Under The Hood Of The Cultural Zeitgeist

I’ll start the blog by giving a shout out to a known loyal reader, my Mother, who has long maintained she would like ‘so many books, so little time’ inscribed on her tombstone.  While I might have inherited her penchant for punctuality, my tombstone would be adapted to ‘so many podcasts, so little time’.  So I was delighted to read in the latest Share of Audio report that Australians are spending an average of 15 minutes a day listening to podcasts and between 20% of Australians now listening.  

Podcasts are often the source of inspiration when it comes to the blogs I write.  I’ll hear something; mind will wander, try to apply it to work that we’re doing or clients have we.  So hearing two different podcasts use the term ‘Cultural Zeitgeist’, that was always going to be my starting point.  But is cultural zeitgeist a misnomer as if Zeitgeist is the spirit, ideas and beliefs of the time; is that not in fact, the culture?

As I wrestled with that; I saw the link back to what we think we do well at The Interpreters and another podcast nugget I remembered.  We hear a lot of voices at The Interpreters – whether it’s feedback from online surveys, running focus groups or in depth interviews; and all of these voices are independently valuable, but it’s up to us to identify what is going to solve the client need.  And sometimes, when it appears that 9 of the 10 voices in the room are agreeing with each other, it could be the sole voice where the real insight sits.  It’s, dare I say, the interpretation of the results is where we can make the most impact.

It’s what we try to impart to all the team here: listen but don’t necessarily accept that what you’re hearing is necessary correct.  We’re not disputing that what people are telling us is their truth but we can’t accept things on face value.  There’s different ways to interpret and it’s ok to challenge and question tradition and convention.

Which leads me back to podcasts where I learnt about the Aboriginal seasons of Melbourne.  I’ve moaned about Melbourne weather this winter and I lived in London for 8 winters.  But reading about the aboriginal seasons of Melbourne, here was a completely different interpretation of something that I had always accepted at face value.  Check out this summary if you want to read more, but as we approach Ballambar, you’ll be more likely to see my pounding with pavements, with podcast, wondering who is the Cultural Zeitgeist?

By Paul Dixon

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