The Summer Media List for Innovators and Design Thinkers

Customer & Market Insights

There’s no shortage of great ideas.

I read an article a few months back that made the bold assertion that we are in a new golden age of television. Of course, the word television was being used in its more modern sense, including programming created and distributed by over-the-top providers like Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Netfllix and Youtube. Ultimately, the argument posited recognized that attaining a high degree of success in a fractured media landscape requires content that is both high quality and original.

The good news is that a cursory review of the entertainment landscape seems to support that argument. The better news is that the same holds true when it comes to media created about innovation and design. There’s an amazing amount of inspiring content being developed and distributed on the topics of innovation and design—much of it available free of charge! Let’s take a look at the tip of this great educational iceberg.

Listen: The Data Skeptic (Kyle Polich)

To paraphrase something Albert Einstein once said, “If you cannot explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it well enough yourself.” Data Skeptic is a podcast about data science, machine learning and AI, et al, that makes this complex, highly technical subject matter highly accessible. The show is hosted by Kyle Polich and Linh Da Tran and succeeds in clearly explaining high level concepts in data science in an entertaining way. You can find the episodes at their website and on iTunes.

Read: Change by Design (Tim Brown)

Change by Design is a design thinking classic. Brown’s exposition on the value of the design thinking process developed at Ideo moves beyond its use in product and service creation and offers insights into how the approach can have a positive impact on businesses as a whole. The book is rich with detailed examples and anecdotes (some which have held up less well under the ravages of time).

Listen: a16z (Andresen Horowitz)

You can accuse internet pioneer Marc Andresen of many things, however, not having an opinion is not one of them. The a16z podcast tackles (as described on iTunes) tech and culture trends, news, and the future—especially as ‘software eats the world’. From industry experts to business leaders, every episode will teach you something and make you think differently, for better or worse.

Watch: Exit through the gift shop. (Banksy)

This documentary film, created by notorious/infamous street artist Banksy is pure genius. It’s both a treatise on the democratization of culture as well as a manual on the subversion of institutions, not to mention an amazing case study on the power of positioning and messaging. There are innumerable peelable layers in this presentation of the story of “Mr. Brainwash,” ostensibly a video-camera-obsessed owner of a second-hand clothing store in Los Angeles and his accidental journey to darling of the art community. It’s available on all major streaming video services.

Listen: 99% invisible (Roman Mars)

The title of this podcast is a reference to “all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about.” Topics range from the history and design of Barcelona’s La Saragda Familia cathedral to the near irrational affinity some patrons had for the unique patterned carpets at the Portland airport. It’s one of those media experiences that surpass any expectations the summary descriptions might offer. If you are among the 1% who tends to think about and notice design, you’ll love (and learn a lot from) this podcast.

Bonus listen: Song Exploder (Hrishikesh Hirway)

If most people don’t think about how the objects around them come into being through design, even fewer probably think about how the music we hear on the radio, streaming or in movie and television soundtracks moves from inspiration to completed recording. Song Exploder, as it’s described on the website, is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. And, admittedly, I find it a fascinating glimpse into a design process most never get to see.

Sit back, relax, and you just might learn something.

This is indeed the golden age of media, when anyone can learn just about anything from any number of experts. Hopefully, we’ve helped sift through a bit of the noise so you can learn something valuable, about topics you care about, from the next in the business. So, now, load up the mobile device and plan your next road trip!


Magnani is an experience design and strategy firm that crafts transformational digital experiences to delight users and deliver sustainable competitive market advantages for our clients.


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