Kick-starting conversations around innovation

Years after my experience as a speaker at the 2017 Montgomery Summit, the impact of the transformative event still resonates with me today, but more so with the sessions where I was an attendee. Though I haven’t returned since my debut as a speaker, the summit remains a pivotal chapter in my current narrative. There was a specific speaker session during that event that was the catalyst for the podcast series that I host today, called “Keeping Innovation Alive.”

During an interview session with Spencer Rascoff, co-founder of Zillow, Rascoff asked a question of the host, Jamie Montgomery. He said, “With all due respect, Jamie, why do you think I’m at your conference today?” Jamie said, “Well, of course because you were invited to be a speaker, and we have a great event planned, right?” Spencer followed up, “Of course, but the real reason I’m here is so that I can meet General Patraeus over there (pointing to the back of the room). I’d like to ask him if he would be on my podcast.”

At that moment, a significant realization dawned upon me. If I were to create my own podcast, I could have the opportunity to connect with remarkable individuals, engaging in compelling conversations that offer valuable insights and perspectives to myself and others. But at the time of this summit, podcasts were difficult to create, and the technology platforms weren’t as seamless as they are today. As a result, this idea sat with me for years.

Skipping a few years ahead, during the pandemic of 2020, I was leading Business Development and Growth for our family business. The process of generating new business was certainly being challenged. With a global pandemic health scare, new product innovation was low in the priority list for clients. Then came the question, “How do I keep innovation alive during these wild times?” And since we were not able to attend in-person events, I led an effort to host, produce and share online events on our own platform. My goal was to produce content to kick-start conversations around innovation.

As a result, I launched a short-run series of eight online events powered by Zoom and broadcast on YouTube called, “Keeping Innovation Alive Roundtable Series.” The video series eventually transformed in the audio-only podcast series that exists today, trademarked and produced by my company, InnovateNOW Venture Studio, and can be found on all the major platforms.

The purpose of this podcast is still consistent to the original intent, but more streamlined. The interview format is around 10 minutes, which is more achievable to schedule with my high-profile guests, complete with ‘bite-size’ audio episodes for listeners. Guests have ranged from friends in my network to new business connections, each with a unique and diverse voice and backstory.

Above all else, I’m grateful for the guests that have taken time out to join my show and share their stories with me and the listeners. If anyone reading this article has said, “I should make a podcast, someday … ” My response is, “Why not get started preparing today? Tomorrow? Or next week?” Take it from me, even though my show is currently between Season 1 and the upcoming Season 2, the experience has been fulfilling. I would strongly recommend to anyone who is a life-long learner like me to start their own show.

Bill Nottingham is CEO & Co-Founder of InnovateNOW Venture Studio which propels high-growth ventures through strategic partnerships, investments and expert guidance.

Bill Nottingham

CEO & Co-Founder


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