In a year of isolation, podcasts offered us all a chance to connect with inspiring stories, people and conversations that matter. And there were so many good interviews offering deep dives into fascinating topics. Given what Box of Crayons does, it’s unsurprising that the following list of interviews focuses on organizational learning and development. We were drawn to conversations about innovation, connection, curiosity and growth.

Here’s a look at our top five podcast episodes from 2020:

1Curiosity and Killing Your Company with Lisa Bodell, CEO of FutureThink 

The Curious Advantage Podcast, hosted by Paul Ashcroft, Simon Brown and Garrick Jones. 

Why we love it: Companies that will succeed in the future are the ones that build power skills, like curiosity. We love how Bodell distinguishes between being curious and causing conflict. Box of Crayons distinguishes between Troublemaker and Changemaker curiosity. The troublemaker tendency is counterproductive in an organization, whereas curiosity Changemakers ask questions, allowing us to challenge our assumptions and get to the real problem.

2How to Build a Coaching Culture with Andrea Wanerstrand, lead of Worldwide Learning at Microsoft 

Coaching for Leaders Podcast, hosted by Dave Stachowiak.

Why we love it: We’re slightly biased because Microsoft is our partner, but we love the way Wanerstrand speaks about coaching as a capability. “We’re not asking managers and leaders to become professional coaches, it’s simply a matter of showing up more coach-like and choosing the right conversation technique for a situation and coming in with curiosity, to reach their full potential.” When an organization prioritizes curiosity, they empower individuals and teams and unlock innovation and resilience.

3Necessary Replay: How to Be the Change You Want to See at Work with Stephanie Ghoston Paul, founder of Cultivated Sense

The Diversity Gap Podcast, hosted by Bethaney Wilkinson.

Why we love it: Ghoston Paul works with companies who want to embed diversity, equity and inclusion principles into their organizational cultures for long-term, sustainable change. We love that this interview highlights both the personal and leadership work that must be done for change efforts to be successful. It’s no secret that diversity fosters innovation. At Box of Crayons, we think an open and curious mindset creates the space that gives voice to diverse perspectives, approaches and experiences. 

4Curiosity, Generosity, and the Hedgehog with Jim Collins, author of BE 2.0 and Good to Great

Dare to Lead Podcast, hosted by Brené Brown.

Why we love it: What’s the theme of your life and work? Are you living up to your values? In this in-depth conversation, Collins reflects on his two essential values of curiosity and relationships — and how these inform his behaviour in the world. And it explores some of the key ideas from his books. This interview is well worth your time. Trust us, you’ll want to learn why hedgehogs feature in it!

5Unleash Curiosity with Dr. Shannon Minifie, CEO of Box of Crayons 

We Will Get Through This Podcast, hosted by Michael Bungay Stanier.

Why we love it: Needless to say, this made our top five list because it expresses how we’re all in on curiosity at Box of Crayons. Dr. Minifie beautifully articulates that curiosity is “a starting point or necessary condition for a variety of other capabilities or outcomes,” such as empathy, innovation, connection, learning and resilience.

6Honourable mention: The Fearless Organization with Dr. Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business School

The Bregman Leadership Podcast, hosted by Peter Bregman.

Why we love it: While this interview is actually from 2019, we shared it with our LinkedIn community in 2020 and it was one of our most popular posts of the year. We think it resonated because COVID-19 amplified our need to feel safe in our places of work. In order for organizations to pivot effectively in the face of crises, diverse voices and ideas need to be heard. When leaders ask questions, they demonstrate their curiosity and nurture the psychological safety necessary for innovation to happen.

Which podcast episodes from 2020 you would recommend? We’d love to hear from you. Share below ~

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