for a sustainable business. But the impetus comes from the same place.

While I appreciate the inspiration economy, it’s not the star to which I hitch my wagon because in my experience the currents that support the consumer economy still run strong. Most human beings, myself included, still have a strong drive to purchase our way into our aspiration group. I believe this is shifting, but we are years  even decades away from a tipping point.

But the Inspiration Economy has been a practical philosophy that underlies how I deal with life challenges. Rather than complaining or hoping someone else develops the solution, my approach can be summed up as “if it’s important enough to me, I’ll create a solution that works for me.”

There are challenges to being objectives-driven. In particular, when you decide to create something, there is necessarily, lots of trial and error. When you create something you are going to fail along the way. In fact, you may fail a lot! Trial and error also means parts of the process can feel messy and unpredictable. This inherent messiness is why having support structures is so important. One of my most important support structures is community. And I have learned to avail myself of a variety of communities: of living humans and of humans who are no longer living; specifically my wise, loving ancestors.

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