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Podcast Guesting Pro founder Graham Brown joins podcast host Susan Lindner on "Innovation Storytellers" podcast to discuss defeating innovation bias through story-listening. The following is a transcript of their conversation. For more tips on podcast guesting success, go to our podcast guesting resources.

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Susan Lindner 00:01 

Great innovation stories make change possible. Each week on the innovation storytellers podcast I invite innovation leaders to share how they overcame the obstacles to introduce breakthrough ideas to the world through the power of story. I'm featuring guests from Tesla, TD Ameritrade, Corning, Cisco, Bloomberg, and so many more. Listen in to learn how you can tell a more effective innovation story and change the future for the better. 

Welcome back, I'm Susan Lindner. I'm your host of innovation storytellers. And today I've invited another fellow storyteller to join me in this discussion around innovation and getting your point across to the audiences that really need to hear your message. I'm joined today by Graham Brown, who is the founder and CEO of Pikkal and Co, and an award winning podcast agency that is AI powered, data driven and B2B focused in its clientele, and is based in Singapore. He is a published author on the subject of the digital transformation of communication. Works including the human communication playbook, the mobile youth voices of a connected generation and which he documents the rise of mobile culture in the early 2000s in Japan, China, Africa, and India, and also brand love how to build a brand worth talking about.

Susan Lindner 01:33 

So we're gonna be talking about all of those beautiful things in addition to Graham's fantastic background in telecom, in the 2000s. So for any of you too young to remember the advents and the giant shift going from, you know, that phone that lived on your grandmother's wall with a dial, or maybe some buttons, if you were lucky. My house, we still have dial on our phones, but it was a massive, massive shift taking place. And I wanna, I wanna talk about that. So let's get into it. Graham, welcome to innovation storytellers. 

Graham Brown 02:09 

Hey Susan, it's great to be here. I'm excited. Look good, warm up as well. 

Susan Lindner 02:15

Well, thank you. And you know, this conversation that I like to have with other communicators never begins with where we are in this moment. There is a foundation of  why this became so relevant for each of us. I know, my listeners know that, you know, my desire to tell a great story was all about helping women shift from prostitution to entrepreneurship in the brothels of Thailand in the 90s. That's where I found the power of storytelling to really transform lives but, it sounds like you identified the power of story and really listening to your customer, really listening to groups and audiences. When you were talking about this convergence of big telecom. and gen Z youth like that, these two things were really colliding in the early 2000s. And you were watching it all unfold. So tell us about a, how you got into that because nobody majors in this topic when they're in university, number one and number two, what did you see when that cataclysm was happening? 

Graham Brown 03:23 

So how did I get, you're right, I didn't graduate with Mobile youth degree, I graduated actually in 95. I graduated with a degree in AI, which was completely useless back then in 95. I mean, fast forward to today, next century, I would be sort of picking out jobs in Google and meta, but back then, I think the only options were you could go into maybe MIT and teach if you knew somebody. And that was it. So with my AI degree, they gave me one option, which was teach English in Japan. And so I took it and, you know, the requirement actually was Do you speak English? So I thought, yeah, I can do that. Was this a jet program? No, I, I applied to the jet program and I applied to like private schools as well. There were like a lot of private jet was sort of the government run program, but the, you know, it was all sort of very much, depending on, you know, we want to have a blonde head guy and sort of north Tokyo and I didn't sort of fit into that you know, the box filling matrix that they had. So I got a start with a private school, had like large national chain, got my passport to Japan because Japan in 95 and we talk about innovation was still it, you know, you're talking Sony, Toshiba, TDK, you know, there's 120, 180 types, all those kind of things. It was still, you know, CDs, MDs, it was still very innovative. So. Cut along the story short at the time I was in Japan, 95 to 96 to 98, the mobile phone industry was really taking off and ahead of the world and Japan had the advantage because it, it was a very consensual and its approach to innovation, as opposed to, you know, the more sort of Western models, which are more diverse. The fact, if you have the sort of very top down model of innovation, you can force innovation through very fast, but it's very inflexible long term. So they got it. They got products out fast. You know, NTT Docomo was a world leader in mobile internet. One of the first to have mobile payments in 98, they had like an app store way beyond, apple in terms of their sort of innovation tech. You know their capabilities, but what was really interesting in all of this is, you know, I was teaching kids. I was teaching teenagers as well as a few sort of older businessmen. And I was witnessed teenagers. I'm talking girls 13, 14, 15, come to class initially bringing in these little, what they call PA bell pocket bells. What did that? They were like little pages, like pink pages, but they were like, you know, their dad's pages initially. And they started painting them. And I was like, curious, like, why are you carrying a page? Why do you need a pager? Right. It 13, 14 . And one thing I learned is like how they were corrupting these technology. So what they were doing, because the original pages, you couldn't send text. So you could only type numbers in the old days, like 95, 96. 

Susan Lindner 06:30 

Oh, I, they used that. That was it. Just grand piece of technology and epidemiologist working for the centers for disease control in New York city.

Graham Brown 06:37

There you go. It was, it was medical professionals who had them. Right. And you had a good reason cuz you were on call. But, you know, for kids to have them, it was just strange. But I, I kind of discovered that they were, they were creating these languages. So for example, if they said, you know, I wanna meet you at Shibuya, which is a, sort of a big meeting place in Tokyo. They would type in like the numbers Shibuya, and then a time. So I'd see you at Shibuya at 7 30. And so they were, they created the first versions of text speak in like 96, 97. And there were lots of stories about how young people were like positively or corrupting technologies to make them better. And we've seen this obviously with MP3s, file sharing, social media music, et cetera, et cetera, later on. But that really inspired me. When I came back to London in the late 90s, looking for a start of my own business. I thought the only thing I really know is what's going on over there and I've seen this opportunity. So that's where I got my start, was knocking on the doors, literally a mobile phone company saying I've seen the future and they all said to me, we don't do kids.

Susan Lindner 07:48

Little did they know? Right. It would come the, the biggest part of their revenue and the driver of their own innovation in the next two decades to come. 

Graham Brown 07:57

Absolutely. Well, you go, you know, if you look at the advertising in the late nineties, it was all aimed at road warriors, men middle-aged. And you know, it was like carrying the big phones, the big chunky things that you mentioned. And, you know, that was the focus cuz they were the high paid individuals. Nobody, even if you look, you know, text messaging, which has generated over a trillion dollars of revenue for the mobile phone industry, trillion dollars, you know, that was first included in the mobile phone protocol, GSM as an afterthought, nobody thought about charging for it. It was actually used by engineers as a test. So you actually, in the late nineties, the first text messages you ever received were these random messages you've got on your phone. And it said, test ignore. I'm serious. Like, you'd get this what's that, you look at your phone and it'll say, test ignore. But teenagers thought, what is this thing that, that keeps coming into my phone? Can I actually use it? And they found they could send text messages for free because nobody thought about charging for these engineers at all. And then they realize actually, if engineers can send this for free, I can send it to my mates for free. And that's where text messaging started. So what interestingly, they taught the mobile phone industry, how to make money out of Data. 

Susan Lindner 09:17

Amazing. Amazing. And I remember at the beginning, right, you'd get the, you know, text message and, and data fees may apply. And you were like, Ugh, right. I mean, this is like, this is when we bought data plans and we bought by the minutes, right. That came after. But you know, before the podcast, you and I were talking about, you know, focus groups that you would do with youth mobile. Right. And getting people to really understand, you know, to see Live, can you share some of those experiences around where we get blind to the innovation that's sitting right in front of us, because for so many of us we're, we don't wanna be set in our conceptual thinking about who our customer is, what they need, what they respond to, and how to serve them, not just in this moment, but moving forward, but it starts off with our own bias. as innovators, right? We might be stuck on a particular hypothesis. Like you said, you know, the road warrior hypothesis, for far too long before we begin to dive into a new target market. 

Graham Brown 10:21 

You're right. The bias is key. And even before people started talking about bias as a thing in the corporate world, it was very strong and there was some great examples. There was some wonderful stories of taking young people into corporates and it was like, meet the kids, you know, it was like bringing. The irony was Susan, like they had kids, every breakfast table every morning, they would sit there and their 13 year old daughter would be texting on the phone. They saw it. And yet, you know, when they got their corporate clothes on, the whole mindset changed when they were in corporate mode, they behaved very differently. And in one instance, I remember with a music comp, a record label. So in you imagine two thousands record labels were still relevant back then. And, you know, they brought young people in to do these focus groups in the days when, you know, just stuff them with pizza and ask them questions. And then somebody would kind of like surreptitiously, write this down in the corner in a very sort of, I mean, you know, as an anthropologist, I'm sure you could see all the kind of like red flags and alarm bells going with, you know, this is a method for understanding how people get data and understand innovation, how, you know, biased and how unrealistic it is that they would bring young people into ask them about music. Cuz at the time, if you think about it in the early two thousands, music revenues were on the way down, you know, they hadn't yet monetized ringtones. That hadn't really happened yet. Remember buying ringtones, right. That had, and they were losing a lot of money to Napster and the MP3 file sharing. And obviously we hadn't yet seen iTunes take off. So we were kind of in this gap period where they were lacking innovation and whole, you know, trying to very defensively hold onto their position or how can we squeeze a bit more money out of CDs? And I remember like after asking these teenagers about their habits and, you know, technology that we're using these, they said, no, thanks for your time. On the way out, grab some gifts on the table. And this sort of, these teenagers kind of shuffled out the room and they all sort of glanced at this table where these stacks of all these kind of CDs were lying there. And they just kind of looked at it and went there and walked out. And the biggest learning point for the execs and, you know, there was a group of, they must have been 30 years or 40 years old was, those last 30 seconds were actually, they didn't value even their products for free. You couldn't even give this stuff away. They, you know, didn't even want a CD. Didn't want it in their house. Didn't know what to do with it. So it's, you know, you talk about bias, it's there right in front of their faces. So the real work is to be happen there. Isn't it?  How do you take people out of that situation? So they can be exposed and a bit vulnerable. 

Susan Lindner 13:17 

Yeah. And to find a way to put those biases at bay. And I think, you know, when we work in innovation, there's someone who needs to be going, don't miss that. Right. That wasn't a small thing, you know, and sometimes these things are around us all the time. I think it's why we also need just some downtime, some quiet space so we can stop and observe what's happening around us. And you know, one of the things that you mentioned earlier is, you know, the corrupting of the technology, right? That they were taking these. That they were taking these, pagers effectively and painting them and making them their own right. Which is such a Japanese cultural thing and also such a teenage girl thing. And, you know, which gave rise to like the sidekick, you know, that we need, we want, or even, you know, the iPod with that click wheel that design actually matters to us. And we care about what things look like and feel like, and how it, they relate to us personally and never underestimate the desire of a teenage girl to keep or spread a secret. Right. The fact that you could, you know, say I'm gonna meet up at this particular place in Tokyo, but use code is the greatest thing since passing notes in code, right? It's yeah. It's addictive and wonderful and fantastic. So these are all things that can also help to make our technologies and our innovation stickier. When we get inside the hearts, not just the minds of the folks that we're talking to. 

Graham Brown 14:51 

Yeah. What we tend to do, and this is, why you need that person, like you say, to kind of prompt you and poke you is that we get defensive. We look at that corruptive behavior and we immediately see it as a threat, even though those teenage girls, all they're trying to do is find a better way of using this. And you look at the history of a Lord of technology of how it's the hackers, you know, these people that existed on the fringe who took a product and made it better because they found out a different way of using it. And the owner of that product becomes defensive and they can even get legal about this, threaten action to stop people doing these things. I mean, file sharing classic example. If we didn't have file sharing, we wouldn't have Spotify. We wouldn't have the app stores that we do now. But that started off with people effectively, illegally sharing copyrighted material, right. Because the reason why they were doing it, and the reason why teens were sharing is because that whole era of growing up with vinyl, you remember those wonderful 12 inch artworks gate folds that you used to get, and you'd go around your friend's house and you'd rifle through their record collection. And you'd pick up a record, pull it out of the box and talk about it and look at it. It's art and all the design on it. And you'd read the stories and it became this social tool for people to interact. And when that went into CDs, that all got lost. Right. And that's the point. These products. Are social tools for young people. So if they lose that social currency that they used to have, they, they look for other stuff. And we've seen, for example, I mean, there are very positive benefits coming out of this that if you correlate, cigarette consumption, and cell phone usage by teenagers throughout the late 90s into the early two thousands. And even up to 2010, it's almost like an inverse correlation. Because what happened was is that, you know, I distinctly remember this before I went to Japan, 1995. I remember sitting in a bar and I was a young graduate at the time and everybody put their cigarette packets out on the table. You know, and each one was like a different brand, a different statement about themselves. And, you know, there was a Malborough and blah, blah, blah, camel and stuff like that. And they said things about you. And when I came back from Japan and then had the same situation, 98, 99, they weren't cigarette packets, they were mobile phones. And so, you don't need to be a cigarette manufacturer, but any manufacturer looking at that thinking, oh, well, my competition is the other guy in my sector, but actually it's not. It's the other people who are innovating in such a way that they're eating up that psychological, emotional benefit that your product used to give your customers. And that's really. Important because people don't see it in that way. They only see it in terms of the nuts and bolts and the widgets that they produce 

Susan Lindner 18:02

Or the problem to be solved, right. But it's also solving an oral fixation. It's solving a status issue. It's the communications opportunity and sooner or later, it was gonna be mobile payments too. And our whole social lives would live in that little device

Graham Brown 18:18 

Yeah, you're right about the status and the communication. If you're a smoker, back in those days, you used to go outside and outside the office, have a cigarette with somebody else in the break time. It was a social thing, right? 

Susan Lindner 18:29 

Yes. Relationships were started in the smoking side. kidding. Right. And it also and maybe it also made us a little bit more insular, you know, in terms of what that did to us less lung cancer though. So that's a plus. 

Graham Brown 18:46

Yeah, absolutely. Well, it's amazing all the years and years that are even banging on to young people about not smoking and then the mobile phone came over and solved the problem, right?

Susan Lindner 18:55

Yeah. Well that, until the vape came, but then, but then you could also, you know, the other part of that is kids were saying they got so many messages from don't text and drive. But at this point they had become so addicted to texting. They're like, yeah, thanks. I don't wanna buy a car either. So I remember going to an innovation, lecture where the teen cell phone use was the greatest indicator of whether or not a young person was going to get their license on time and buy a car within the next year. And it turned out people were delaying even getting their licenses or even the desire to learn to drive because they got the message so clearly you can't text and drive. Thank you, I'll keep texting. 

Graham Brown 19:37 

Wow. How about that? There there's a great example. Isn't it of like one industry being impacted by another, which are completely unrelated. And then if you even look, you know, if you go back a few generations with cars, you know, if you think about movies like American graffiti that, you know, they really are the symbolization of the right of passage. Aren't they for, if you're a teenager, you get a car. And if you know, if you're a teenage boy, you can have girls in the car, you can drive around town with your buddies. Freedom. Yeah. Yeah. That's what it's all about. And it's like your first taste of living outside on communicating outside of your parental control. Right. Cause you can go and do things. You can hang out in places. Right. And. This small device came at norm that could do many of the things that a car could do. Sure. It couldn't take you from A to B, but it could get you to communicate with people outside of your physical. locus your domain, right? And it could give you status. If you had a phone, you were like the kid now at school who had the car, right. You had this status symbol that other people didn't have. So in that sense, it played on many of the psychological drivers that cars had. I mean, you ask any auto manufacturers say, how does this compete with mobile phones? They will say it doesn't, but they're both competing for the same wallet. That's the point when it comes to innovation is that wallet is fixed. It's a pie. If you are gonna have a big slice, I'm gonna have less. Right. And that's how it works, right. Especially with young people who have a fixed pie, what we all do really, but it's more obvious there because there's less competition in different factors. 

Susan Lindner 21:13

Well, and less opportunity for credit card debt so far. Yeah. So, but you know, shifting that viewpoint on, you know, a) being a great listener, b) understanding the stories that our customers are telling us and our willingness to receive them, but also, you know, thinking about how we are communicating our stories of innovation to others and. Um, you know, this feels very meta is two podcasters talking to each other about about storytelling and about innovation through a podcast. What do innovators not know about podcasting that you think would be helpful for them to understand in terms of getting their message across? 

Graham Brown 22:03 

Hmm, that's interesting, but a lot of people go into podcasting thinking, this is the message that I want to get across. And this is what I want to talk about. But actually really what's important is what does your audience wanna hear? What's their problem? What's their frustration, their pain points, you know, what's broken in their life. And you know, there is absolutely a message that you need to convey, which is obviously the solution to that. But what tends to happen is that a lot of people start out. Putting their stall out saying, this is what I know. And yet people don't care what you know, unless they know that you care. 

Susan Lindner 22:46

Can you say that again? Can you say that again? So we really get that. 

Graham Brown 22:50 

People don't care what you know, unless they know that you care. And there's a real sense that what makes a great podcaster is the ability to speak to the pain, the frustration of the listener, you know, I really understand you I've been there. You know, I'm like yourself, like the people you've had on your podcast, that what they're really good at is you understand that, that audience, that avatar and who exactly they are, what their frustrations and why are they banging their head against the wall? And what's the big change that's really, you know, keeping them up at night. The challenge is that we switch expert mode on when we go to a podcast and really what we should be doing is saying, you know, okay, just turn that off a little bit. And let's talk about the problem. What is the problem? And I understand it, and like I'm walking in their shoes and I empathize with them. Right. So to answer your question, I would say that it's really, you know, you've said it yourself about listening. It's really about starting with the problem. That's what a lot of people kind of miss the opportunity on when they go on a podcast, it's, let's stay there. You spend all your time talking about the problem and you've got your audience already. And yet I think we're kind of going to pitch mode a little bit. Don't we? Maybe it's training, maybe it's corporate expectation. Get the PowerPoint out, do the bullet points. But the reality is, is that doesn't really engage people. Does it? I mean, I'm sure you set through a lot of presentations yourself where you had death by PowerPoint on the other end. So I think we've gotta kind of switch out of that a little bit and that takes a bit of rework doesn't it? 

Susan Lindner 24:28 

So this, this medium of communicating around innovation through a podcast, what makes this, what makes this medium powerful and why do you think stories transmit so well here? 

Graham Brown 24:45 

Yeah. I love the fact we're getting to a storyteller and I know you, I mean, you're a good storyteller yourself, Susan. Even when we first chatted off air, we exchanged our personal stories and how important that is to connect with each other, cuz you really get a place of person. And you know, even though that may not be an experience that you understand, you really understand their backstory a little bit. Like all good movies. You kind of understand through the backstory of the hero, we care about that person. So the point about podcasting is firstly, it's long form. You know, I'm not, this isn't a TikTok video, is it where we've got 30 seconds to do a silly dance? And then, you know, how many likes do we get? It's long form. So we have the bandwidth to go deep into the subject area. And I, if you think about stories in themselves, like what do stories do, if you look at sort of your brain on stories, this is what we don't really appreciate, I suppose we know the power of story. You know, we all know the power of gather around when we were kids, you know, the, how that kind of engaged us and how stories took us on magic carpet rides and on journeys. And we, we know the wonder, the magic of stories, and yet we don't really necessarily draw a line between that and the world of business and the missing part here is that what, if you look at how our brain functions, that the human brain has a weakness, and that is that it cannot distinguish between past and present and future. The human brain doesn't understand doesn't have a concept of past or the future. It only understands experience. So even when you sort of visualize something in the future, you are actually in a way experiencing it just in the same, you would see a dream. Or if you like remember, or you listen to a song and it makes you cry, cuz you remember, you know, that time when you, you and whoever, you know the story. So, we experience it. We don't understand that that's past. It's all the same. And so, because of that, when it comes to business and in particularly innovation, the challenge with innovation is that what you are doing as an innovator, whether you're a startup founder or a team leader, or a CEO or a Steve jobs on stage, is your pitching somebody an idea, which is an unknown future. And the one thing that human beings dislike more than anything is the unknown future, because you know, you look at all movies, the bad guy is always this sort of formless, unknown entity. That's like the worst, you know, Dark Lord, Dr. Evil or whatever. We really, you know, the, you know, the sour, whatever it is, you know, thousands and thousands of years, we've been telling stories about the unknown futures and how we are fearful of them. But what a story does, is it connects an unknown future with a known experience. That's the power of a story, because what it does, even if you look at the most basic form of a story, which is an analogy, which is what I call short form storytelling, which is where you say it's like the, A of B, it's like the Uber of pet care. I just made that up. But if I said it's the Uber of pet care, that's my, my style ups, the over pet care. You're like, I can kind of understand it, what it's about. I understand 

Susan Lindner 28:13

The mobile grooming truck that comes to your house, that, that shears on demands. and there might be a taco in there. We don't know, but it's a possible

Graham Brown 28:20 

A delivery at the same time. That's pretty cool. Well, you get, you already get the idea

Susan Lindner 28:26

Right. We have a mental picture that starts churning right when we use it. 

Graham Brown 28:30

Exactly. That analogy is extremely powerful. And that's how all stories work, because they, you know, if you look at the archetypes, you read things like Joseph of Campbell's hero with a thousand faces. You know, the hero is pretty much the same, whether it's Gil me or Jesus Christ or Luke Skywalker is the same movie, same plot line, same story, like regurgitated thousands and thousands of times. The point being is actually the reason why we like and the reason why the next movie you'll go to see on Netflix or at the theater will have the same plot line is because we enjoy it. When somebody takes the unknown away from us and connects it with a familiar, you know, oh, that ending is how I would expect it. We like that known Hollywood ending, people enjoy it. That's why you don't have weird endings in blockbuster movies is because they become unfamiliar. And the point of what a story does is it allows people to put that unknown into a box. So probably the greatest example of this is we take something like Steve jobs. When he stood on stage and sold the iPod, you know, he didn't stand up and say, this was the world's best MP3 player, which interestingly Microsoft was doing with the zoom. He stood up and said, this is a tool for the heart. You think about it. We understand that, we understand heart, we understand music, we understand love, connection, relationships, feelings, and this is what it's about. And it's a tool to help us connect with all of those Phoenix and that yet I get it. And that's a great example of analogy. It was a story and stories don't have to be, you know, epics. That's the word? Bingo. They don't have to be like these trilogies. They can be a one liner. It can be even one word. 

Susan Lindner 30:23 

Yeah, but a great story like that is like good Danish furniture. You know, it is handcrafted and hue where you can't see the joints. All you see is the beautiful grain and the simplicity of the wood and that takes for freaking ever, right? It's not, it's like, we wish like, oh yeah, it's a one line story. Or it's a beautiful tagline like that. Right. A thousand songs in your pocket, or it connects at the heart. Like that takes effort to hone away all the draws and the crap and get to the good stuff. Otherwise, we get stuck with such and such as a B2B platform, specifically for the optimization and utilization of blah, blah, blah, blah. Right? I mean, you just like, 

Graham Brown 31:05 

Well, the corporate side, can you put B2B in that tagline? It's like, can you add that? Can you just, just put that in there? Can you get our company name in it? Kill you. Thank you. you're absolutely right. It's the whittling of the, the arrow, isn't it 

Susan Lindner 31:18

It's whittling. Right? It's the, it's the craftsmanship that allows you to keep honing down until you get to essence. And that's not easy. And the other thing about great, that great design, you know, that feels like such an intangible and yet takes such incredible work and thoughtfulness, is the emotion it's intending to convey. And so we often talk about storytelling. I often talk about storytelling, not just as a pen and paper exercise, but a neurochemical one. And so getting really clear about what are the emotions we want to have unleashed on our listener. And then being a really thoughtful guide through those emotions. So that includes, you know, an understanding of how cortisol and adrenaline work in the body when the movie starts with you know a car crash, you know, and the desire to make the heartbeat faster, you know, and then, you know, or I often use the example of Bambi's mother getting killed within the first five minutes of a nice children's while Disney party. I cried when that happened, we all cried. Right. And that individual, that man made a decision to say, I wanna break the hearts of children around the world. When I start this, I wanna make them feel they're vulnerable. I wanna invoke a child's greatest fear. I wanna put it on a platter and serve it to them. And then I'm gonna guide them through that forest with their happy little friends, Thumper and the rest, and I'm gonna take them to the journey that now makes it. But these are decisions that we make in storytelling and story design that says, what is the arc of the emotion that I take my listener through and where do I wanna get them to by the end. And so it becomes really clear that if we don't have a handle, not only on the words that we're expressing the time that we're using, but also when the story is over, what do I want people to do? What do I want them to feel? What do I want them to remember? And, you know, as a consummate storyteller is to keep those three keys in mind. Otherwise the words just leave us. But when we attach those neurotransmitters, we exude a feeling in the body, my palm sweat, my heart races. Now the story is my own because it lives in my body. Not just my memory. And so it becomes a really powerful concoction of neurochemicals, right. And bodily responses that say, I will never forget that story. And it's your, you know, your examination of our brain doesn't know the difference between past and future, and you can still go, I cried, from the time that you were a little kid. And so I just, I think it's, I thi this is part of the reason why I love storytelling is that it involves every part of us, every part of us. And it's such a primal, a primal means of communication that it can't not work. And we just keep looking for new mediums like this one, like in podcasting, will we get the chance to do that again ? We get the chance to connect to the primal parts of us that just wanna hear a story that just that gather round, like you said.

Graham Brown 34:43 

Yeah, you're so right about the emotional aspect of it is primal. Isn't it, it speaks, it's almost like a, the main line to our soul which cuts through thousands of years of layers. Right? Well, it still speaks to us. I mean, you, the stories, I mean, even if you go way back, you go right back. I mean, those cave paintings in Lusko, which were dated at 26,000 BC potentially. And you know, you've got pictures of Buffalo stamped this in the Southwest of France, right. And this, so bear in mind, this is nearly 30,000 years old, like pre-history pre a agricultural revolution and there were these tribes painting these pictures on these walls. And there's such a beautiful, there's such a beautiful part of it in that LCO painting where a child of potentially five years old because of the bone structure of her hand had basically dipped her hand in the paint, which was whatever it's some sort of Okur like ash mixed together and stuck her hand on the wall. And there's this hand print, which is nearly 30,000 years old in the war. And like, if you were to give a paint pot to a kid today in any nursery around the world, regardless of what cultural language they would do, the same thing. Exactly. And I find 30,000 years, that's that primal aspect of saying, Hey, this is me folks. I'm here. That kid is saying, look, this is an expression of me. This is about me. I'm part of this as well. And that's timeless. 

Susan Lindner 36:18 

Right. And that is that drive to tell a story and be heard. 

Graham Brown 36:21

Connect. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, you think about, you talk about podcasts now and that we're seeking out new mediums. How will that sort of changed over the last few years with the pandemic? How a lot of people took to podcasting during that time? Really, because, you know, the total addressable market for loneliness is 7 billion people, right? That's sort of something we've never solved. We're always seeking out. And in many ways it's. It's oxygen for us, right? I mean, it's not just, we talk about kids being addicted to technology, but we're all addicted to what technology does for us, which is help us connect, that's right. You know, if you, if you take away, you know, if you've even look at what they do to people, when they put them in solitary confinement, which is like for the worst offenders in society, you know, you lock 'em up, incarcerate them, and then you put them in solitary because they're too bad for prison or jail. Is that the actual cognitive function of their brain declines dramatically because without human contact, we, we lose it literally. 

Susan Lindner 37:23 

That's right. Gosh, Graham, this has been like such an enlightening conversation. Everything from Japanese trend setting youth all the way up to the real heartfelt work of great innovation storytelling. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. Say, how can people get in contact with you and who should be getting in contact with you Graham? . 

Graham Brown  37:45

Yeah. So firstly, where you can find me, go to my website, which is, D is the important part because otherwise you get the wallpaper company, nows a different experience, different type of innovation, different type of storytelling. And then there's the other guy, the, the country in Western singing. We're talking about T Graham Brown. It's not me. So it's Graham D brown. If you're interested in podcasting, if you're interested in, you know, how you can tell better stories to communicate as a brand and how you can talk about your work in more engaging ways, whether it's data storytelling, or, you know, talking about your brand in a more human way, then have a look at some of the work there. It links out the work that I'm involved in. And if you're interested, happy to have a chat. 

Susan Lindner 38:35

Fantastic. Graham brown, thank you so much for joining us on the innovation story tellers, say, it's just a pleasure having you. 

Graham Brown 38:42

Thank you Susan. 

Susan Lindner 38:43

Now you might be asking Susan why innovation storytelling? Well, the truth is that an innovation story told well, not only breaks down communication barriers so you can drive change and new growth, but it also helps other people remember and champion your work and it propels your best ideas forward faster. To secure you, the runway resources and recognition you so richly deserve. In other words, stories are memory making devices that significantly reduce the time it takes for you and your innovation to be understood, but like many leaders, you probably never got the memo that storytelling skills would be central to your success. Well, I've got some good news for you. It's not too late because I've got you covered. Whether you need an expert to come and speak to your innovation leaders, you need training in the art and method of innovation storytelling, or you just need the support and guidance of a consultant who can get you where you want to go in less time. Visit www today to learn more and to set up a call to discuss your needs. I'm so looking forward to connecting with you and to helping you tell a great innovation store, if you like what you heard so far, don't forget to subscribe. So you never miss another episode and leave us a comment. Tell us what you think of this episode. We'd love to hear from you. And if you didn't like what you've heard, just forget everything I've said.


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About The Author Graham Brown

Graham Brown is the founder of Podcast Guesting Pro. Graham is a published author on the subject of Digital Communication and Personal Branding (Amazon titles include "Brand Love: How to Build a Brand Worth Talking About" and "Mobile Youth: Voices of the Connected Generation). He has produced, project managed and guested on over 2,000 podcast episodes.