Innovation Inspiration from Podcasts

Several colleagues have asked me for podcast recommendations. I listen to many podcasts weekly — while exercising, cooking, cleaning, walking — and I find them to be a tremendous source of information and inspiration, accessible when I need them in an easily-digestible format.

Recommendation #1

If you are looking for help with your creative work, don’t limit yourself to topics about what you are working on. Also listen to podcasts on topics unrelated or tangentially related to your industry. Findings from the study “Integrating Problem Solvers from Analogous Markets in New Product Ideation” suggest that you may find problems if you look elsewhere. Also, some research shows that procrastination can be a good thing for your final product — check out Adam Grant’s perspective. Get your mind going with some podcasts while you think you’re zoning out.

Recommendation #2

Specifically, three podcasts in my queue come to mind when I think of ideation:

  • Innovation Hub: This podcast is the best one I’ve found on the topic of innovation itself. Kara Miller interviews guests across a broad range of topics. Individual segments are released as well as the entire weekly show. I suggest listening to the entire program, as each week maintains a theme, and the topics segue smoothly from one to the next. Listen to it through the website or via iTunes.
  • Radio Lab: One of the most thoughtfully edited and produced podcasts available, Radio Lab surprises listeners in every episode. It’s worth diving into the archive and listening to some past classics from Jad Abumrad & Robert Krulwich such as the Sleep, which explores why we do it, and 9-Volt Nirvana, on “brain zapping” through trans-cranial direct current stimulation (a favorite topic of mine).
  • Note to Self: “The tech show about being human,” is the tagline, and it’s hard to describe it beyond that. In a fascinating, currently-running series, Manoush Zomrodi follows two entrepreneurs as they launch a startup aimed at helping female entrepreneurs while the founders themselves struggle with the very same work-life balance challenges they hope their product will alleviate.

Recommendation #3

Giving recommendations is challenging when it comes to podcasts. I have found that podcasts are a lot like musicians: you might listen to one that you think you should enjoy, but, for some reason, you don’t. This is not because it’s not high quality, it just doesn’t jive with you. If you’re new to podcasts, keep experimenting, just like you should do in life. Eventually you’ll find far too many, and it will be a struggle to find the time to listen to them all.


Do you have a favorite podcast that you’d like to share? Please do!

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