Dastardly Cleverness Podcast

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What works, from leading social innovators.

Dastardly Cleverness in the Service of Good is the podcast for people who make progress. Your host: Spencer Critchley.

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Latest Episodes

Episode 9: North Korea and WMD: How to Think About the Unthinkable. Spencer talks with David Schmerler, a researcher who keeps track of North Korea and its weapons of mass destruction. David says his work can be like a spy novel, or a video game — and in fact he even helped create a Minecraft simulation to help people understand what’s at stake. But knowing the difference between fiction and reality is crucial — for him, and for all of us.

Episode 8: The Future of WorkEverything about jobs is now open to question — including whether jobs will even exist. To sort it out, we talk this time about robots, the gig economy, income inequality, the disruption of education — even bitcoin. All that and more from someone whose job is to work on the future of work: social policy consultant Kristin Wolff.

Episode 7: "More Than Just Pretty Fish: This Aquarium Is a Force in Ocean Preservation." The Monterey Bay Aquarium is world famous for otters, sharks, a spectacular setting — even appearances in movies and TV shows. But that’s just the most visible part. The Aquarium is also a powerful force for protecting the oceans through education, advocacy, and the development of young leaders. In this episode, Spencer speaks with the Aquarium’s Ken Peterson about the dramatic impact the Aquarium is having in ocean conservation — and the protection of all life on earth.

Episode 6: "If We Got the First 5 Years of Life Right, It Would Change Everything." If more children got what they need between the ages of 0 and 5, it would mean less crime, less violence, less poverty, and more people having happy, productive lives. Spencer talks about the possibilities with Gabriel Sanchez, Director of Communications and Marketing for First 5 LA.

Episode 5: "We Know How to Reduce Gang Violence — If We're Willing to Act." Cities across the United States struggle with gang violence, and the challenge can sometimes seem hopeless. But you may be surprised to learn that we know a lot about how to reduce gang violence — often dramatically. We just have to act on what we know. Our guest this time is an expert on the subject, from a small but innovative California city: Salinas.

Episode 4: "Debt-Free College." What if we could get millions of young people good jobs, free them from college debt, and give the economy a big boost? Workforce experts Dr. Katie Caves and Vinz Koller say we can do it — if we just follow a proven model from Switzerland, now being tried and tested with promising results here in the United States.

Episode 3: "Is There Hope for Democracy?" Part 3. The third and final part of our discussion — featuring great questions from the audience — at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies with former Congressman Sam Farr, former Obama White House official Adrienne Harris, presidential campaign veteran and local elected official Zach Friend, and presidential campaign veteran and media consultant Spencer Critchley. Find the videos of the event here.

Episode 2: "Is There Hope for Democracy?" Part 2. More from our panel discussion at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies with former Congressman Sam Farr, former Obama White House official Adrienne Harris, presidential campaign veteran and local elected official Zach Friend, and presidential campaign veteran and media consultant Spencer Critchley. Find the videos of the event here.

Episode 1: "Is There Hope for Democracy?" Part 1. A fascinating discussion with former Congressman Sam Farr, former Obama White House official Adrienne Harris, presidential campaign veteran and local elected official Zach Friend, and presidential campaign veteran and media consultant Spencer Critchley. We answer three big questions: Where are we? How did we get here? And where are we going? Recorded at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey, California. Find the videos of the event here.

Your Host

Spencer Critchley

Spencer Critchley is the host of Dastardly Cleverness in the Service of Good. He is an award-winning writer, producer, and communications consultant with experience in broadcasting, film, digital media, public relations, advertising, and music. He is the managing partner of Boots Road Group LLC, an advertising, public relations and digital media firm that serves people who are making the world a better place.

As a communication consultant, Spencer has worked for both of Barack Obama's presidential campaigns, former Congressman Sam Farr, the U.S. Department of Labor, the University of California at Berkeley, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and many others.

As a digital media producer, his clients have included David Bowie, Moby, Santana, Britney Spears, and others while he was with Thomas Dolby’s Beatnik Inc; the Silicon Graphics-Time Warner-ATT interactive TV system; Silicon Gaming; and the multiple award-winning Choosing Success multimedia program for CCC/Viacom, described by Wired magazine as "the most inspired piece of educational software ever created."

As a journalist, Spencer reported stories for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio, the Associated Press, and others, winning awards for investigative reporting from Public Radio News Directors Inc. and the Associated Press. For CBC Radio, he was a correspondent and guest host for the national entertainment and popular culture show “Prime Time,” the host of the syndicated “Canada Rocks” record review, and a contributor to “The Entertainers” and other programs. He blogs for the Huffington Post and has written for O’Reilly Radar, Business Insider, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and other publications. 

Hope for Democracy panelists on stage at Middlebury Institute of International StudiesAs a composer and music producer, Spencer was signed to a songwriting and artist development contract with Warner-Chappell Music Publishing, created music for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation including for the Peabody Award-winning radio drama “Paris from Wilde to Morrison,” and composed the score (with collaborator Marco D’Ambrosio) and produced the music, dialog, and sound design for the Emmy-winning PBS documentary "Blink.”

Spencer has been a guest speaker for Stanford University; New York University; Art Center College of Design; California State University Monterey Bay; the American Constitution Society; MacWorld; Intel Developer World; Interpret America; the New Teacher Center, the California Association of Public Information Officials and the SXSW, Hot Springs, and Bermuda Film Festivals, among others.

He has been interviewed or quoted by the Associated Press, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CNN, Mix Magazine, MSNBC.com, National Public Radio, Reader’s Digest, and others.