Effective Leadership Article

20 Podcasts That Inspire Creativity (Including FREE Audio Links)

Photo of Malcom Gladwell wearing a shirt and jeans, talking at a seminar room about his notions on leadership.

Creativity generally is believed to ebb and flow depending on various factors. Being creative is highly subjective, and different people are creative in different ways. Still, there are some habits people can indulge in to foster daily creativity. Most creatives have their repertoire of hobbies and activities that they engage in that help them rest and recharge before their next big project. However, there are plenty of creative people that do not necessarily use their imagination in their professional lives. It is easy to forget that daily creativity is just as important as bigger bouts of it, and finding everyday inspiration is essential to maintaining a consistent stream of creative energy.

The perfect new activity to foster daily creativity is listening to podcasts that can kickstart the imagination. Podcasts have been growing in popularity at an extraordinary rate, and cover almost every imaginable topic. Trying to find the perfect podcast to boost creativity can be overwhelming just in terms of the sheer number of possibilities, but there are easier places to start. Our friends at Invaluable have compiled a collection of 20 podcasts that inspire creativity by exploring unfamiliar topics and encouraging new ways of thinking. Here is a list of them and what you can expect to learn from each one:

  1. Optimal Living Daily: This podcast on productivity and lifestyle design is the perfect thing for people looking to follow a minimalist lifestyle while accomplishing their creative goals. Justin Malik reads the best blogs and online content on finance, relationships, business, and more to give his listeners insight to unfamiliar topics and new lifestyles. One of the greatest episodes of this one is “Why Ambitious People Rarely Become Successful by Benjamin Hardy,” and it is full of great, new insight.Infographic of podcast hosted by Justin Malik

  2. Great Women of Business: Seeing as the glass ceiling is a very real problem for plenty of women, knowing what to do as a woman navigating through a sexist corporate structure is incredibly helpful. In this podcast, Vanessa Richardson and Molly Brandenburg explore inspiring stories from various businesswomen who broke through the glass ceiling and made their way to success. A notable episode of this podcast is “Coco Chanel – ‘The Art of Branding’,” which contains a truly inspiring story and many takeaways from a popular brand that almost everyone has heard of. Infographic of podcast hosted by Vanessa Richardson & Molly Brandenberg

  3. The Design of Business | The Business of Design: Design is used in almost every part of a business, even when it isn’t obvious. Everything, from the office a business works out of to the documents used to conduct everyday affairs, involves design. This podcast, hosted by Jessica Helfand and Michael Bierut explores how design is used within businesses and can actually impact products and ideas in both direct and indirect ways. The episode “Giorgia Lupi” features a unique look into information design and research that is sure to get some creative wheels turning. Infographic of podcast hosted by Jessica Helfand & Michael Beirut

  4. Invisible Office Hours: Many creatives have unconventional careers that pose unique problems that are often not discussed or even brought up at all when talking about professions at large. Paul Jarvis and Jason Zook use this podcast as a platform to discuss issues that those with less mainstream careers deal with, and cover topics like positivity, criticism, and selling out. In the episode “Creativity and Commerce,” they look into the origins of the podcast’s tagline and what on earth actually lies at the intersection of these two ideas. Infographic of podcast hosted by Paul Jarvis & Jason Zook

  5. 99% Invisible: It is easy to forget the role that design plays in daily life, from architecture to transport to technology. In this podcast, Roman Mars brings all these elements to the forefront and gives them the attention they deserve. It is the perfect podcast for someone looking to be inspired by the environments they interact with everyday. A fantastic episode of this is “Accidental Music of Imperfect Escalators,” in which the conversation centers around Washington’s old Metro escalators and the various sounds they make in tandem with one another to result in the perfect harmonic representation of life in the city. Infographic of podcast hosted by Roman Mars

  6. Creative Waffle: The perfect podcast for those with short bursts of free time, these short episodes feature various designers, artists, and creatives sharing their stories, musings, and advice about design. Hosted by Mark Hirons, the lessons from this podcast are applicable to all sorts of creative fields and can be used both in professional settings as well as in everyday life. The episode self-descriptively titled “Lisa Quine – Hand Lettering, murals, and day jobs” offers a look into areas of art and design that are not often thought of in everyday life but still impact it. Infographic of podcast hosted by Mark Hirons

  7. Design Matters With Debbie Millman: Considered one of the first podcasts on design, this one is an interesting look into the way designers operate in their everyday lives and how their work affects their lifestyle. The concepts of design as applied to daily life take on a whole new meaning in these hour-long conversations with incredible designers. The episode “Stefan Sagmeister” features the designer talking through being away from his design practice and the making of his then new documentary film. Infographic of podcast hosted by Debbie Milman

  8. CreativeMornings: There is nothing like a inspirational start to the day to truly get any creative in the mood to excel, and this breakfast lecture series is the perfect way to jumpstart creativity. Hosted by Matt Olin, this podcast shares incredible archived talks on all things creative. One of the most remarkable episodes is “Simon Sinek,” in which the man himself talks through how jobs should be fulfilling and enjoyable and how businesses can creatively and effectively support their employees. Infographic of podcast hosted by Matt Olin

  9. Myths and Legends: Plenty of creative endeavors are inspired by folklore and stories shared within cultures, and this Jason Weiser covers a wide variety of them in this mystical podcast. From the well-known to the obscure, there is a lot to draw inspiration from within these old tales. The episode “Greek Mythology: An Eternal Flame” features myths that most people are familiar with and once again brings them under scrutiny so they reveal even more interesting secrets. Infographic of podcast hosted by Jason Weiser

  10. Bookworm: Perfect for creatives within literary fields, this podcast provides plenty of fodder for ideas in the form of thought-provoking conversations between Michael Silverblatt and best-selling authors and thought leaders in the literary industry. A notable episode is “Isabel Allende: In the Midst of Winter,” in which the author discusses trust, poetic justice, and the nature of problems and the kind of solutions that people often come across in their struggles. Infographic of podcast hosted by Michael Silverblatt

  11. Song Exploder: The process of making songs is something that not a lot of people know or even think about, which is strange for how much music is consumed everyday. In this podcast, Hrishikesh Hirway brings in musicians who discuss the details of how their songs are made. It is the perfect way to gain some inspiration into the workflows of truly successful and inspirational people. A great episode to start off with is “Lin-Manuel Miranda – Almost Like Praying (feat. Artists for Puerto Rico),” which features the singer-songwriter talking through how he crafts some of the most popular songs from recent years. Infographic of podcast hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway

  12. Invisiblia: A fantastic podcast from NPR, this one combines science and storytelling to explore and explain how some unseen things shape our worldviews and actions. Hosted by Alex Spiegel, Hanna Rosin, and Lulu Miller, these episodes cover a variety of everyday phenomena and explain them in a way that enables every listener to truly make sense out of them. The enigmatic title of the episode “Emotions” is the only confusing thing about it; within the episode, the hosts talk about the nature of emotions and the forces that shape them everyday. Infographic of podcast hosted by Alex Spiegel, Hanna Rosin & Lulu Miller

  13. Revisionist History: History is full of things overlooked and misunderstood, and Malcolm Gladwell revisits them and questions common assumptions that society takes for granted. This podcast fosters a new way of thinking and proves, again and again, that there is always more to discover even when it feels like history has been wrung dry. The episode “The Lady Vanishes” brings forth one of the forgotten figures in art history and the effects of the entry of women into spaces dominated by men. Infographic of podcast hosted by Malcolm Gladwell

  14. The Unmistakable Creative Podcast: Nobody knows more about daily creativity than seasoned creatives, and this podcast is chock-full of insight and advice from artists, entrepreneurs, authors, and researchers. Srinivas Rao makes the most out of every episode and provides plenty of content to spark creativity in every listener. Brimming with lessons and advice, the episode “Best of: Connecting with Your Voice to Create Work that Matters with Brad Montague” is a great place to begin listening to this podcast. Infographic of podcast hosted by Srinivas Rao

  15. TED Radio Hour: There is no limit to different ways of thinking and creating, and this podcast, hosted by Guy Raz, explores the emotions and experiences that make up the human experience. In the episode “What is Beauty?” he discusses the nature of beauty, the societal implications, and what is at the core of this extremely broad concept. Infographic of podcast hosted by Guy Raz

  16. The Moment: This is the ideal podcast for those interested in the television and film industry, as there is always inspiration to be drawn from the experiences of filmmakers. Brian Koppelman talks to various influential creators about the impactful moments in their lives that shaped their careers and lives. The episode “Judd Apatow on Filmmaking Mentorship and What Fuels His Work” features a seasoned filmmaker and his motivations and beliefs about the filmmaking industry. Infographic of podcast hosted by Brian Koppelman

  17. Drawn: The Story of Animation: A collaboration between HowStuffWorks and Cartoon Network, this podcast consists of interviews with animators and show creators to discuss animations from an insider’s perspective. The host, Holly Frey, brings up topics and voices observations that pique interest and foster curiosity. A great jumping off point is the episode “How Cartoons Get Made” which covers the process in broad strokes to better enable more understanding when talking about the specifics. Infographic of podcast hosted by Holly Frey

  18. Dialogues: The interactions between creatives are incredibly interesting and educational, and in this podcast, David Zwirner brings on two artists in each episode to talk about their creative processes in making their art. There is plenty of inspiration for budding creatives to develop new habits and processes, and maybe even new ways to incorporate their culture in their art. In the episode “Jeff Koons and Luke Syson”, Zwirner brings together a curator and the artist that created one of the most famous pieces of modern art. Infographic of podcast hosted by David Zwirner

  19. Savvy Painter: Creativity isn’t just about the creative, and often also involves some business elements. This podcast, hosted by Antrese Wood, is a must-listen for anyone looking into managing the commercial side of art and the creative process. A great episode that covers all the basics is “How to Crush the Inner Critic, Get Over Perfectionism, and Get Out of Your Own Way So You Can Create Your Best Work.” Infographic of podcast hosted by Antrese Wood

  20. The Go Creative Show: Visual arts come with their own challenges and rewards, and this podcast talks about filmmaking, video, and other art forms. Ben Consoli talks about the tools, challenges, and successes that can be found in the world of visual storytelling, and shares his advice and experiences. The episode “The Science of Storytelling (with Derek Thompson)” is a fantastic look into different ways of telling stories and the importance of finding the right way to tell a tale. Infographic of podcast hosted by Ben Consoli

Podcasts offer a unique way to consume information and relax. The reason they are so popular is because they are mobile. People can listen to podcasts in any environment, whether it is in their car, their home, or even at work. They are accessible on most electronic devices, and are the perfect way to get inspired and refreshed after a long day. They can enhance the imagination by having people imagine events and scenarios instead of presenting them with visuals. People tend to become more open-minded when listening to podcasts, since they encourage new ways of thinking and unconventional perspectives. Often, podcasts can be used to improve certain skills or gather knowledge about someone’s field of work or even find a new hobby, so it definitely broadens people’s horizons. Most people listen to podcasts while doing other things, like driving, working out, typing, and cooking, and so the ability to pay attention to more than one thing at once boosts their multitasking skills.

Listening to podcasts can enrich people’s lives in multiple ways, and can especially help when someone is stuck in a creative rut. Even within this list of 20 podcasts, there is incredible variety and diversity in topics, experiences, and stories, and the world of podcasts is seemingly endless. The only way to get going is to pick one and dive in.

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