INFLUENCE podcast launches

INFLUENCE, South Africa’s newest ideas podcast, has launched. The podcast aims to reclaim intelligent conversation and challenge current perceptions on business, technology, communications and politics. It also aims to provide clarity on a world that is in constant flux.

According to INFLUENCE founder and host Lebo Madiba, the idea was to launch the platform as a philosophy that can counter the polarised conversations currently dominating the media.
Madiba says, “It is about conversations in a changing world and being a driver for intelligent thoughts and engagement. We may not always have the answers at hand but in this highly connected world, we have access to networked intelligence. It is in this space where we can gain some perspective and clarity.”

According to the podcast, it has been two years in the making and is run by a stellar team of communications experts and content producers. In each episode, Madiba speaks to global leaders, innovators and thinkers in business, technology and politics.

Madiba adds that INFLUENCE’s core principle of networked intelligence is based on the open-sourced ideas of:

  • collaboration
  • transparency
  • sharing, and
  • empowerment.

“Sherry Turkle, the author of Reclaiming Conversation, said intelligence used to mean possessing sensibility, sensitivity, awareness, discernment, reason, acumen and wit. Today, the definition of intelligence is warped to resemble cunning. With INFLUENCE, I look to exercise Turkle’s definition of intelligence,” says Madiba.

According to the podcast, while Madiba is aware that INFLUENCE is competing for listeners with thousands of other podcasts around the world, not many of those look to build a united human movement that aims to care for each other and the planet.

“We live in a world where we have at our fingertips all the information needed to keep conflict and climate change at bay. The trick is in how we are able to access that information and turn it into knowledge with the sensibility and sensitivity needed to solve our most urgent challenges,” adds Madiba.

Madiba looks to expand INFLUENCE in the near future to include seminars, conferences and broadcasting outlets to an audience that is discerning and curious.

While INFLUENCE covers topics on business, technology, politics and communications, its primary theme is environmental, social and governance (ESG), which threads through each episode.

Madiba says that she is a supporter of the ESG principle as she believes environmental and social justice is increasingly taking centre stage in the business world. It is quickly becoming a determinant for sustainability-minded investors and for consumers who want to buy products that are ethically sourced and manufactured.
Madiba adds that the world is experiencing numerous challenges all at once — from the Covid-19 pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine and environmental disasters such as the floods in KwaZulu-Natal — which means we need to urgently change our behaviour

“Through conversation, we can face these challenges head-on, seek clarity and define perspectives that would eventually lead to action. We are not talking to each other. And if we are talking, it is hardly about the important things that are beneficial for all life. We need to be good to each other and treat the planet with more respect,” says Madiba.

Communication as an agent of progress
Madiba has been in the communications arena for the better part of two decades and is the founder and CEO of PR Powerhouse. She says that she believes communication drives progress and a platform that encourages direct and open conversation is a boon in a democratic society.

Madiba adds, “What is needed in today’s social and political climate is frank discussion, one that sets aside the left-right political spectrum and party allegiances, and lays bare our thoughts and ideas that can move humankind forward.”

INFLUENCE aims to counter the online bubble whereby we only hear the ideas we already know and prefer.

Madiba says, “The virtual world might provide us with a lot of opportunities to connect with each other, but very little talking is happening. INFLUENCE will be that space where enriching conversation will take place.”

“In his essay The Gradual Production of Thoughts while Speaking, the poet and philosopher Heinrich von Kleist says we can foster meaningful dialogue through skilful questioning and that while appetite comes from eating, ideas come from speaking. As the host of INFLUENCE, I take his aphorism to heart and have applied it to each episode,” Madiba concludes.

Individuals can access the podcast by searching for INFLUENCE on their favourite podcasting platforms.

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