The podcast that examines stories of creativity, collaboration, innovation and persistence celebrates its 100th episode of in-depth interviews with modern creatives, innovators, craftspeople, and community leaders.

The Iowa Idea Podcast, produced by Spark Consulting Group of Iowa City, IA, celebrates its 100th episode. The podcast, through in-depth conversations, explores modern extensions of the original “Iowa Idea.” This project is rooted in a concept originally conceived at The University of Iowa in the 1920s. The innovative Iowa Idea brought together practicing artists and scholars, creating a new form of collaboration. The foundation and legacy of the Iowa Idea can be seen in Iowa City’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Rooted in the concept of the original Iowa Idea, the programmatic vision of The Iowa Idea Podcast is to talk with modern craftspeople, artists, and entrepreneurs so they can share their story, creative journey, and insights. The podcast focuses on the stories of “Iowa natives, transplants, and friends who demonstrate a modern version of the Iowa Idea.” The show explores how modern creatives approach their craft and have demonstrated grit and persistence. In its programmatic vision, the show notes that it “seeks to provide a voice for typically underrepresented artists and entrepreneurs.”

In just over a year, the podcast has had a broad and eclectic range of guests from fashion activists to microbiologists, authors to bonsai teachers, chief innovation officers to theater managers, musicians and comedians. The podcast continues to explore myriad forms of innovation, creativity, and craft.  Previous guests include, “Hyper Learning” author Ed Hess, comedian/musician/author Dave Hill, NPR host Ophira Eisenberg, diversity and inclusion pioneer Anne Harris Carter, musician Jason Narducy, Second City manager Kelly Leonard, innovation and design expert Nick Scappaticci, as well as former professional poker player and best-selling author Annie Duke. As one reviewer put it, “Matt (podcast creator and host) has a wide-ranging curiosity that shows in a variety of guests on the show so far. It’s fantastic to hear how people approach what they do with such depth.”

The podcast has led to new, global collaborations for its host, including a series of events focused on effectual innovation with the Digital Transformation Lab of University College Cork. While most of the guests have deep connections to Iowa, guests of the show hail from India, Ireland, Chile, and the United States. The host has explored his family’s history connecting Cork, Ireland with the State of Iowa. His ancestors left Cork to settle in Iowa, prior to its statehood in the 1840s. A recent “Rebel Series” of conversations with Cork nativies Paidi O’Reilly, Stephen McDonnell, and John Morley were currated to highlight both Iowa and Cork’s tradition of innovation and pay homage to Cork’s reputation as the Rebel County of Ireland.

“It’s been an absolute honor to talk with some of the world’s top innovators about their journey. I’m humbled that so many creatives have taken the time to share insights about their craft with me,” said Matt Arnold, Chief Catalyst at Spark Consulting Group and founder of The Iowa Idea Podcast.  “I hope these conversations continue inspire future creative collaborations in this century, much like the original Iowa Idea did last century.” While Matt is a self-described innovation nerd, he says his favorite topics have been focused on social and restorative justice.

The Iowa Idea: Stories of Craft, Creativity, Collaboration, and Persistence from the Heartland can be found online at and through all major podcast services.

About Spark Consulting Group

Spark helps organizations large and small get stuff done and keep their staff and customers happy. We offer big-firm insights at small-town prices. And we pride ourselves on being creative, collaborative, and on always on top of our game. Co-founded by human-centered design expert Matt Arnold, Spark works at the intersection of modern design, innovation, customer centricity, and agile delivery. Spark works with teams who want to think big, move fast, and stay innovative. The best part? We believe you can get great results while also having a little fun along the way.

About The Iowa Idea Podcast

This podcast is rooted in the concept of the Iowa Idea, which was originally conceived at The University of Iowa by Walter Jessup and Carl Seashore in the 1920s. The Iowa Idea originally brought together practicing artists and scholars for a new form of collaboration. Jessup and Seashore’s idea blossomed, to bring forth the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and the Master of Fine Arts degree, by mixing theory and practice to advance both. Nearly a century later, The Iowa Idea podcast explores modern collaboration, craft, and persistence. This podcast tells the stories of Iowa natives, transplants, and friends who demonstrate The Iowa Idea in the 21st Century. Join us for in-depth conversations with artists, designers, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders, to learn how they approach their craft and represent a modern version of the Iowa Idea. The Iowa Idea is produced in Iowa City by Spark Consulting Group.