Idea Machines

Idea Machines
Explorations in Innovation Ecosystems

Inventors, Corporations, Universities, and Governments with Ashish Arora [Idea Machines #28]
Jul 9 • 55 min
A conversation with Ashish Arora about how and why the interlocking American institutions that support technological change have evolved over time, their current strengths and weaknesses, and how they might change in the future.
Invention, Discovery, and Bell Labs with Venkatesh Narayanamurti [Idea Machines #27]
May 29 • 53 min
In this episode I talk to Venkatesh Narayanamurti about Bell Labs, running research organizations, and why the distinction between basic and applied research is totally wrong. Venkatesh has led organizations across the research landscape: he was a…
Roadmapping Science with Adam Marblestone [Idea Machines #26]
Apr 20 • 51 min
In this episode I talk to Adam Marblestone about technology roadmapping, scientific gems hidden in plain sight, and systematically exploring complex systems.
Distributed Innovation with Jude Gomilla [Idea Machines #25]
Mar 30 • 58 min
In this episode I talk to Jude Gomilla about distributed innovation systems focused especially around the bottom-up response to the coronavirus crisis. Jude is a physicist, founder and CEO of the knowledge compilation platform Golden, and a prolific angel…
Analogies, Context, and Zettleconversation with Joel Chan [Idea Machines #24]
Mar 17 • 85 min
Intro In this episode I talk to about cross-disciplinary knowledge transfer, zettlekasten, and too many other things to enumerate. Joel is an a professor in the and a member of their . His research focuses on understanding and creating generalizable…
Funding Breakthrough Research with Anna Goldstein - [Idea Machines #23]
Feb 26 • 49 min
In this episode I talk to Anna Goldstein about how the ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) model works and what makes it unique. We focus on ARPA-E: the department of Energy’s version of DARPA that funds breakthrough energy research.
Systems of Progress with Jason Crawford - [Idea Machines #22]
Feb 15 • 64 min
In this episode I talk to Jason Crawford about his work on the history of progress, funding and incentivizing inventions, ideas behind their time, and more. Jason is the author of the Roots of Progress blog, where he focuses on telling the story of human…
Seeding Ecosystems with Eli Velasquez [Idea Machines #21]
Oct 12, 2019 • 46 min
In this episode I talk to Eli Velasquez about creating startup ecosystems, commercializing research, especially when it’s not necessarily venture-backable, and how the US government thinks about startups.
Bubbly Innovation with Bill Janeway [Idea Machines #20]
Sep 23, 2019 • 71 min
In this episode I talk to Bill Janeway about previous eras of venture capital and startups, how bubbles drive innovation, the role of government in innovation. Bill describes himself as “theorist-practitioner”: he did a PhD in Economics, was a successful…
Venturing into “Deep” Tech with Mark Hammond [Idea Machines #19]
Sep 13, 2019 • 46 min
In this episode I talk to Mark Hammond about how Deep Science Ventures works, why the linear commercialization model leaves a lot on the table, and the idea of venture-focused research. Mark is the founder of Deep Science Ventures, an organization…
Promoting Science Patronage with Alexey Guzey [Idea Machines #18]
Sep 6, 2019 • 63 min
Alexey Guzey is an independent researcher focusing on how to systemically increase the rate of biology discoveries and the idea that reviving the patronage system may be a way to do that. We spend most of our time talking about the project he’s been…
“Other” Options in Science and Companies with Cindy Wu and Denny Luan [Idea Machines #17]
Jun 17, 2019 • 55 min
Cindy Wu and Denny Luan are the founders of - a platform that allows anybody to request funding for a science project and anybody to fund them. It’s fascinating because it stands completely outside of the grant funding and publication…
Bridging Labs and Markets with Errol Arkilic [Idea Machines #15]
Jun 2, 2019 • 49 min
In this episode I talk to Errol Arkilic about different systems involved in turning research into companies.
Compounding Ideas with Sam Arbesman [Idea Machines #16]
May 24, 2019 • 53 min
In this conversation Sam Arbesman and I talk about unlocking cross-disciplinary innovations, long term organizations, combinatorial creativity and much more. As you might expect from someone with Generalist Thinking as a main area of interest, Sam has…
Unleashing Talent with Matt Clifford [Idea Machines #14]
May 12, 2019 • 51 min
In this episode I speak to Matt Clifford about talent investing, how big long term projects can start small, and financial innovations.
Sciencing Science with Evan Miyazono [Idea Machines #13]
Apr 1, 2019 • 58 min
In this episode I talk to Evan Miyazono about tackling metaresearch questions, how novel physical phenomena go from “oh that’s cool” to devices that harness cutting edge physics, and how we could better incentivize the creators of innovations where…
Inside (Publishing) Baseball [Idea Machines #12]
Mar 12, 2019 • 36 min
In this episode I talk to William Gunn about the guts of science publishing, changing incentives in science, and the relationship between publishing and funding.
New Things in Big Healthcare [Idea Machines #11]
Mar 4, 2019 • 50 min
In this episode I talk to Torben Nielsen about creating new products and systems in health insurance. We touch on the tension between insurer’s well-founded risk aversion and trying new things, the process of insurance companies working with startups, and…
Medical (d)Evolution with Dr. Robert McNutt [Idea Machines #10]
Feb 12, 2019 • 69 min
In this episode I talk to Dr Robert McNutt about medical innovation, medical research and publishing, and patient choice. Robert is a practicing oncologist who has been practicing medicine for decades.
Hacking Politics with Craig Montouri [Idea Machines #8]
Jan 12, 2019 • 52 min
In this episode I talk to Craig Montouri about nonprofits and politics. Specifically their constraints and possibilities for enabling innovations. Craig is the executive director at Global EIR - a nonprofit focused on connecting non-U.S. founders with…
NASA, Crowdsourcing, and Starshots with Mason Peck [Idea Machines #7]
Jan 1, 2019 • 53 min
My Guest this week is Mason Peck, Professor of Aerospace and Systems engineering at Cornell University and former Chief Technologist at NASA. Previously Mason was a was a Principal Fellow at Honeywell Aerospace and has an extremely colorful history we get…
Bypassing Systems with Gary Bradski [Idea Machines #9]
Dec 30, 2018 • 58 min
In this episode I talk to Gary Bradski about the creation of OpenCV, Willow Garage, and how to get around institutional roadblocks. Key Takeaways: - Aligning incentives inside of organizations is both essential and hard for innovation. - In research…
Accelerating Biotech with Jun Axup [Idea Machines #5]
Dec 25, 2018 • 59 min
In this episode I talk to Jun Axup about accelerating biotechnology, how to transition people and technology from academia to startups, the intersection of silicon valley and biology, and biology research in general.
Rethinking R&D with Adam Wiggins [Idea Machines #4]
Dec 18, 2018 • 51 min
My Guest this week is Adam Wiggins, the cofounder of Ink & Switch — an independent industrial research lab working on digital tools for creativity and productivity. The topic of the conversation is the future of product-focused R&D,…
Changing How We Do Science with Brian Nosek [Idea Machines #3]
Dec 7, 2018 • 58 min
My Guest this week is Brian Nosek, co-Founder and the Executive Director of the Center for Open Science. The topic of this conversation is how incentives in academia lead to problems with how we do science, how we can fix those problems, the center for…
Venture Capital Meets Fusion Power with Malcolm Handley [Idea Machines #2]
Dec 7, 2018 • 79 min
My Guest this week is Malcolm Handley, General Partner and Founder of Strong Atomics. The topic of this conversation is Fusion power - how it’s funded now, why we don’t have it yet, and how he’s working on making it a reality. We touch on funding…
NASA vs DARPA with Mark Micire [Idea Machines #1]
Dec 7, 2018 • 58 min
My Guest this week is Mark Micire, group lead for the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA’s Ames Research Center. Previously Mark was a program manager at DARPA, an Entrepreneur, and a volunteer firefighter. The topic of this conversation is how DARPA…