Sally’s inspired by a creative method & family insight


Who’s your inspiration?

Parents, teachers, celebrities, sports personalities, politicians, family, friends the list is endless.

My history teacher is one of mine, I hated the subject at school, but now as I grow older I remember snippets of what he taught us and I reminisce wondering why I didn’t absorb every bit of knowledge he had to share with us back then?

I don’t think I could teach, alongside a real passion for the subject you must need a massive commitment to making a difference – To inspiring, motivating and shaping the future generation… if only students could take a glimpse into the future and then go back I’m sure things would be very different.

Recently we’ve worked on a schools collaboration project. Looking at a digital platform created to enthuse an uninterested generation to read more. We stepped into the shoes of the respondents and talked in their language through social media.

Traditional methods just didn’t cut it with these guys! Only once we showed them the power of poetry, rap and public performance of letters did we really engage and learn how passionate they could be about all things written they clicked and realised it doesn’t just have to be a physical book that you read to enjoy language. If you know of a reluctant reader show them George the Poet on YouTube you’ll be amazed at their response!

My children are another source of creativeness for me, always craving knowledge and guidance whilst testing their boundaries and developing their thoughts and beliefs. I sit down with my 7-year-old son each night before bed to read another chapter in his book, this week its Boy by Roald Dahl. We’ve just started a new chapter.

Every now and then, a plain grey cardboard box was dished out to each boy in our House, and this, believe it or not, was a present from the great chocolate manufacturers, Cadbury. Inside the box there were twelve bars of chocolate, all of different shapes, all with different fillings and all with numbers from one to twelve stamped on the chocolate underneath. Eleven of these bars were new inventions from the factory. The twelfth was the control bar, one that we all knew well, usually a Cadbury’s Coffee Cream bar. Also in the box was a sheet of paper with the numbers one to twelve on it as well as two blank columns, one for giving marks to each chocolate from nought to ten, and the other for comments.

It made me smile, even in the 1930’s market research was being conducted! But I was intrigued with how Roald Dahl continued.

For me, the importance of all this was that I began to realize that the large chocolate companies actually did possess inventing rooms and they took their inventing very seriously.

His craving became obvious throughout the chapter – he was fantasising of being a chocolate inventor, of creating something that Mr Cadbury himself would commend him for. Roald Dahl wrote openly about wanting recognition for his achievements and although we all know that Roald Dahl didn’t become a chocolate inventor per se, he was inspired by this childhood situation and the physical memory of it.

“I have no doubt at all that, thirty five years later, when I was looking for a plot for my second book for children, I remembered those little cardboard boxes and the newly invented chocolates inside them, and I began to write a book called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory¬Ě

So in answer to my original question, Who is your inspiration? : I suppose I haven’t found just one single person but for me a mixing bowl of people with Roald Dahl being right there amongst them too. I wonder who and what is going to inspire my children and I wonder if Cadbury’s ever knew that market research project would go on to inspire one little boy at Repton Public School and one of the most magical children’s stories of all time.

Sally Ross, Director, Oxy Insight.