99 Ways to Find Inspiration for your Next Corporate Competitive Event!


In the early 1500’s, Leonardo da Vinci began work on what today is arguably the most celebrated and famous painting in history.  The Mona Lisa has been sung about, parodied, stolen, recovered, copied, vandalized, its subject speculated upon, shattered multiple records, and contributed to Hollywood film plots.  In other words, this relatively small painting (30 x 21 inches) has been the inspiration for countless creative endeavors throughout its storied history.





As I was thinking about beginning this blog entry, I was searching for an appropriate image to help me convey what I wanted to address with you – namely how to CONCEPTUALIZE YOUR INSPIRATION .  I had entered my search criteria into the box provided, and the program returned photos of roads, mountains, light bulbs, and finally – one famous face with an enigmatic smile.


In my specific case, I find that inspiration builds on itself when planning a competitive event at work.  Once I have the base concept identified, my mindset is such that inspiration pops up day to day in everyday life.  Example?  Of course you want an example…and I do have one.

“RELENTLESS” was the name of our game in the summer of 2017.  In this instance, I wanted to find a word that would symbolize an undying desire to win, and relentless fit perfectly.  One evening after I’d finished a workout at my local gym, I stopped by the grocery store down the street to pick up a few items for dinner.  As I walked through the store, I came across a display of t-shirts with edgy statements promoting the store I was visiting.  I immediately realized they had partnered with Raygun, a downtown merchant hugely popular in the midwest for there simple yet extremely effective shirt messaging.

The next morning, I emailed Raygun and proposed partnering together on a charity t-shirt for our game of “RELENTLESS”.  We negotiated a price for the tee, and then it was a done deal.  Sales of our charity t-shirt doubled the prior year’s total.  That chance moment in a regular day triggered a creative moment in my head that resonated successfully for the campaign, gave the office a memorable (and unbelievably comfortable) t-shirt to wear on casual Fridays, and fueled my marketing plan for the game.  Win-Win-Win!

relentless t

So, on to the 99 often overlooked places to search for inspiration (in no particular order):

  1. Board Games
  2. Music
  3. Live or Exotic Animals
  4. TV & Movies
  5. Workplace Neighbors
  6. Businesses
  7. Onsite Cafeteria
  8. Companies who offer a unique experience
  9. Family
  10. Workouts
  11. Science
  12. Books
  13. Holidays
  14. Sporting Events
  15. Leaders
  16. Childhood
  17. Computer Apps
  18. Menus
  19. Workplace processes
  20. Store Brands
  21. Toys
  22. Nature
  23. School
  24. History
  25. Pets
  26. Friends
  27. Politics
  28. Transportation
  29. Charity Organizations
  30. Current Events
  31. The Future
  32. Inventions
  33. Strengths & Weaknesses
  34. Twists
  35. Food
  36. The unknown or unexpected
  37. Celebrities
  38. Theatre
  39. Card Games
  40. Geography
  41. Athletes
  42. Education
  43. Games of Chance
  44. Famous Events
  45. Play on names
  46. Seasons
  47. Clothing
  48. Decades
  49. Numbers & Mathematics
  50. Computers
  51. Telephone Numbers
  52. Databases
  53. Grammar
  54. Heights
  55. Secret Codes
  56. Parks
  57. Technology
  58. The Zoo
  59. Restaurants
  60. Police Department
  61. Fire Department
  62. Water
  63. Ice
  64. Fire
  65. Money
  66. Different Cultures
  67. The Alphabet
  68. Talent
  69. Relationships
  70. Work Departments
  71. Local Traditions
  72. Astronomy
  73. Photography
  74. Puzzles
  75. Legends
  76. Generations
  77. Occupations
  78. Magazines
  79. Languages
  80. Precious Stones
  81. Confusion
  82. Changing Rules
  83. Disasters
  84. Mistaken Identity
  85. Art
  86. Quizzes
  87. Finding the Needle in the Haystack (sheer volume)
  88. Statistics
  90. Time Zones
  91. Street Names
  92. Presidents
  93. Candy
  94. Recipes
  95. Graphics (logos, designs, etc.)
  96. Corporate Code of Conduct
  97. Phone Messages
  98. Emotions
  99. Video Clips

Next, take the subject of your inspiration and conceptualize an event or portion of an event around it.


For example, let’s use Music (#2 above) as our source of inspiration.  During an event several years ago, I used song titles as the inspiration for the challenges within the event.  When players arrived that day for the challenge, they discovered a table filled with countless ears of corn, all left in their husks.  The challenge was simple – each team had to run a certain distance, rip the husks off the ear of corn, and then sprint back to the start and place the clean ear in their team’s basket before tagging their next team member to do the same.  We had an incentive/rule that whichever team ended up with the most ears of corn in their basket at the end of the challenge would receive an advantage during the next day’s competition.  We dubbed this challenge “Undo It”, borrowing its title from the popular Carrie Underwood country tune.


The next day rolled around and teams found themselves at a table with steaming ears of corn on a tray.  The number of ears corresponded to the total ears shucked by each team during the prior day’s challenge.  Again, the challenge was simple – one team member was tasked with eating each ear of corn on their tray before they were awarded with a clue to their next task that day.  The “advantage” was that the team who shucked the most ears of corn could trade their tray with any other team in contention.  They naturally chose the team with the fewest ears and sailed through the challenge, leaving the team they traded with 12 ears of corn to consume.  This challenge we called “Down on the Farm”, a takeoff from the Tim McGraw hit single.

Alright, that is enough for this entry, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it.  If you have a moment, please follow me and share my blog with others you feel would benefit from the insights shared.  Thanks!










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