It’s been just under a year since we launched the first episode of The Never Settle Podcast. Since then, we’ve been lucky enough to hear from some inspiring and ambitious individuals who are innovating in their field. From creative directors to council leaders, our host Ali has picked the brains of game changers and innovators who do things differently. He’s dug into their stories to find out what drives them, how they stay motivated and why they do what they do. So, we thought we’d mark our first podcast anniversary by rounding up some of the key lessons we’ve learnt along the way. September is also a time for new beginnings: it’s ‘back to school’ time, it’s a new season, so perhaps these key takeaways might inspire you to turn over a new autumn leaf for your working life!
Speak to people outside of your industry.
This is our main takeaway from Never Settle, and something we’d encourage anyone to do. Whether you’re in consultancy or the creative arts, building a strong network of people outside of your profession is a great way to increase opportunities. It can also result in some surprising but valuable partnerships. Dundee is full of trailblazers, movers and shakers— we should continue to learn from each other to foster collaboration over competition.
Professor Niamh Nic Daéid & Professor Dame Sue Black: take an entrepreneurial approach, even if you’re not in business.
In the very first Never Settle episode, we chatted with Professor Niamh Nic Daéid & Professor Dame Sue Black about the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at The University of Dundee. The centre aims to promote, educate and ‘disrupt the current forensic science ecosystem’. We were blown away by the centre’s innovative, forward-thinking mission, and their passion for doing things differently. It perfectly encapsulates our ethos of Never Settling, always striving for the best and never resting until you’ve achieved it. These inspiring ladies demonstrated the value of innovating and taking an entrepreneurial approach, even if you’re not in a business environment. They also symbolise the importance of challenging the status quo instead of just settling for the old way of doing things. You can listen to the episode here.
29 Studios: design your business to suit your lifestyle.
Earlier this year, we spoke to Kev & Gillian O’Neill, co-founders of the video marketing agency, 29 Studios. They told the fascinating story of their journey within the video marketing world, and their experiences working in Silicon Valley with brands such as YouTube and Google. Following their lifelong dream of living in America, they opened an office in Atlanta and found clients in the States. For us, this really demonstrated the importance of designing your business to suit your lifestyle, and why you shouldn’t let your business dictate your life. Kev and Gillian wrote their own story, they went out and created the life they wanted, and this episode really drove home our ethos of ensuring that your life and work is in harmony. Even if you’re not a business owner, if you don’t love what you do, you have the power to change that and design your own future. It’s safe to say you’ll feel very inspired after listening to this episode! You can listen to it here.
Councillor John Alexander: challenge the status quo.
At 29 years old, Councillor John Alexander is the youngest Council leader in Scotland. In this episode, Ali and John have a fascinating discussion about the current political landscape and what makes John so passionate about serving the Dundee community. A champion for collaborative politics, John is actively involved in engaging with and listening to the people of Dundee. You’ll also find him engaging online, on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. He’s a leading example for collaboration, always questioning the traditional or mainstream way of doing things. This drives home the importance of integrity and challenging the status quo in everything you do– doing what you think is best, and not just what has been done before. You can listen to the episode here.
Ryan McLeod: design your business for your customers.
In episode 8, Ali chats with Dundee-based designer Ryan McLeod, delving into his creative career and the design process more generally. Ryan is currently a designer at Agency of None and he also hosts Creative Chit Chat, a weekly podcast featuring some of Dundee’s most inspiring creatives. This episode explores the design process in depth and the solution to Dundee’s taxi services, amongst other things! A common thread running throughout the episode is the importance of designing for people to meet their needs and problems. This comes down to listening to your customers and understanding their pain points so you can solve the right problems. Using the double diamond method (discover, develop, define, deliver), you can create a thoughtfully designed, customer-centric business which delivers valuable solutions to nagging problems. You can listen to the episode here.
The Main Takeaway
Looking back on the first two seasons of Never Settle, we’ve heard from so many inspiring individuals and thought leaders. There’s something to be learned from each and every episode, not just the ones we’ve included here. Every one of our guests are innovators in what they do, unafraid to stand out from the crowd and challenge the old guard.
We’ve spoken a lot about Never Settling, but what does Settling look like?
Settling is often seen as something positive: settling down, settling in, feeling relaxed and contented. But in business, settling is to accept things as they are; to never step out of your comfort zone, to become overly comfortable and complacent. Innovative new enterprises are never built from comfort zones— they disrupt, transform, challenge and invent new and radical ways of doing things. Never Settling is to bite the bullet, to put yourself out there and forge your own path, and that’s what we admire so much about each of our guests on the podcast.
If it’s something you’re interested in, we would highly recommend doing a podcast for your business. Not only does it set you apart from competitors, but it also gives you the opportunity to meet fascinating, new people you might not have done otherwise.
Don’t accept the ordinary; never settle.