The podcasts we listen to

As design researchers, podcasts are one of our go-to sources for inspiration and empathy-building. A podcast makes you delve into very particular narratives, anecdotes, and insights in a very down-to-earth way. We love how informal and conversational this medium can be, it offers a unique way to step into people’s shoes. Here are some of the podcasts that are currently captivating the Stby team. From insightful conversations to groundbreaking ideas, these podcasts have fuelled our curiosity and shaped our perspectives. Happy listening!

What Sophie listens to: “Unexplainable by Vox

“I get a lot of joy from listening to “Unexplainable by Vox”. It’s a science podcast about everything that we don’t know and stems from that feeling when you think you understand something but you realise there is just so much more to it and you understand much less than you thought. There are many things that we think we know a lot about, for example, ‘knowing exactly how the nose works, what is going on deep inside the earth or why a ball of lightning might just appear in your kitchen’. This podcast pushes listeners to become comfortable with welcoming uncertainty and leaving with more questions than answers, all as a way to open up fascinating new worlds and gain new perspectives.”

What Bas listens to: “Have your heard George’s podcast?“

“Have you heard George’s podcast” is beautifully made by George the Poet, with an original score by Benbrick, recorded with the BBC Concert Orchestra. But the content is what impresses most: a much needed addition to dominantly white perspectives on the world in the mainstream media and school history lessons from a black Brit with roots in Uganda. The history of colonialism? Black music? The voices in George’s head? Global politics? Deconstructing poverty? George the Poet has got you covered, in rhyme. But he humbly says his podcast is simply about what’s going on in his life and community.”

What Paulien listens to: “Kunststof”

“Kunststof” is a one-on-one talk show with diverse prominent Dutch figures from art, culture and media. I like it because it gives you a backstage perspective of how they get inspired to create and how they deal with being in the spotlight. The presenters are all very well prepared, which ensures special, warm and honest conversation.”

What Ed listens to: “Lex Fridman Podcast

“The “Lex Fridman Podcast” takes listeners on a captivating journey into the minds of some of the brightest and most thought-provoking individuals from various fields. Hosted by Lex Fridman, an AI researcher at MIT, each episode offers a unique blend of insights, humour, and genuine curiosity. With a balance of logical rigour and creativity, Fridman fearlessly explores a variety of topics. One standout episode features Yuval Noah Harari, renowned author of ‘Sapiens,’ as he delves into human history and future prospects. This particular discussion serves as a masterclass on intelligence, power dynamics, and conspiracy theories, offering profound insights into the trajectory of humanity. For anyone grappling with existential questions, this episode is a must-listen, providing compelling perspectives on where we may be headed as a species.”

What Jeanne listens to: “Service Design YAP”

“YAP is a fresh and frank podcast hosted by the SDN UK (Service Design Network). Each episode profiles a community member, their career story and ‘Service design war’ stories. I particularly enjoyed the episode with Jenny Winfield, design researcher focusing on taboos and trauma. It made me reflect on my own practice, the way I try to build deep empathy with research participants and the tools I could use to tailor research to sensitive topics. She shared how she applies her learning in her favourite project where she reimagine the way we deal with death – who knew that death doulas existed?”

What Qin listens to: “The Hidden Girl and Other Stories”

“I don’t really listen to podcasts, instead I listen to audiobooks on my commutes. My current favourite is this sci-fi book by Ken Liu. He is an American Chinese author and his work explores cross-cultural identity conflicts/confusions in a sci-fi setting. It’s really tense, and sometimes dark, but also refreshing to see how cultural elements and different ways of thinking play out in imagined future scenarios and with speculated technology possibilities. After all, aliens are only reflections of our own view of other human beings, and it makes me reflect on my own cross-cultural experience and identify from a new perspective as well.”

What Katy listens to: “Unlocking Us with Brené Brown”

“Unlocking Us” is a podcast hosted by researcher, professor, author, and storyteller Brené Brown, known for her work on vulnerability, shame, courage and emotions. Unfortunately, she is no longer publishing podcasts, but there is a treasure trove of two years of incredible content to listen (or relisten) to. I like this podcast because in every episode I learn something new about myself and/or the world and people around me, and I appreciate how each conversation feels genuine and connected.”

This year, we also took our first steps into creating podcasts, our colleagues Qin and Paulien have recorded a podcast wherein they share their personal experiences with taking on some of the roles. We titled the podcast ‘Discovery Dialogue’. This is the first episode, and more may follow. You can listen to the podcast here.