Creativity in event planning

By Kathy Cunningham

Researching the subject of creativity has re-inspired and re-energised me. We are all creative and use creativity every day from solving complex problems to building venues. For the purpose of this blog, I have focused my energy on creativity and events.

Where does creativity come from? I believe that it is everywhere. We see it walking down the street in the colours around us. It is in the sound of waves crashing on the shore. A film, magazine or conversation can spark something. It is in the aroma of fresh coffee and taste of a crunchy yet soft almond croissant. 

In HP’s 1999 Annual Report they published their philosophy for fostering creativity and believe that “You can change the world. Share. Invent different ways of working. Believe that together we can do anything. Invent.” IDEO believe that ‘radical collaboration’ generates creativity and National Geographic knows that inspiration is contagious. 

So, can we be creative all by ourselves? Yes and no. I enjoy a good brainstorm session when trying to get my head around an idea. My favourite time is 4:00 on a Thursday when we can put on Bach or Bruce, open a bottle of wine and throw a bunch a wild ideas on the wall. Then leave it for the morning to review what we really like and can use. If you are the only person trying to be creative, go for a walk, talk to your dog, call your client and ask them to participate in the brainstorm session.

Then, use the five senses when creating an event theme. Think about how the guests feel and what they will experience from the time they receive the invitation to being greeted at the door and walking in to the room. What will the hear, see, taste, touch and smell? 

And, when all else fails go to and watch Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk on nurturing creativity.

Kathy has more than 20 years’ experience in directing successful events in New York as well as New Zealand. She is the founder of Empire Public Relations and facilitates the PRINZ Course ‘Creating Successful Events’. 

The following videos are clippings from Kathy’s recent workshop where she talked about creativity in event planning and got the delgates to present their creative ideas for organising an event for the launch of a New Zealand sparkling wine.

In the video, delegate Benjamin Hemi and team present their venue design…

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