A podcast about the mind at work

Brilliant. Bonkers. Bursting with life.

Some people possess inspiration. With our employees, it’s the other way around: inspiration possesses them – and it doesn’t let go without a fight.

The Spark is a new podcast that provides an in-depth look at the mind at work. You’ll meet some of the zany, brainy people at Philips as we picked their brains on everything from home, to hospitals, to world hunger. We dive deep into their thoughts and stories to discover what gets their neurons zapping.

Join us as we move beyond the everyday into what really motivates someone to make a bang in this world. Season 1 comprises 12 episodes with a new adventure every Thursday.

Available from 1 March 2018. Listen and download episodes below or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.  

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The Trailer

What happens when you combine a brilliant mind with a meddlesome microphone? We found out as we set out to explore the edge between inspiration and creativity. That place where sparks fly. Each of our 12 episodes features one Philips employee motivated to have a positive impact on the world we live in. Check out the video teaser for a taste of what you’re in for. Or listen to the audio trailer here.
Jonathan Groubert


The Trailer

What happens when you combine a brilliant mind with a meddlesome microphone? We found out as we set out to explore the edge between inspiration and creativity. That place where sparks fly. Each of our 12 episodes features one Philips employee motivated to have a positive impact on the world we live in. Check out the video teaser for a taste of what you’re in for. Or listen to the audio trailer here.

Hosted by

Jonathan Groubert

Brooklyn native Jonathan Groubert is an award-winning journalist and former host of the internationally lauded public radio show The State We’re In, broadcast by Radio Netherlands and WBEZ Chicago Public Media. Jonathan teaches investigative journalism, storytelling and podcasting at the Radio Netherlands Training Centre and the University of Groningen, and his work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Deutsche Welle. An expert interviewer, Jonathan helped coin the term ‘talkumentary,’ in which interview and narrative journalism combine to tell powerful stories.
Bonus episode | 5 July 2018

Our bots, our bodies, ourselves:

AI and the exciting future of health technology
Printmaker Susan Aldworth went to the hospital one day fearing the worst. From then on, her brush with death never left her thoughts. Susan looks inward at human life, but insists that these days, it’s thinkers at the forefront of health technology, like futurist Zayna Khayat, who can tell us the most about the lives we’ll live and the world we’ll leave behind. Or technologists like Kacy Harding, who urge that “technology should augment the physical and virtual world to empower us.” In this special episode of The Spark, three women talk about the exciting future of health technology.
Episode 1 | 1 March 2018

Breaking out of the cancer cell

with Christine Welsh
Why is it that the people who experience genuine hardship seem to have the most joy? If you're dealing with questions of life and death, does the 'small stuff' even blip on your radar? What inspires someone to fight when they're being told to rest? Christine knows that life in a hospital can be bleak, seeing as how she spent her college years learning how to escape from them. Now she creates visual designs and user interfaces for doctors and medical professionals. In this episode, Christine teaches us to turn struggles into strengths.
Episode 2 | 8 March 2018

Dopamine fiend

with Kurt Ward
Kurt’s career starts with a dream deferred. His opportunity, won and lost, was working at a pawn shop and playing with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Kenton. But when this young conga drummer was forced to 'get a real job,' he didn't do it with his head down. Kurt kept all the wild enthusiasm of his youth, bringing the party with him wherever he goes. He might even bring it to Red Square. From new ideas to new places and new things, from bebop to business, Kurt tells us how he gets his kicks.
Episode 3 | 15 March 2018

The runaway intellect

with Dionisio Nunes
Dionisio Nunes left a war torn Angola for the Netherlands and didn’t look back. He worked his way into a nice job but never stops looking forward, even to the point of sneaking off to departments he doesn’t belong to, to connect dots. Dionisio studies deep learning. Deeply. What does intelligence look like when it goes sneaking about where it doesn’t belong? Find out as Dionisio reveals his mind at work.
Episode 4 | 22 March 2018

The face of innovation

with Ana Ruiz Molina
Ana Molina takes us into the world of male appearance in Chinese culture. A world where your face - and 'keeping face' is your access to opportunities. Not too hard to imagine, is it? Ana gives us some psychological perspective on how we let our appearance, and the expectations placed on us, shape our identity. And how she keeps her creativity alive by "exploring everything."
Episode 5 | 29 March 2018

An army of healers

with Pavan Dadlani
Pavan Dadlani's home country of Peru is now a booming holiday destination. But away from the tourist trail and in stark contrast, he offers a perspective on how low resource countries like his struggle to invent health solutions. Not to mention the unrealized innovations that lie in waiting. Pavan has worked with hundreds of healthcare workers across the globe in countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda to bring change and innovation to peoples' lives, mostly with volunteer citizens who took on this additional work to help their community. "Innovations like this can actually save lives," says Pavan of his work. "It's amazing!"
Episode 6 | 5 April 2018

Problem child

with Jonathan Palero
Jonathan Palero likes it when things get hairy. Because if everything's running smoothly, where’s the fun in that? It’s only when a problem occurs that you know you can accomplish something, he says. And when you’ve solved it, you’ve accomplished something else. Jonathan knows that you can’t start a fire without a spark.
Episode 7 | 12 April 2018

All's well that eats well

with Ana Maria Alvarez
Ana Alvarez would like to feed the whole world if she could. She sees feeding her kids, feeding the hungry, and working on healthier, safer inventions for the kitchen as different aspects of the same goal. We’ll learn about her new spin on a Colombian classic; empanadas; not fried in fat or oil, but in her new Airfryer. Ana speaks with us about hunger, altruism and the pains of being pure at heart.
Episode 8 | 19 April 2018

Boredom and eureka

with Maarten v. Herpen
Maarten van Herpen knew at the age of 12 that he wanted to work at a Philips laboratory. Determined to get in the door, he actually made it, and is now one of the organization's top inventors, holding innumerable patents. Maarten is inspired by inspiration itself. He grew up in a time when science wasn’t seen as cold or calculating, but when it was thought of as playful and inventive. These positive associations motivate him to push through the more challenging aspects of work so that he can get the opportunity to express his wild, true self.
Episode 9 | 26 April 2018

A change is going to come

with Tagrid Ceric
Tagrid Ceric was 17 years old in a Bosnia fraught with strife. And like most 17 year olds, her greatest frustration was not being able to go out. She ended up leaving her country to make a new start, although not for the reasons you're thinking. It was a great transition into what she teaches now: transition. As a change manager, she helps others find that inner spark, guiding them through the process of making peace with their frustrations and insecurities, so they can get to a place where they can accept one of life's great constants: change.
Episode 10 | 3 May 2018

Work hard, play cards

with Simona Rocci
Simona is the 'work hard, play hard' force behind sustainability innovation at Philips. A published author, professor, and traveling lecturer, she's both inventive and saggacious in her solutions to all sorts of troubles, global and personal. Just from getting to sit down with Simona, it seems that her love of life is one of the reasons she works so dilligently to preserve it.
Episode 11 | 10 May 2018

Disrupt yourself

with Darren Adams
Philips is always looking for the people who are excited about turning the world on its head. Those are the people who, if given the resources, can bring about massive changes, which, in health, can mean a world of good. In this corner, we bring you a true champion of human curiosity. Pandora’s Boxer himself, Mr. Darren Adams. One of the defects of philosophers is that they always seem to assume they know the conclusions before they’ve reached them. But Darren isn’t a philosopher. He’s an innovator. He actually doesn’t want to know where his thoughts will lead him. When Darren disscusses his life, work, and interests, you’ll find a man holding the scalpel, doing a scientific operation on anything in range.
Episode 12 | 17 May 2018

The next need

with Corien Pompe
What do theatre, science, and art have in common? Corien Pompe paints us a picture. What’s fascinating about Corien is that ... she doesn’t question if people are connected, or how one discipline affects another. Instead, she wonders how anyone could think of them in isolation. Her ingenuity transcends the disciplines in which she works, so that she can follow her vision wherever it wanders. She doesn’t mind standing on shakey ground, so long as you give her some room in the sky. Today, Corien walks us through her unique process, by way of her studio.