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When Something Doesn't Exist, Make It Yourself

Educated By Design Blog

When Something Doesn't Exist, Make It Yourself

Michael Cohen

In the Fall, I will be launching a unique and exciting project with one of my high school students, Ariel Mansano, Class of 2020. The project, is a podcast call Beyond The Test. The podcast’s mission is to connect with professionals who are innovating in their industry and share their stories of passion, self-awareness, and pursuing their dreams with high school students to empower them to believe they could do the same.

Beyond the Test Podcast.jpg

You might wonder, why is this podcast different than every other podcast? 

Before I answer that let me share some backstory around the project. 

First I have a confession to make, and that is that I am slightly (not slightly) addicted to podcasts. Whether its Gary Vee, CoolCatTeacher, Beyond Influential, Presentable, Cult of Pedagogy, or Ditch That Textbook, I find myself binging podcasts multiple times a day. I also talk A LOT about podcasts with my students in my Entrepreneur Spark Studio course, to the point that it might have started to get annoying. You have THAT question? Have you listened to that podcast? You want to learn about that? There is this one Gary Vee episode. It got to the point, that one day my student Ariel lodged a complaint against me. He said that “if he wanted to get into business there is a podcast, if he wanted to get into marketing there is a podcast, but what if he doesn’t know what I want to be? There is no podcast for high school students trying to figure out life!” My knee jerk response was to say, “Well why do you make your own?” It was at that point that I realized that creativity and entrepreneurship is more about fixing a problem that others might not notice than anything else. The risky part is being able to identify if the reason no one noticed the “problem”,  is because it isn’t actually a problem, but that is another blog post all together. 

So we set out to create that podcast and this is how we're doing it.  


We started with a list of interesting peoples and industries. We reached out to over 30 people and much to my chagrin people actually responded! I say chagrin because this isn’t the first podcast I have launched a podcast, and most people didn’t make time for my invitation to be interviewed the first time around. When I said it was with a high school co-host for high school students, the response was swift and welcoming. Interesting right?

Then we authored a series of foundational questions for two reasons. The first is that by having those “essential questions” with different answers from each guest, we were creating the possibility for incredible anecdotal research around creative problem solving. After recording the first season of 10-15 episodes, and listening to them while taking notes, we actually have the ability to synthesize the ideas of huge thought leaders, influencers, and recognized professionals in their industries. This still allowed for organic questions based on the flow of the conversation to make each episode unique and interesting.  

The next step was to set a strategize and organize communication, scheduling, and the tech end of the project, which in of itself was a huge challenge to overcome traversing FOUR different platforms as we stove to find the simplest and most reliable ways to record a podcast with someone across the country or the world. 

The final piece is to have fun! My co-host shared in an interview during my ISTE Keynote, that when he was interviewing a former VP at Apple he was smiling ear to ear the entire time. This is because he had an idea, made a plan, did something about it, and most importantly was trying to provide value for others.

With guests from Twitch, Snapchat, the Virtual Reality industry, eSports, Social Media Marketing, and a former Apple Exec, this podcast is packed with incredible innovative power.

This podcast is different because it brings value to an audience that is outside of demographic that most podcasts creators are thinking about.  

That is what creative is all about. Seeing the world different and doing something about it.