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131: Inspiration and Digital Media with Reilly Stephens of Pinterest

Updated: Dec 13, 2023



Before each new semester begins, I take a step back to see the big-picture view of my upcoming courses for the semester. For courses I’ve taught before, I assess: What worked? What should be changed? I find this analysis always fills me with inspiration and the motivation I need to propel my work forward.


In reviewing my Interdisciplinary Innovation course, a gap presented itself in the week-by-week schedule and I needed to find a new topic to fill the gap. I typically keep a centralized document that I’m continually adding ideas to when I feel inspired so that I can look back and benefit from my former moments of inspiration. And here’s the cool thing that happened this time: the course lends itself well to talking about this big concept of ‘inspiration’... so I was inspired by inspiration, facilitated by a previous inspired moment.


The Interdisciplinary Innovation course is all about communicating, working in teams of diverse individuals and ultimately elevating one another’s ideas into innovative new realms. Communication (talking and listening) is a conduit – a gateway – for inspiration. Working in an interdisciplinary team requires coming up with new ideas all the time and supporting the creative process of one another, part of which is encouraging inspiration. Innovation happens when curiosity meets inspiration meets hard work. Inspiration is an important step in the process of innovating.


One thing led to another, that led to another and before I knew it I had mapped out a 3-hour class devoted to this mysterious and often elusive topic of ‘inspiration’. First was a guest speaker from Pinterest on the topic of the intersection of digital media and inspiration. The second part of the class was devoted to a conversation about where inspiration comes from and individuals’ experiences with it. The third and final part of the class was a hands-on inspiration workshop where we tested out ways to make magic happen.


While we only scratched the surface of this big topic in class, so many incredible insights were gained that I felt inspired to create this three-part mini series that mirrors the in-class experience.


In this first episode, I sit down for a conversation with Reilly Stephens, Creative Strategist at Pinterest, who we had the pleasure of hosting in class a few weeks ago. Reilly has an unrivalled finger on the pulse of all things culture. She leverages her understanding of industry trends, technology and branding to help advertisers devise game-changing marketing strategies. Reilly has worked at agencies such as Sid Lee and Vice Media and been an integral part of national campaign launches for brands and retailers including Coca Cola, General Mills, Ford, Google and lululemon. She has also contributed to CBC radio, giving her perspective on the latest in retail and commerce. Her thinking has also been featured in publications like Bloomberg Business and the Retail is Your Business podcast.


Class is about to start! Let’s get into today’s conversation with guest Reilly Stephens.





About Our Guest:

Reilly has an unrivalled finger on the pulse of all things culture. As a Creative Strategist at Pinterest she leverages her understanding of industry trends, technology and branding to help advertisers devise game-changing marketing strategies. With over 10 years of experience, Reilly has worked at agencies such as Sid Lee and Vice Media and been an integral part of national campaign launches for brands and retailers including Coca Cola, General Mills, Ford, Google and lululemon. She spent 5 years as Director of Insights at Retail Prophet, a global retail consultancy and delivered keynotes on generational marketing and the future of e-commerce to global organizations such as Saje, Aldo, L Brands and Canada Goose. She has also contributed to CBC radio, giving her perspective on the latest in retail and commerce. Her thinking has also been featured in publications like Bloomberg Business and the Retail is Your Business podcast.




Music: Poor, But Happy by HoliznaCC0 is licensed under a CC0 1.0 Universal License


Sound Effect (school bell): https://freesound.org/s/378394/


Talk Paper Scissors Theme Music: Retro Quirky Upbeat Funk by Lewis Sound Production via Audio Jungle


Boat Origami Photo: Boat Origami Photo by Alex on Unsplash


Episode Artwork: Canva

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