Can the world’s intractable issues be solved with 60-second soundbites?

Probably not, but there’s still value in small kernels of ideas that could potentially inspire larger initiatives. This is the thinking behind the BBC’s 60-Second Ideas to Improve the World podcast, in which ”one of three global thinkers to propose a radical idea, and all guests discuss its merit.” The short recordings–most average around six minutes–provide a quick dose of provocative thinking to get the gears turning, an intellectual salon for busy people.

The ideas articulated on the 60-Second Ideas to Improve the World podcast run the gamut from the fanciful (Clay Shirky’s notion that public nudity could have beneficial environmental effects) to the more practical (philosopher Roman Frigg’s concept for an annual “break-the-routine day”. At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova writes that “the 60-second ideas burst onto your mental space as cheeky pranksters, only to peel away the layers and reveal the thoughtfulness of post-modern pragmatist-philosophers,” an accurate description of the mix of heady ideas and play exhibited in the podcasts.

The podcasts are available on the Apple iTunes store and Zune Marketplace, or you can listen to and download episodes directly at the BBC site.

Paul M. Davis


Paul M. Davis

Paul M. Davis tells stories online and off, exploring the spaces where data, art, and civics intersect. I currently work with a number of organizations including Pivotal and

Things I share: Knowledge, technology, reusable resources, goodwill.