As someone who has listened to one or more podcasts a day for the last five years, it is safe to say that podcasts have shaped the way I approach my work. Podcasts are a free and powerful way to tap into the mindset of individuals I admire and want to emulate. I turn to them when I need inspiration, a deeper understanding of a niche market, motivation, or general intellectual stimulation. They are a wonderful way to make seemingly mindless activities such as driving, cleaning, walking, running, etc. substantial learning experiences.
Considering the sheer amount of podcasts available and the medium’s rapid growth in popularity, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. To get you started, I have included a list of shows that have impacted my creativity and also appeal to a broad audience.
Podcasts for Boosting Creativity
- TED Radio Hour– Gives a narrative journey of TED talks oriented around a particular theme or idea. It’s great for inspiration and general food for thought.
- Hidden Brain– Explores the science behind human behavior and beliefs
- The Tim Ferriss Show– Interviews with topnotch performers, thought leaders, writers, creatives, athletes, business leaders, etc. Tim deconstructs his guests’ advice into basic tools and tactics listeners can use.
- The Documentary Podcast by the BBC– BBC reporters investigate global affairs, issues, and developments. They create a storyline through interviews of subjects most affected by the show topic. This is a great show to gain a broad perspective of the world and empathy for those you may not initially understand.
- Design Matters– Debbie Millman interviews well-known creatives about their careers and how they designed their lives.
Take note that only one of the listed shows specifically is about design. I intentionally do not listen to design related podcasts alone because I believe the best designers need to have an arsenal of ideas relevant to a wide range of audiences at their disposal.
A successful design is a solution that can evoke emotion, empathy, connection, and/or resonance through the use of form and function. One of the best ways to create such experiences is for the designer to continuously expand his or her horizons and listen closely to thought leaders found in the podcast world.
To address your creativity, listen to a variety of podcasts and try implementing some of the various topics into your work. For example, if you are a creative director and you are working on a rebranding project for a hospital, you want to find podcasts that are relevant to your project (ex: podcasts about the patient experience), connect you to unique insights (ex: a podcast about the psychology of color), and discuss a broad or universal theme (ex: a show about gratitude, compassion, vulnerability, etc ). Listen to these shows a few days leading up to your project, during a break, on your commute, etc. Eventually, these ideas will solidify in your mind and it will be natural to apply elements of the shows to your work. The combination of such ideas can lead to an original project that incorporates intellectual insights and universal themes that will resonate with your target audience.
Bonus: Honorable Mentions
The following are a few of my personal favorites that I have consistently enjoyed over the years, but they appeal to more niche audiences.
- Girlboss Radio- Sophia Amoruso interviews ambitious women in business and extracts advice for her listeners. This show is geared towards college educated females approximately ages 20 through 35 interested in business.
- The Rich Roll Podcast- Rich Roll interviews leaders in the world of health and self-improvement. I love his show because my creativity and productivity directly correlate with my health and overall well-being. This show is geared towards those with an interest in nutrition, wellness, running, and/or spirituality.
- Smart Women, Smart Power- This podcast includes interviews of leading women in the corporate, government, and national security world discussing international issues.
- The Clark Howard Show- Clark Howard gives great financial advice in a manner that is easy to digest and understand. Feeling financially secure directly impacts my ability to come up with creative ideas.
- Stuff You Should Know- This is a great show for exploring random topics you probably have never thought about.
- The School of Greatness- Lewis Howes interviews successful business leaders, athletes, and writers. He distills their advice into important themes and life lessons for listeners.