How to Use Conversation to Leverage Change
Change and innovation cannot take root or even begin without conversation; learning how to open effective discord is key. However, many voices still aren’t heard in our current society. The guests featured in these episodes of Track Two Podcast really value communication and throughout their careers have experimented with how to communicate best. In these episodes, they share their stories, highlighting how their efforts have worked to shape a more equitable society, bringing people to the conversations that affect them.
‘Let’s Talk About Social Innovation’ with Branka Anđelković
In this episode, cohosts Sarah Gerber and Joanne Gouaux talk to Branka Anđelković, the cofounder and program director of the Public Policy Research Center, a Serbian think tank. The conversation centers around Anđelković’s inspirations and her experiences with innovation and entrepreneurship.
Innovation is constantly evolving, and for one to keep up, one must listen to different perspectives with an open mind. As Anđelković says, “innovation, the future of work, remote work—this is already a history. We are probably going to talk about new things in a year’s time.” Anđelković’s statement rings true when applied under broader terms as well. However, Gerber and Gouaux examined this statement under the lens of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship revolves around finding original solutions for current problems. “Entrepreneurship is not only about economic models, but it is also really about the state of mind,” Anđelković says. As Anđelković describes, being a successful entrepreneur asks for more than optimizing economic models—the entire structure on which these models are built must be recreated. Asking entrepreneurship to be thought of as a mental problem rather than a number-based one speaks to the flexibility and complexity of the task and spotlights the importance of human characteristics in order for prosperity.
‘Igniting Meaningful Conversations’ with Fred Dust
Fred Dust was a senior partner and global managing director at IDEO; he serves on multiple boards, including Sundance, NPR and The New School, to name a few. Dust is also an author, most recently having published Making Conversation: Seven Essential Elements of Meaningful Communication. Dust’s philanthropic journey began with his father’s charity dinners, and in conjunction with his grandmother’s love for storytelling, Dust found his passion in facilitating meaningful conversations.
“I think there are people who are really good at listening to the world. And it’s about how do you use creativity and imagination and joy and bring that to the hardest conversations in your life?” Dust has highlighted the power of communication, and how it can create physical change in communities. The conversation is always shifting, but as long as communication is kept open, there is space for new ideas and growth.
‘Philanthropy Through Radio’ with Ken Ikeda
Ken Ikeda is a serial entrepreneur and the current CEO of the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR). He became interested in AIR because of the power storytelling through spoken word holds. As Ikeda brings up, “the power of stories is never diminished…I was drawn to audio because the best stories win. The person who tells the best stories runs the room, right? Movements are compelled by stories.” Ever since his high school days, when he was asked to record interviews for a philanthropic cause, Ikeda has appreciated the power of audio. Now with AIR, he can reach a greater audience, they can see logistically how and where the change is happening, and further the power of audio, while spreading the messages of leaders as well as the underdogs. It is individuals, not corporations, that incentivize sustainable philanthropy, and it is these people Ikeda aims to highlight.
‘Golden Age of Writing’ with Grant Faulkner
In this episode, Gerber and Gouaux talk to Grant Faulkner, an author and executive director of National Novel Writing Month. Faulkner stresses the power of stories, the conversations they create and how these conversations lead to change. His books, Brave the Page, All the Comfort Sin Can Provide, Fissures: One Hundred 100-Word Stories, and most recently Pep Talk for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo, cover these topics. This podcast episode talks about how writing can be used to further philanthropy. For example, Faulkner worked with a nonprofit organization, the National Writing Project, to improve the teaching of writing in schools. “We are living in the golden age of writing because everyone is essentially a writer,” Faulkner says. Writing is a beautiful way to express ideas, and its popularity and accessibility should be taken advantage of, which Faulkner did through his work in education and continues with National Novel Writing Month.