Nitish Upadhyaya leads the ideas and investment (i2) team within Allen & Overy’s Legal Technology Group, prototyping and delivering solutions which tackle pain points raised by A&O staff and clients.
A former litigator, Nitish is fascinated by people and the processes by which we can surface, refine, communicate and action ideas effectively. It’s little surprise that Nitish is also passionate about behavioural science and user centric design to make better decisions, challenge assumptions, structure thinking and create great solutions to novel problems.
In this interview we also touch on the critical importance of change management, fostering an open culture and embracing the adjacent possible to gradually push the forward frontier of innovation within large organisations rather than chase elusive moonshots.
Nitish is a great example of someone who has found their groove at the intersection of several interests and experiences, spanning law, technology, behavioural science and design – all of which are increasingly critical to the future of law.
Outside of work, Nitish is also a prolific explorer (his most recent trip was to Ethiopia) and is an impressive travel photographer.
So how does a litigator segue into innovation? Let’s find out!
Nitish, how did your career begin?
After university I completed my training contract at A&O. I had a chance to do four quite different seats in project finance, securitisation, financial and regulatory litigation and derivatives.
My final seat was in Hong Kong – a chance to explore a new part of the world but also to get to grips with what an international law firm is really all about. You can do transactions and cases with people from all around the world from London, but there’s no substitute for experiencing different cultures (and appreciating the impact of time zones).
I’m a big traveller. Spending lots of time in Hong Kong also gave me a fantastic base to go and explore Southeast Asia and Japan. In many ways, it was the genesis for me in terms of also wanting to travel more and really taking advantage of that whenever possible.
I’ve always tried to intersperse my career with lots of travel. Before I joined A&O I took six months off to travel South America and work in Tanzania, and every couple of years I’ve managed to complete a big trip. It’s kept me sane and has also fed my other passions – travel photography (see here for some of Nitish’s amazing shots) and food!
At the end of my training contract I qualified into litigation. I did so at an interesting time. The post-Lehman Brothers cases were still rumbling on regarding misselling of financial products, including complex derivatives, and also around that same time was when international forex trading was subject to big regulatory investigations – these were massively complex, involving multiple jurisdictions and lots of different regulators. This made for some very topical and complex work to start my qualified career.
Whilst in litigation I had the chance to work in New York and DC, which meant extensive time facing US regulators along with plenty of time in the UK Commercial Court. The work covered everything from ridiculous freezing injunctions at about two minutes notice to scoping and presenting remediation initiatives to regulators with clients.
A freezing injunction is a court order that prevents a party from disposing of or dealing with its assets. The idea is to prevent a defendant – whether innocent or guilty – to an action from dissipating their assets from beyond the jurisdiction of a court so as to frustrate a potential judgment. A freezing injunction is therefore an essential tool for those looking to protect assets to ensure those assets are available to satisfy a court order.
All in all it was pretty varied!
However, as much as I loved working with the litigation team, I began to think it wasn’t what I wanted to do long-term. I spoke to my sponsor partners at A&O and organised a career break, taking 9 months off. The openness with which I was able to have this conversation endeared me to the firm even more.
In that time I went travelling again and also worked with my charity, the Mondo Foundation to scope and launch an employability project in Nepal, working alongside the British Embassy in Nepal, British Council, the DiFID and social entrepreneurs.
I’ve been working with Mondo Foundation for well over ten years, including before I joined A&O. My work with the Mondo Foundation is something I’ve carried with me throughout my time at A&O, and the firm has always been incredibly supportive of my involvement with the project, so it was great to spend some focused time with them whilst on my career break. I recently stepped down as trustee to help refresh the Board but still maintain strong links with the Foundation.
Mondo Foundation is a UK based charity that works to provide sustainable support for education and livelihoods in developing countries. Mondo Foundation was established in 2004 and works primarily in NE India, Nepal and Tanzania. Mondo Foundation works to empower local communities, working on projects that are bottom-up in nature and therefore predicated on long-term sustainability.
Did your career break change how you viewed your career, and what you wanted to do next?
Yes it did. I came back and realised by then that I didn’t want to return to litigation. I’d started to look at the world in a different way. I’d begun thinking about using my experiences as a practising lawyer and the ways in which to rethink how myself and my colleagues worked. That led me into taking on an innovation role at A&O upon my return. In essence I’d realised that I was more and more interested in the business of law and transforming that, than necessarily the practising element alone.
And that brings us up to date – I now lead the innovation team at A&O, known as i2.
Can you tell us a little about i2?
Certainly. My role at i2 focuses on prototyping and delivering solutions which tackle pain points raised by A&O staff and clients. We take crowdsourced ideas from concept to prototype and onwards to core investment. We also help stakeholders think differently about challenges, be it getting a new view on how to run a process or developing their longer term strategy.
My team includes an innovation manager, business analysts, a UX / UI specialist and a bench of developers, and we utilise design thinking methodology to build out concepts, prove value and deliver solutions. My core role is encouraging people to think about, and do, things differently against the background of facilitating genuine, sustainable behaviour change.
In action that means a broad range of activities. One day I might be focused on crafting and leading user-centred design workshops with participants across the globe to surface problems and challenge assumptions in advance of process or product development. On another day, I’ll be advising on the adoption of new technology and leading change management exercises using a behavioural lens, including in the creation and testing of messaging, designing for incremental change, and stakeholder management.
These activities tend to generate a lot of enthusiasm and engagement. For me my role is about chasing the fun – it lets me express my creativity, help others do the same, and at the same time make a tangible difference by pulling together lots of different learning from across the different domains and the many diverse individuals at A&O and on the client side.
Touching on that point, what were the initial things that drew you toward an innovation role?
I’ve always been really interested in human behavior. The more time I spent crunching through bog standard processes with colleagues and clients, the more it became apparent to me that these processes weren’t primed for efficiency in the sense of being aligned to how and why people behave as they do. We weren’t learning lessons and improving things.
Part of that comes with the territory of modern legal practice – everyone is always busy and working hard and doesn’t naturally have the headspace to zoom out and assess whether things can be improved, or should be improved, and if so, how and why.
As a practising lawyer, you’re immersed in law, trying to build your career, engaging with clients, keeping up with your legal knowledge and so on. There’s only so much your head can handle, and very little free time to spend on other activities like process improvement or product development even if, ironically, doing so would improve your work / life balance and career progression.
I needed to get outside of that, to create the space you need for creativity and thinking outside the box about processes and systems, and to engage with the right people, to learn from them and to work with them.
As soon as you create that space, you gain this magical perspective on how things work. You are building links with other people in the industry or outside of the industry. It’s those outside viewpoints I think that are really important, and keep me going, because they demonstrate that just because something is done this way, and has been for some time, that it isn’t the only way and can in all likelihood be improved, often with learnings from other disciplines.
Are there particular aspects of organisational change that your innovation role and team prioritises?
There’s this wonderful theory of the adjacent possible, where you’ve got crazy ideas at the periphery of what’s generally possible based on the status quo, and between that and the status quo there is a breadth of more immediately doable things. Those things, if tackled, form stepping stones to the massively transformational projects at the periphery. It’s those in between things that are the adjacent possible ideas. These ideas usually need a push, and together can add up to something significant that nudges the organisation toward truly transformational change.
The key thing is that you can’t easily leapfrog the adjacent possible. It’s very hard to do, i.e. to skip several steps. People do, of course, and you get an almighty new invention, but maybe less so in professional services.
In some ways it’s like learning a new skill – you can’t go from paint by numbers to a masterpiece, you need to level up through intermediate skill acquisition. There are few shortcuts!
In the initial stages of my new role, this is what I focused on – tackling the adjacent possible ideas.
It works well because you are starting from ideas that people are already aware of, and to different degrees understand and to which there is already institutional openness.
As such, and importantly, these ideas aren’t so radical as to seem impossible or remote in their conception or the steps required to action them. The only reason the adjacent possible ideas haven’t yet been tackled is usually bandwidth – individuals and teams not having the time to think about the ideas and execute upon them.
So the real joy of my job is being a specialist at spotting these adjacent possible ideas, facilitating their solution among our teams and clients, and thereby consistently pushing the frontier forward into successively more innovative ideas and opportunities further out and nearer the periphery of what’s possible.
At A&O I’m lucky to have a sort of significant technology team behind me to help implement these ideas. Complementing this further is A&O Fuse, which is an amazing space, giving lawyers and start up teams opportunity for spontaneous and relaxed interactions.
You can walk around Fuse, speak to different start-ups or individuals working there and simply ask them “Hey, what do you think about this idea. Can we have a quick coffee to discuss?” or “How do you think this works out? Is this a silly idea or is there something in it?” or “Can we work together on solving this or that? What do you think?”.
Fuse is a good example of how creating the right environment can foster that open collaboration and make things less formal. In the more traditional set-up these types of interactions would require making an appointment and visiting someone at their office etc, all of which add unhelpful friction to these more creative interactions. I’ve certainly missed this casual interaction during the pandemic.
In summary, what drew me to the role is the opportunity to interrogate things from a different perspective, the chance to harness and apply my creativity and to explore things from a human centred perspective. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a techie. I have a vague and increasing understanding of coding and software engineering and the design principles that surround it, but my focus is on the before and after, understanding how people interact with problems, processes, each other, solutions and ideas and turning those observations into actionable insights to create, improve or update the products and services we are building at A&O for colleagues and clients. Knowing what people say they do and understanding what they actually do are often very different things. A lot of my job is understanding that disconnect and helping individuals and teams solve their actual versus assumed needs.
The i2 team sounds like a great mix of specialisms like the Avengers, where everyone brings their own separate but complementary skills and experiences in solution of multi-disciplinary problems that can’t be solved alone. Do you think this is the preferable set-up vs trying to cram multiple skills and functions into a handful of innovation Jacks or Janes of all trades?
To my mind, the way we have i2 set up is very fortunate, and the better approach.
As any individual, if you’re wearing too many hats too often, you’re context switching a lot, and probably far too much. Context switching is cognitively costly. These switches interrupt thinking and productivity. It doesn’t make sense when viewed from that perspective. It’s as simple as that.
The other thing to say is that if you can afford to create specialist roles filled by specialists, for example, a UX / UI designer, that individual will be keeping up to date with trends in the market, and bring a wealth of experience with them into the role and into the wider team and by extension, the organisation.
When an experienced UX / UI expert enters a room, they bring credibility and knowledge about the thing that they do, much like a developer does when the conversation pivots to software engineering aspects of a project. These perspectives are important and need to be enabled, encouraged and respected.
A good balance is what we’ve built, a team combining legal domain knowledge with outside expertise, that together means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
And that makes a massive difference.
No doubt there are a minority of superhuman individuals who thrive on juggling four or maybe five roles. Start-up founders are perhaps that type, at least initially, but they usually and often quite quickly, need to relinquish control, delegate and build a diverse team of complementary talents and experiences.
And so while a lot of law firm innovation functions may start off with one or two people who are doing a lot of things, and very quickly need to prove that they make sense as a function, there soon comes a point where it makes more sense to begin creating specialist roles and a multidisciplinary team.
Your organization is poorer for not having diversity of specialisms because of the cognitive diversity such teams create, especially where your team is leveraging experiences from different industries, not just law.
Even with larger and more established teams, the missing component is usually someone with the UX / UI and general design skills. Often the first specialist hires at legal organisations are the developers or analysts, and sometimes teams stop there. Whilst those personas are part of the solution, it still leaves a gap for good design, which those individuals may not necessarily possess, or desire to learn.
Why do you think it is that important to have a strong design capability in the team such as yours?
When developing any product or service, you need to find common ground among users of different types – the unmet need that they share, and the general execution on that problem that best solves that need for the most people in the best possible way.
What you do not want to do is solve that need for a singular person.
Often when I work with lawyers they have a very specific view of what a solution needs to be, look like and function in a certain way… yet in reality it might make no sense to 99% of similar users. The thing that they articulate may very well be only their view of the world.
That view is important, and should be listened to. However, it is only one view. You need to gather other views and test these against each other to understand where the common ground lies, which will be a starting point for development of a common solution that scales.
Having design skills in the team can help tease out the unmet needs of a cohort of users and balance those against individual requirements where appropriate.
Compared to your earlier career as a litigator, was there anything you found particularly transferable to your current role, and equally anything you’ve had to unlearn from that role in order to succeed in your current role?
I think the reason I went into litigation instead of a transactional team was because I really enjoy pulling things apart rather than putting things together, which sounds strange given my current role!
It’s given me that critical eye in terms of what’s going to go wrong or could go wrong, and ability to question things in a structured manner.
That is useful when trying to assess which of several competing ideas are better or worse than one another, and kill an idea if it isn’t or becomes unworkable.
Just because somebody is shouting really loudly about an idea, their idea, doesn’t mean it’s a good one. I find my litigation background useful to assess the arguments for and against an idea, and to challenge – in a sensitive way – other people’s ideas.
It’s not about writing off ideas, but allowing ideas to be tested and thereby letting the best ideas win, rather than politics or personalities.
Once you’ve got the best ideas tested and prioritised, then you’ve got plenty of people who love doing the building and putting things together and that sort of thing.
That interrogative ability is also useful to keep things in check.
Innovation roles and activities can easily get a little carried away – and actually what you really need to do is to calm down and say:
“Let’s just take a step back for a moment to think about this. Is this the right course of action? Are their other options? Can we structure the thinking? Can we go to the root cause? Can we test these options and remove some of the subjectivity? Let me spend a couple of days working with you in your day-to-day, and let’s see how that works and whether or not those observations change what we wish to pull together, and what you need etc.”
I think this really comes from my litigation background. You get used to reading people, and assessing if a witness is fudging a point or if their story is muddled or their thinking unclear. A lot of my current role is to test other people’s ideas, diplomatically getting individuals to think twice about their idea and to back it up, or be prepared to back it up, with some evidence to understand whether or not the idea is worth pursuing.
It’s not uncommon for someone to have an idea, but not really have thought about its value beyond themselves. Simply asking them how many times a year they encounter the problem, how much of an issue it is, whom else it affects and the relative impact of it not being solved can start to get that person’s gears going, and help them do some of the homework about whether or not this idea is only important to them and no one else, or a macro problem that has significant wider value if solved.
The other side of litigation I enjoyed, and enjoy applying in my current role is writing. I really just love writing.
That energy isn’t necessarily directed towards writing publications and that sort of thing. As a litigator you’re taught to make every sentence count. If you’re trying to persuade someone that your point of view, your conclusions and the arguments that back them are the right ones. To do that, you need to be able to write well. Writing can be an excellent way to focus and hone that message. As a litigator you get good at storytelling, which is a critical communication tool for innovation roles.
Good communication is also crucially important in an innovation role because your job is to translate between technologists and lawyers and other business personas to ensure that each side understands each other in the right way. Getting those communications correct makes a big difference in terms of how people perceive things, how they frame a problem and a solution. It also makes the difference between successful or unsuccessful collaboration.
If there’s anything I’ve had to unlearn, it’s that you don’t need to work crazy hours to accomplish a remarkable amount. A normal work day well organised is more than enough, and significantly better overall.
The legal industry moves at a million miles an hour, and in the long term that can have a real impact on its people and their wellbeing. You need the space to disconnect, reset and return to work revitalised. Simply working all the time and always being on doesn’t allow that space, which is key to more creative disciplines like the one I am in today. It’s probably more a general lawyer mindset I’ve had to unlearn in that regard more than a litigation specific mindset.
But with the right thinking, the right mindset and the right team you can formulate much better ways of working and achieve some pretty striking results within a normal working day.
You have to trust yourself, and be disciplined. For instance, yesterday I had two slots, each two and half hours, where I just switched off my emails and made the space for deep work. Unsurprisingly, the world didn’t end in those two windows! It never does. Overall I got a lot more done, both in terms of quantity and quality of output. This type of discipline is something I’ve learnt to do and it’s been really surprising, in a great way, how much more productive I am within those hours. That said, it’s not always possible as a lawyer, which is another reason I decided to make the career switch, and why I’ve really enjoyed this role. I love being able to make time for deep work that is creative.
You’re also undertaking an MSc in Behavioural Science at the LSE. What excited you about the MSc – is it the general interest in that subject matter you mentioned? What are you hoping to learn from it, and are you looking to apply those learnings to your current work?
I think that the starting point is very much a prevailing interest in people. If you look at the world at the moment, you think about fake news and polarisation, or you think about diversity and inclusion, or you think about the state of politics, a lot of that is human behavior and lots of it stems from entrenched problems.
This makes for an incredibly fertile time to study human behaviour. I want to understand that, and on a personal level, make better decisions.
The fun part for me is the combination of psychology and other disciplines to essentially answer the question of how do we make better decisions? And then ultimately, how do you then apply that to your organization? For example, how do you kick off a project and make sure you’re actually thinking about all the things that could go wrong at the start, and planning for them upfront and navigating any behavioural pitfalls?
Thinking about innovation specifically, having a better understanding of behavioural science aids in change management and adoption of new processes and technologies. You can’t simply send out mass email after mass email highlighting a new technology or process and expect instant and prolific adoption across your organisation. You need to understand behaviours and how to use these to your advantage in order to drive change.
It’s another example of what I was describing earlier – the need in law for legal organisations to learn around their domain, to leverage the best ideas from other domains and bring in outside expertise, whether through individuals, training or both.
For me that adjacent discipline is behavioural science, for others its data science or software engineering etc. The key thing is enriching the business of law with these types of outside expertise and experiences – this is going to be fundamental to the industry’s continuing evolution, and its survival.
The pace of change is fast, and perhaps faster than we realize. I was talking to a client yesterday, who said, “Why has the reliance on and recourse to our intranet diminished? What’s changed?”.
My answer was that in their daily lives, people use Google. People expect the same user experience, same ability to search and locate information – but that’s generally far from intuitive on aging intranet sites. The user interface and experience generally isn’t there for technology used in the professional sphere by lawyers (although that is changing)
If you look at any popular consumer product it will be heavily design driven. Those businesses are thinking about behaviour. They are trying to fit the needs of real users, rather than some random stereotype of whatever an individual thinks a user is or might be. Those businesses have spent countless hours refining user stories and user journeys, testing interfaces and experiences with real users and as a result hitting upon products and services that users love.
A good example are mobile only banking start-ups. They’ve totally rethought the traditional experience, and have done away with many of the clunky processes consumers detested but accepted absent of better alternatives. These newer entrants are leapfrogging incumbents through great design, hiving off customers and business in the process.
However when you use products and services in your professional life, particularly in large organisations, those products and services often remain quite clunky and poorly designed. Businesses that are prioritising design as part of their long term strategy will be the ones that prosper. They are going to be fun places to work, the organisations that hoover up the best talent and not full of dinosaurs.
So in summary, my MSc is driven by a combination of personal interest and practical application. The other part is personal improvement – as I say, how I can make better decisions in my life and help others do the same? That’s a key question I want to answer.
That’s very true regarding the disconnect between consumer and enterprise solutions. In many legal innovation efforts, receptiveness to design principles – and doing them properly – remains quite immature, but where it’s enabled and supported by an open minded and respectful culture it can make such a big difference to the success of those projects.
Likewise, clients are starting to expect that certain services be delivered via experiences more akin to those they experience with other professional advisors, and in their consumer life.
Those experiences are raising the bar for legal, and legal has some catching up to do!
There’s a big opportunity for law firms to get this right, which leads nicely into my next question.
What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for legal innovation, including law firms, in-house teams, and maybe from a vendor perspective as well?
I think the ultimate goal is to instill an innovation mindset in individuals, and create an innovation culture within an organisation.
That is the biggest opportunity, and perhaps the biggest challenge.
If every single individual in an organisation is enabled and encouraged to think about innovation in the way they work, so much so that it’s just another core competency, then you raise the probability that individuals and teams will constantly improve how they work and the value they create for colleagues and consumers of their output.
Now that is obviously easier said than done. At its core it’s about creating a safe space to experiment and take calculated risks, and be instantly supported in doing that.
It’s also about making sure individuals know that their ideas will be actioned (or get feedback on why not). Creating a culture and group expectation that ideas will need to be tested and that many ideas won’t make it all or even part of the way. If you can provide constructive feedback on why not, it breeds further ideas and an openness to exploring new thinking.
That’s the opportunity.
If you succeed, you are harnessing the minds of hundreds or thousands of really bright people in your organisation.
In a law firm many of those people will have exceptionally strong analytical and problem-solving skills they use everyday to solve legal problems for clients. Those same skills can be powerfully applied to solve business of law problems that enable the innovation of the organisation’s processes, products and services. Enabling those individuals to find the time and create the right environment in which to explore and solve those business of law problems can be really energising for teams, and all the more so where you find opportunities to collaborate with clients.
For anyone looking to get into this space a lot of what we’ve discussed would be super useful for them to understand and apply in their current role, but do you have any other tips you would provide to individuals looking to make a similar transition from a legal role to an innovation role?
It’s a tough question because so many journeys can be quite unique. I think that’s probably part of it – embrace your unique experience because everyone’s got a different perspective, whether that’s the transactional lawyer being up all night trying to juggle conditions precedent checklists and thinking “there has to be a better way” or a litigator building chronologies in MS Word manually and despairing at the umpteenth time they’ve manually entered the time, date and content of an email that forms part of the evidential chain.
You should also add to your experiences. If you’re looking at yourself and thinking, “I’m a four year qualified banking lawyer, and all I’ve done is CPs and churning out the same documents day in day out and generally feeling incredibly specialist in a progressively narrow niche”, you need to make space to acquire alternative experiences.
The other thing to do is to keep records of relevant experiences, or things you’ve done as a lawyer that do have transferable skills to other roles and organisations. It’s easy to forget when you’re working crazy hours the many things you do that really aren’t legal specific, and absolutely transferable to other roles, especially when communicated in the language that other roles ascribe to those skills. Understanding the language that other roles use and joining the dots between that language, the skills it describes and the things you do as a lawyer will help you build out your portfolio of demonstrable transferable skills and experiences.
A good example is transaction management, which overlaps with project management. If you’ve managed multiple interlocking transactions for a client over a longer period for a larger goal, you’ve basically been doing a form of programme management.
That’s not to say lawyers have all the skills, but simply that you can close any perceived transferable skills gap by a good amount by mapping the relevant parts of your legal role to the corresponding tasks or skills of a non-legal role. Talking in legalistic terms will miss the mark even if what you are actually describing is relevant to the role you’re considering.
Know your audience and learn their language!
If there are opportunities at your firm or otherwise where you can express creativity or take your career in a slightly different direction then seize those opportunities. If you have an innovation, legaltech or ops team and they are running initiatives – volunteer! And don’t wait for opportunities – seek them out. Teams like mine relish the chance to work with enthusiastic individuals.
It is going to be quite scary. If you’re a lawyer, you’ve probably sweated to get into the right university, get the right grades on the LPC, get the right training contract, get the right department upon qualification and so on. And then you might be sat there 3 or 4 years into a qualified role… and the thought of sidestepping, let alone completely pivoting is terrifying.
But it can also be liberating.
It’s also worth understanding that the way law is practised today will likely look very different in five or ten years time. If you’re not generally thinking about the future, and how your role – even as a lawyer – might change, then you aren’t going to be well prepared for when those questions do arise as you progress, whatever your role, even if you stick with lawyering.
For instance, on the lawyer side, as you progress you will need to develop a business plan and demonstrate how you can bring new business to the firm, and a part of that will be thinking differently. You really don’t want to overlook that aspect, and end up a clone lawyer, either in your own firm or if you decide to enter the general job market. The more skills and experiences you can develop the better equipped you will be to take a run at the right opportunities as and when they arise, or as you create them.
Getting involved in innovation, whether taking the initiative and rethinking your own legal work or that of your team is a great start, as is working with your organisations existing innovation function.
That’s great advice. Definitely agree it’s worth building out your portfolio of relevant skills and experiences, and there are many great ways to do this around your day job.
Finally, what books, blogs, podcasts or other media would you recommend to readers in terms of what we’ve discussed, careers and so on?
There’s such a wealth of information out there and often it can be overwhelming. For me, on the design thinking side, I really enjoyed Sprint from the Google Ventures Team – when I was first thinking about designing workshops and prototyping, it helped crystalise my thinking.
On the behavioural science side – start with Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. It is really accessible and although a little old now, it puts a fun spin on basic behavioural principles. If you want to increase the fun factor, Alchemy by Rory Sutherland and Hooked by Nir Eyal are interesting looks at how behavioural principles interact with the real world. Of course there is Thinking Fast and Slow, Nudge and countless other texts to work through on the popular science side. In terms of podcasts, It’s All Just a Bunch of BS, and The Decision Corner are brilliant fun.
More generally, Start with Why by Simon Sinek is a real touchstone. How often have you lost your way or not been able to articulate the reason behind something? Start with Why!
I’ve been surprised as to how little pieces I’ve picked up from reading or listening to podcasts filter into my thinking months on from the initial interaction. There is a certain joy in letting things percolate and then your mind making the connections to give you a novel perspective just when you need it! The more ideas we are exposed to, the wider our pool of potential approaches, even if you take just the tiniest bit of actual substance from the original point.
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