80 episodes

The weekly podcast about the serendipitous stories of everyday people living extraordinary lives. Learn, gain insights, and be inspired by how a diverse range of people have broken through obstacles, fearlessly exceeded the boundaries society sets, taken the chances, regardless of risk, that most fear, in pursuit of their ‘impossible’. Each week, host Mark Fallows, explores how his guests' ‘impossible’ became possible? How their upbringing affected them; how creativity fueled them, how serendipity guided them. Each guest offers their insight and advice to others seeking to challenge and achieve their impossible.

The Impossible Network Fabrica Collective

    • Careers

The weekly podcast about the serendipitous stories of everyday people living extraordinary lives. Learn, gain insights, and be inspired by how a diverse range of people have broken through obstacles, fearlessly exceeded the boundaries society sets, taken the chances, regardless of risk, that most fear, in pursuit of their ‘impossible’. Each week, host Mark Fallows, explores how his guests' ‘impossible’ became possible? How their upbringing affected them; how creativity fueled them, how serendipity guided them. Each guest offers their insight and advice to others seeking to challenge and achieve their impossible.

    080: Learning From The History of Science - Pamela H Smith

    080: Learning From The History of Science - Pamela H Smith

    Guest Overview


    Born and raised in a small isolated California town, influenced by what she describes as a ‘consistent, persistent, and gentle’ math teacher father and the ‘artistic and creative’ mother, serendipity led her to discover her love of the history of science in Woolongong University in Australia and then commit her life to be a historian of science - is this weeks guest Pamela H Smith. 
    Pamela is a Professor of History at Columbia University and Founding Director of the Center for Science and Society where she leads the Making and Knowing Research Project. 
    In part one of this two-parter, we discuss Pamela’s upbringing and her journey into the history of science. We also discuss the evolution of science, human progress through the centuries, creativity, curiosity and the acceleration of knowledge and the influence of social organization and networks as our economies and trade networks developed. 
    We also discuss the growth of cities, the emergence of artisan class and changing roles they played. 
    In Part two we discuss how Pamela established the Making and Knowing Research Project, its purpose and we discuss the origins of her most recent launch - The Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France. A Digital Critical Edition and its English Translation. That might sound dry to many but this is a remarkable sixteenth-century manuscript that contains over 900 recipes for making art objects, medical remedies, and materials for the household and workshop. 
    Pamela explains how the craft workshop practices record extensive first-hand experimentation with natural materials and provide unique insights into the material, technical, and intellectual world of the late sixteenth century and bring a better understanding of how and why nature was investigated, collected, and used in art in early modern Europe. It sheds light on the origins of the natural sciences in the creative labors of Renaissance artists and artisans’ workshops. 
    The digital critical edition is an open-source resource is available for anyone to experiment and follow the recipes and directions. 
    We also cover her views of education, failure, persistence and the need to create a more evolved and sustainable economic model. 
    Please enjoy and share this extensive exploration and mind-expanding journey through history of science with Pamela H Smith. 
     
    What we discuss:
    Pamela’s upbringing in a small Sierra Nevada community and the freedom she had to explore and play in the wilderness.  
    The influence of the consistent, persistent, and gentle math teacher father and the artistic and creative streak of her mother. 
    Living with frugality and environmental awareness at an early age.
    Her media consumption habits of one radio station and Time Magazine compared to today’s children. 
    Schooling in California in the 60’s and ’70s and the importance of creativity and not testing.
    The lack of history in the curriculum. 
    Developing her worldview and the influence of Buckminster Fuller
    Moving to Australia in her final year of high school and developing her love of Science 
    Attending University in Wollongong and how she serendipitously encountered the History of Science as part of her Degree
    The development of the science and the investment in knowledge-making
    We discuss progress, science, and creativity and the acceleration of knowledge
    Pamela reflects on science and human engagement in nature and natural materials and the influence of social organization and networks
    The emergence of technological development and trade networks that accelerated science, knowledge and social scientific theories 
    Development of national science foundations in the 1660s 
    We discuss curiosity through the ages and quest for knowledge and the emergence of cities and the artisan class. 
    Development of guilds and trade association and the changing percepti

    • 49 min
    EP: 079 - CIA, Inconspicuous Consumption, Technology, Video Inspiration, and Existence

    EP: 079 - CIA, Inconspicuous Consumption, Technology, Video Inspiration, and Existence

    First the Podcast, we loved. 
    Tatiana Schlossberg On Design Matters 
    Debbie Millman is probably the most accomplished podcast host. In this recent episode, Debbie interviews Tatiana Schlossberg, journalist, author of Inconspicuous Consumption
    Tatiana is also the daughter of Caroline Kennedy, and a granddaughter of John F. Kennedy, the 35th U.S. president. 
    As a reporter for The New York Times covering climate change, she discusses her book and how climate change is entangled in everything we use, buy, eat, wear, and how we get around. She also details the small steps that we can all take to have a significant impact on the most defining issue of our time.


    We found this online 
    Benedict Evans - Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants 
    Every year, Ben, a partner at SF VC firm Andreessen Horowitz produces a comprehensive presentation on the state of Tech. He digs deep into macro and strategic trends in the tech industry. In this year's magnum opus, 'Standing on the shoulders of giants' Ben looks at what it means that 4 people have a smartphone; with everyone connected, he wonders, what is the Next Big Thing? In addition, he reflects on the fact that connecting everyone means that all our problems will also be connected. Finally, he explores where regulation in Tech will take us. 
    He gave this presentation at an event in Davos in January 2020, in partnership with Nasdaq and Protocol.


    Recommended to Us
    136 Internet Videos that Blew My Mind
     
    From our friends at Genius Steals. This engrossing compilation that Joe Sabia, head of creative development at Conde Nast Entertainment, has assembled, of internet videos which have left some sort of impression on him. Sectioned into 7 parts - of experimental, artsy, tinkering with clips, brainy, novel pranks and lastly, "just weird" As Faris says 'this google presentation is perfect for pulling reference points, or simply brightening up a colleague's day.'


    Mulling On This 
    The Sentient Puddle 
    I was recently introduced to Robbie Stamp and during our first call, Robbie recounted the famous Puddle parable from Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy creator, Double Adams. 
    This simple yet profound analogy for how we as humans perceive our 'being' and our place on the planet should also trigger an intellectual realization that, aside from Greta and her army of climate strikers, we seem incapable of seeing the wider world outside 'the hole' and acting on it. Watch this video and reflect on our shrinking puddle. 


    Last Weeks Podcast
    Week 12 - CIA Intelligence, Consumption, Technology, Video Inspiration, and Existence
    Last Weeks Podcast 
    Carmen Medina is a former CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence. A veteran of the Intelligence Community, she is also the author of Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within.
    Puerto Rican born, to a fun-loving father and an achievement-driven mother, Carmen excelled through an itinerant childhood to lead school debating teams. Her forensic debating skills and serendipity led her to a University scholarship and ultimately set her on her path to a 32-year career in the CIA.
    In Part One, Carmen unpacks her chaotic and unsettled upbringing and childhood, the role of her education, how debating helped her develop the skills that served her well over her CIA career. 
    We discuss her experience of interning at the CIA in 1978, a time before desktop computers, operating as a human algorithm, to running the South Africa desk, and leaning into the male-dominated CIA culture to make her voice heard.
    In Part Two, we discuss her perspective on power, the current state of the world, and her hope for the future. We also cover the role of curiosity and creativity in her work at the CIA, applying empathy to be heard by policy and decision-makers in today's polarized political environment
    And finally, we end with her life insigh...

    • 4 min
    078: The Millennial Start-Up Founder Disrupting Philanthropy - Nick Fitz

    078: The Millennial Start-Up Founder Disrupting Philanthropy - Nick Fitz

    Guest Overview 
    This week's guest is Nick Fitz, founder, and CEO of the new charitable giving app, Give Momentum, Born in Washington DC, raised in a reform household, to socially conscious parents, Nick learned values "around justice and giving back" from an early age. 


    Serendipity brought him together with his founding partners Ari Kagan and Ivan Dimitrov, to develop the Momentum app. It was the moment they realized there was no simple way to bridge the gap between people's willingness to donate and their actual ability to make a contribution.


    Nick and I discuss the genesis of the app, how it's disrupting the philanthropic giving sector, empowering users to give in a simple, frictionless manner and overcoming the barriers most people face when wanting to give by enabling good intentions to result in giving actions and behaviors. The app lets you arrange automated small-dollar donations that are triggered by ordinary moments or events that relate to how you live your life.  


    Nick discusses how the app could develop, and we cover the broader challenges facing the $400+ billion philanthropic sector ( US ), the systemic societal challenges, and the need for wholesale tax reform. Nick discusses advocacy, optimism, the evidence-based social good movement, and the value that NGO's add, in ways that the government can't. The importance of supporting independent organizations that can influence changes in government policy.


    Of course, we discuss serendipity, curiosity, and his perspective on risk and fear. 


    I hope you enjoy this stimulating discussion and the insights, ideas and social innovations of Nick Fitz. 


    What We Discuss 
    Discuss his upbringing to the State Department 
    And developing his sense of obligation
    Impact his father on his critical thinking and his mother's influence his people values 
    Growing up an environment of safety a
    Environmental stewardship influence of the progressive Jewish community 
    His education from Sidwell School to Grinnell College in Iowa to studying moral psychology at the University of British Columbia
    Evolving his academic work at the Center for Advanced Hindsight under Dan Ariely
    Psychology for good
    Examples of Behavioral Science at work 
    How momentum came to life to enable social impact without changing people's behaviors
    Evidence-based social good 
    The research and insights that led to creating the app
    The set it and forget 
    Giving 100% 
    Letting users offer a tip
    Raising Venture Capital 
    We cover the broader philanthropic sector 
    We discuss advocacy and the need for tax reform
    The challenges with the Criminal justice system
    Animal welfare 


    Social Links 
    Give Momentum
    Linkedin
    Instagram
    Twitter 
    Facebook 


    Links in the Show 
    Dan Ariely
    Center for Advanced Hindsight 
    Indistractable 
    Tristen Harris 
    Center for Humane Technology 
    Ideas 42
    Peter Singer The Life You Can Save  
    Rutger Bergman 
    Rob Reich on Philanthropy 
    Common Sense Media 
    FreeWill
    Freedom App For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 49 min
    EP: 077 - Superbowl Ads, Anomaly, Funding Freedom, Story of Us And The Point Of No Return.

    EP: 077 - Superbowl Ads, Anomaly, Funding Freedom, Story of Us And The Point Of No Return.

    Hi everyone,
    It was Super Bowl weekend and we loved many of the ads. Our gut reaction was this; Google nailed the emotional heart string pull, Hyundai made us laugh, Budweiser could have gone further (but well done) and we respect Michelob for environmental standard setting and finally it was Jeep’s Groundhog Day ad with Bill Murray that we just loved. 
    Remember if you have any interesting stories you want us to share, email us at info@theimpossiblenetwork.com  


    First the Podcast, we loved. 
    FEARLESS - CARL JOHNSON FOUNDER OF ANOMALY 
    If you want a creative booster shot and inspiration injection then have a listen to what host Charles Day highlights as ‘timeless’, ‘universal’ and ‘valuable insights’ of Carl Johnson. As an agitator for creativity in its broadest sense, Carl discusses the barriers
    “Irrelevant creativity is a waste of time and money. Harnessed, focused, disciplined creativity applied to a business problem is awesome. The debate is not creativity or commerce, it’s creativity in order to create more successful commerce”   
    As a deviation from the norm, they use any tool they can to solve a clients business problem, Carl discusses why their keys to success is based on pursuing clarity, all day everyday on every level on every subject, and how this is applied to problem solving, hiring for values not skills. 
    We found this online 
    TIM URBAN WAIT NOT WHY
    We have been reading the mind expanding blog posts of Tim for some time. 
    These are not for the short of attention. Tim goes deep. 
    His latest series, called the Story of Us is a ten chapter multi post series. #Today we suggest you read chapter eight - It’s 2020 and you’re in the future.
    Here is a taster.... “It’s finally the 2020s. After 20 years of not being able to refer to the decade we’re in, we’re all finally free—in the clear for the next 80 years until 2100, at which point I assume AGI will have figured out what to call the two decades between 2100 and 2120.
    We now live in the 20s! It’s exciting. “The twenties” is super legit-sounding, and it’s so old school. The 40s are old. The 30s even more so. But nothing is older school than the Roaring 20s.
    We’re now in charge of making this a cool decade so when people 100 years from now are thinking about how incredibly old-timey the 2020s were, it’s old-timey in a cool appealing way and not a boring s****y way.
    It’s also weird that to us, the 2020s sounds like such a rad futuristic decade—and that’s how the 1920s seemed to people 100 years ago today. They were all used to the 19-teens, and suddenly they were like, “whoa cool we’re in the twenties!” Then they got upset thinking about how much farther along in life their 1910 self thought they’d be by 1920.
    In any case, it’s a perfect time for one of those “s**t we’re old” posts.
    So here are some New Years 2020 time facts” 
    Click the link in the show notes to read on and enjoy this amazing series. 


    Recommended to us
    AVOID PASSING THE POINT OF NO RETURN 
    This timely, mind expanding perspective from Martin Weigel from Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam was recommended by Alexandra Mecklenburg @petite_ that reinforces the need for a new narrative on the role of corporations and political leadership in what is becoming an increasingly risky void. I recommend we all read and connect on this urgent issue. 


    Social Impact 
    FUNDING FREEDOM  
    Charitable giving is complex. Uncertainty over who to donate to; a lack of trust; time to research;  and knowledge about where the donations go; often leads to donations being directed to low impact organizations. 
    Every donor wants to know that their money is helping those most in need but ironically they often require money or in the case of grants to be offered on an unrestricted basis. 


    Finally if you missed last week's podcast guest it was Josh S

    • 5 min
    076: CIA Rebel On Power, Curiosity, Empathy and Trump - Carmen Medina -Part 2

    076: CIA Rebel On Power, Curiosity, Empathy and Trump - Carmen Medina -Part 2

    Guest Overview 
    Former CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence, Carmen Medina is a veteran of the Intelligence Community, she is also the author of Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within.
    Puerto Rican born, to a fun-loving father and an achievement-driven mother, Carmen excelled through an itinerant childhood to lead school debating teams. Her forensic debating skills and serendipity led her to a University scholarship and ultimately set her on her path to a 32-year career in the CIA.


    In Part two we discuss her perspective on power, the current state of the world and her hope for the future. We also cover the role of curiosity and creativity in her work at the CIA, applying empathy to be heard by policy and decision-makers in today’s polarized political environment. And finally, we end with her life insights as she answers our quick-fire questions. 
    I hope you enjoy this refreshing and fun episode and learn from the kindness, reflective wisdom, and optimism of Carmen Medina. 
    Thanks to Munish Walther Puri for the connection.
     
    What we Discuss 
     The role of curiosity and creativity in her role as an analyst
     Her curiosity in soft power over hard power 
    Her prediction that peace would happen without violence 
    The brittleness of power 
    The evolution of the CIA’s intelligence on how societies work
    Embracing cognitive bias
    Dealing With Trump 
    Her optimism and how reading a book called Complexity changed her perspective 
    Her perspective on the world 
    What if the Romans had discovered the Internet and Electricity?
    Carmen’s view on talking truth to power
    Respecting decision makers cognitive style and personality and providing a broader context so they listen, and in a framework, they appreciate 
    The role of empathy 
    Her Principles 
    Inequality of opportunity 
    Expecting and demanding failure 
    Taking ownership of your impossible 
     
    Social Links 
    Rebels at Work
    LinkedIn
    Twitter
    Links In The Show 
    Olive Shriner 
    Argo
    Zero Dark Thirty 
    Zanu PF 
    Bob Gates 
    Iran US Embassy
    Complexity Mitch Walthrop
    Browser Newsletter 
    FW de Klerke 
    Steve Blank 
    James C Scott Two Cheers For Anarchism 
    Don Burke CIA
    Babylon Berlin  For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

    • 42 min
    075: Carmen Medina - Her Path To A Life In The CIA - Part 1

    075: Carmen Medina - Her Path To A Life In The CIA - Part 1

    Guest Overview 
    Carmen Medina is a former CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence. A veteran of the Intelligence Community, she is also the author of Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within.
    Puerto Rican born, to a fun-loving father and an achievement-driven mother, Carmen excelled through an itinerant childhood to lead school debating teams. Her forensic debating skills and serendipity led her to a University scholarship and ultimately set her on her path to a 32-year career in the CIA.
    In Part One Carmen unpacks her chaotic and unsettled upbringing and childhood, the role of her education, how debating helped her develop the skills that served her well over her CIA career. 
    We discuss her experience of interning at the CIA in 1978, a time before desktop computers, operating as a human algorithm, to running the South Africa desk, and leaning into the male-dominated CIA culture to make her voice heard.
    In Part Two we discuss her perspective on power, the current state of the world and her hope for the future. We also cover the role of curiosity and creativity in her work at the CIA, applying empathy to be heard by policy and decision-makers in today’s polarized political environment.
    And finally, we end with her life insights as she answers our quick fire questions. 
    I hope you enjoy this refreshing and fun episode and learn from the kindness, reflective wisdom, and optimism of Carmen Medina. 


    What we Discuss 
    The impact of her itinerant upbringing from being an Army child 
    The role her mother played in setting her standards for achievement
    How her father made her appreciate the fun in life 
    The role of her grandmother in being a rock of stability
    Developing a skill and talent forensic debating at school
    Being the first in her family to go to college and university
    Dealing with male prejudice of her father questioning her need to learn
    How a serendipitous debating experience led her to secure a scholarship at a Catholic University in Washington DC 
    How she transitioned out of Law to Georgetown for a Masters in Foreign Service 
    Getting accepted as an intern at the CIA 
    Being asked to stay on a full time 
    Starting out as a watch officer before the era of Desktop computers 
    We discuss how her role was pre-internet days she acted as a human algorithm or search engine 
    Her point of view on the veracity CIA based films Argo and Zero Dark Thirty
    How she was promoted to the Africa Division to cover South Africa while apartheid was still in full force. 
    The experience of joining a male-dominated CIA at age 24 and being determined to avoid being pigeonholed as just another token woman. 
    The challenges of conveying an image in the workplace as a woman. 
    The role of curiosity and creativity in her role as an analyst
     Her curiosity in soft power over hard power 
    Her prediction that peace would happen without violence 
    The brittleness of power 
    The evolution of the CIA’s intelligence on how societies work
    Embracing cognitive bias 
    Her optimism and how reading a book called Complexity changed her perspective 
    Her perspective on the world 
    What if the Romans had discovered the Internet and Electricity?
    Carmen’s view on talking truth to power
    Respecting decision makers cognitive style and personality and providing a broader context so they listen, and in a framework, they appreciate 
    The role of empathy 
    Her Principles 
    Inequality of opportunity 
    Expecting and demanding failure 
    Taking ownership of your impossible 
     
    Social Links 
    Rebels at Work
    LinkedIn
    Twitter


    Links In The Show 
    Olive Shriner 
    Argo
    Zero Dark Thirty 
    Zanu PF 
    Bob Gates 
    Iran US Embassy
    Complexity Mitch Walthrop
    Browser Newsletter 
    FW de Klerke 
    Steve Blank 
    James C Scott Two Cheers For Anarchism 
    Don Burke CIA
    Babylon Berlin  For information regarding y...

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

burgkingspod ,

Dope show guys

Keep em coming.

Walero ,

Great show

Loved being on the show and also listening. Great energy throughout. Mark is an awesome interviewer and his questions are so relevant

arttyartty ,

The art gallery guy

Great episode with Freire - shocking and fun

Top Podcasts In Careers

Listeners Also Subscribed To