Think Like a Rocket Scientist

Think Like a Rocket Scientist

The Innovation Show

Editorial Rating



  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


In this episode of The Innovation Show, host Aidan McCullen talks with Ozan Varol – speaker, author and former rocket scientist – about insights from his book Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies for Giant Leaps in Work and Life. Varol shares lessons learned from his own career, along with examples from science and business, to help people boost creativity and innovation, and take leaps in their personal life, career or business.


To boost creativity, stay curious and take time for play.

Most societies encourage conformity and foster it through their schools, smothering curiosity. But the most innovative thinkers hold onto their curiosity as adults, retaining the ability to think beyond the status quo. Deliberate practice has its place, helping people refine a skill and become expert – but deliberate play nurtures creativity and helps people find new ways forward.

Innovative ideas often come during slack moments, such as while you’re showering, walking or playing music, when you’ve insulated yourself from distractions and aren’t consciously thinking about a problem. For example, Reed Hastings conceived of Netflix’s business model while he was working out at the gym. To invite insights, create slack times in your day by intention. Varol calls this “airplane mode,” and he schedules these times on his calendar.

To interrupt the power of the status quo, shed your old skin.

The status quo can exert huge power to limit growth and change. Identity can become a prison: If you hold onto the story of who you are, you will...

About the Podcast

The Innovation Show shares ideas on innovation, change, disruption, transformation and the future to empower new thinking. Host Aidan McCullen is a change consultant and works with organizations to improve how they collaborate and create the environment for change. Ozan Varol, a professor of law at Lewis & Clark Law School, is the author of Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies for Giant Leaps in Work and Life.

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