Skip to main content
Censemaking: The Innovation Podcast

Censemaking: The Innovation Podcast

By Cameron Norman
This podcast is about the art and science of making things that people value and how to create change in the world - innovation. It is for anyone who's looking to transform their lives, their work, their organizations and communities and wanted to learn how to make it so. Censemaking brings together design, psychology, systems thinking, creativity, and evaluation to help demystify and illuminate innovation. Join us for your next coffee break as we bring together ideas, tools, people, and practical examples backed by the science of how we change and make things people love.
Where to listen
Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


Currently playing episode

To Know is Not Always To Do

Censemaking: The Innovation Podcast

13. Coffee and Change
"Everyone has to believe in something. I believe I'll have another cup of coffee" - Many of us.  Coffee (or tea or whatever you enjoy) is more than a drink: it's a vehicle for innovation. The cafe culture that began in Turkey, spread through Europe and brought a humble bean (actually, it's a cherry!) from Africa, South America, and Indonesia to cups around the world is both a literal and metaphorical embodiment of innovation. In this episode, we speak about what it is about coffeehouses and innovation and what lessons we can learn from what they bring.  We look at how coffee can bring people together, give pause, and create a third space for us to learn, share, create, and innovate. Thanks for spending your coffee break listening to this episode. For more to learn, visit the links below:  James Donison's Reaching for the Middle Podcast: Ray Oldenberg's Third Space/Place theory: The Evolution of the Coffee House: Spurce Eats Hugo Coffee's The Incredible History of Coffee Houses: From Beer to Caffeine: A History of the Coffeehouse: Censemaking: This is Season 2, Episode 1 - for more on the entire series follow, like, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. 
June 29, 2022
Getting Out More
Change is a participation activity; you actually have to do something to make it meaningful. In Season 1 of Censemaking: The Innovation Podcast we looked at 10 factors that influence innovation and change-making. We talked about the bedrock, the foundations, and the ideas that support change-making in almost any context.  This season we are going to talk about how to put them into action and do that. We're going to be out in the world telling stories, sharing strategies, and discussing the practical challenges of change-making from all kinds of settings and locations. It's going to be a little different, but then that's what change is all about -- right?  Join us as we bring together design, psychology, systems thinking, evaluation, and health promotion to prepare you in becoming an agent of change and someone ready to take on the many challenges of the day and the ones on their way.  For more information and to keep connected visit us at and also subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates, tools, lessons, and resources for change-making and innovation. 
June 20, 2022
Sticking Our Change-making Together With Glue
Change and innovation come down to 10 factors and the one that holds everything together is (non-technically) called glue. Glue represents the tools, techniques, and strategies that connect knowledge and skills together. Glue helps us to shape our outcome expectations and provides a means for us to work with others, design our environments and spaces, and enhance our confidence. Tools and techniques are what we will cover in season two and beyond. In this episode, we recap what we've learned in this first season and set ourselves up for how to make innovation and changing making real in the seasons to come. So sit back, grab a coffee and let's talk glue and bring it all together as we conclude season one of Censemaking: The Innovation Podcast.  For more information about change-making and innovation visit us at We regularly post blogs, a toolkit series, and share a newsletter that comes out every two weeks on things we've found that focus on helping people to innovate. NOTES: Clips from Adam Savage's wonderful maker-focused show Tested on YouTube come from:  Adam Savage's Favorite Tools: Superglue and Glue Accelerators  Ask Adam Savage: "Why I Actually Hate Duct Tape" You'll be amazed at how much building robots, homes, and more mirror change-making and design in other parts of life.  This series is a production of Cense Ltd. where we focus on helping organizations change through consulting and coaching, strategic design and education to those interested in learning more.  The theme music is by the remarkable Kevin McLeod (Maccaray Bay) and is used under license. 
April 01, 2022
Creative Environments for Change-Making
What's in your environment? Is there something that inspires you, motivates you, or draws you closer or further away from what you want to create? That's the role of aesthetics, design, physical space, and how we perceive it all. In this episode, we continue our look at the 10 factors for change by looking at the role the environment plays in shaping change. We'll look at the role of design, beauty and why you might want to spend more time investing in creating a space you like and work you love than you realized.  Notes:  Steven de Groot has been at the forefront of work linking aesthetics to all kinds of positive things in the workplace and to work itself. His book is exceptional and I was asked to do a review of it (which you can read here). It's available through most major booksellers.  The journal Organisational Aesthetics is filled with research that connects beauty and aesthetics to performance, work satisfaction, and wellbeing.  The effect on light and mood has been well-studied, including this meta-analysis of many different trials.  A 2019 study in the journal Nature looked found that 120 minutes a week spent in nature can yield significant positive health and mental health benefits.  Ecopsychology is the emerging field that connects mental wellbeing to environments and this article provides a good introduction to what it is and what we know about it. 
March 17, 2022
Change and Support (With a Little Help from Our Friends)
One of the biggest myths in change-making and innovation is that of the heroic innovator or change-maker. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Real change comes from having support from others. It may not be all the support we want or in the way we want it, but no one has succeeded widely without support from someone. We are not islands. And yet, we can create islands of support within our lives and communities. In this episode we look at the role of support and why it matters for innovators and change-making.  Show notes:  If you want to see what it means to create Innovation Hubs or districts this series of reports from the Brookings Institution provides some insight into how they can be created and what they do once they are up.  There is an abundance of research on the ways social support manifests itself into individual-level behaviour change. A 2017 article looked at not just one behaviour, but multiple behaviours.  Thanks for listening. This podcast is a production of Cense Ltd. Cense is a firm that supports people -- organizations, leaders, managers -- in making change happen. For more details and opportunities to learn about change-making and innovation, visit us at 
February 16, 2022
Conditions Are Perfect
What would it take to turn you into a hero or an uncaring and cruel authoritarian? It might be the right conditions. Conditions shape much of what we do, yet often don’t get a lot of credit. Unlike the myth of the self-made man (or woman), understanding conditions means recognizing that some things are out of our hands, some results are due to luck, and that there are ways we can best leverage what we have in ways we didn’t know possible.  In this episode, we look at the place of conditions in shaping behaviour change and innovation. We’ll look at studies from psychology and provide recommendations for how you can better live with and shape the conditions for change around you.  Show Notes:  
The Stanford Prison Experiment is among the most famous and notorious studies in social psychology. It’s been called everything from being a deeply flawed experiment to outright fraudulent; either way, it still shows how conditions shape outcomes. Stanley Milgram’s obedience study is controversial for other reasons, mostly on account of its ethics and how people were treated in dealing with what became a very traumatic experience for some. Both studies would not be allowed today.  Ali Abdaal has a great review of the book The Unfair Advantage (by Ash Ali & Hasan Kubba) which highlights how we all have limitations imposed on us that aren’t fair and how we can leverage the advantages we have better.  This podcast is a production of Cense Ltd. where we do this kind of work — innovation, design, and psychology — to help organizations to success, strategize, and navigate change.  For more information on change-making, articles on innovation, and ideas about transformation visit Censemaking at Closing credit clip sampled from “Business Time” by Flight of the Conchords.
February 04, 2022
Time and Space for Change
Change requires time and space. In this episode, we look at how these two ideas come together and what the sweet spot for innovation sits balancing time and space together. We look at the work of psychologist Anders Ericsson and mention Malcolm Gladwell's summary of that work and how finding the right spot between time and space can make the difference between high performance and utter failure.  George Carlin - There is No Time  Foo Fighters - Times Like These (SME) Not included, but still good and relevant is Give Me Some Space by Say It Loud Censemaking the blog:  For help in change-making, learning and innovation: Cense Ltd.
January 18, 2022
Great Expectations: How What We Expect Can Shape What We Get
When Pandora opened her box of miseries the one she managed to trap was hope. Our expectations can be a source of great motivation for change and set us up for disappointment.  In this episode, we look at the place of expectations in shaping how we change. We will look at research on mindset and how our perception of opportunities and limitations can shape our performance. We'll also hear about how those expectations can translate into real physiological benefits by looking at placebos and their role in change-making. We go through research, practice, and tips to help you set expectations and deliver on promises a little better. That and much more on the latest episode of Censemaking: The Innovation Podcast. Episode notes: Farnam Street has a great primer on Carol Dweck's work on Mindsets for those who want to learn more The original study on motel works and the placebo effect is available for free from Harvard University Paul "Bear" Bryant clip: Friday Night Lights clip: For more on change-making and innovation, visit:
January 04, 2022
Confidence - From Going to the Moon to Landing Success
Confidence can mean a matter of life and death -- literally. Having the confidence to pursue something is at the heart of change-making and innovation. It's not natural to be confident about things we've never done before so building it and using it can mean a lot. In this episode, we look at what confidence means, how we can nurture it, and take in some lessons from history about when confidence serves us and when it doesn't. We continue with our first season look at the foundations of change-making and innovation.  For more information visit: 
December 06, 2021
To Know is Not Always To Do
Knowledge is the bedrock of change, but it is often not enough to take us from one place to another by itself. In this episode, we look at the idea of knowledge and what it means for making change and innovation happen. We will look at three types of knowledge every innovator needs why too much knowledge can be a bad thing, and why knowing what you don’t know can be a way to knowing more about what you do (know). Coffee’s on, let’s talk innovation. For more information and visit us anytime at .
November 04, 2021
Got Skills?
It’s hard to make any change or innovation without having skills — but which ones? In this episode we look at the basic concept of skills and what it means to gain them, use them, and what kind of skills help us to innovate and change well. We’ll look at ideas like metaskills and draw on the example of architecture and the visual production experience of JimJamPro’s James Donison to highlight what skills look like in practice. For more information about the topics in this episode visit us at
November 01, 2021
Doctor Heal Thyself (Why it Took 10 Years To Make a Podcast)
What happens when a doctor who prescribes strategies and support for behaviour change won’t change himself? This first episode was more than 10 years in the making for that very reason. Ten years yielded 10 lessons about change that are backed up by science (and a lot of struggle). We open this series up by looking at the psychological factors that influence how we innovate using a real world example of making a podcast. For more on this episode and the 10 factors for behaviour change and design visit
September 08, 2021
Introducing Censemaking
Even the best efforts to create a perfect product can be thwarted by unexpected issues and recording a podcast is no different. We can let the interruptions, disruptions, and hiccups of the world prevent us from making a difference or we can design for disruption and innovate for the real world. The Censemaking Innovation Podcast is all about innovation and what it means to do this in practice. It’s about making change and designing our products, services, and ourselves for the way the world is and not just how we want it. Join me, Dr. Cameron Norman, as I explore the world of innovation from psychology to design to systems thinking, strategy, evaluation and the entire art, science and practice of making change happen.
July 29, 2021