Pump Up the Volume

A podcast series highlights the accomplishments of the city’s best and brightest

Photo: Shobhita Sharma and Adam Caplan

ASK SHOBHITA SHARMA and Adam Caplan what might benefit London most, and they’ll tell you a dose of immodesty and smugness wouldn’t hurt.

“There are amazing innovators throughout our city doing remarkable things, and we really believe that, as a community, we can do a better job of telling those stories,” says Caplan.

To that end, Sharma and Caplan recently introduced Towards London, a 10-­episode podcast series that sets out to share the stories and ­accomplishments of Londoners at the leading edge of their respective fields, and provide unique insights into the innovations and technologies being produced in the city.

“The podcasts are really about innovators—we are exploring ideas that are shaping the future of healthcare, manufacturing, media and beyond. The filter is that the people and companies are based here in London” —Shobhita Sharma

Some of the work being done here, whether it is in the field of medical technology, digital creative applications or social innovation, is having an impact far beyond London, says Sharma. She cites one of the early episodes about Dr. Christopher Schlachta and his work blending virtual ­reality with robotics to make surgery safer, faster and more accessible. “It has the potential for positive impact on how surgeries are performed around the globe.”

The weekly podcasts are co-hosted by Caplan and Sharma, who each have day jobs (Caplan is founder and creative director of content production studio web.isod.es; Sharma is a marketing and communications specialist with 3M Canada) and volunteer 20 to 25 hours a week to create the Towards London stories. The podcasts are promoted and broadcast through a range of social platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, iTunes and Google Play.

There is a modest budget for production, with some of the funds coming from local business sponsors. And while they are always on the lookout for more sponsors to come on board, Caplan notes, “We are very careful about maintaining autonomy and ensuring that the podcasts are not seen as promoted content. We are telling stories that are compelling for us, and we hope are compelling for the audience.”

Caplan and Sharma, who met through a hackathon, are self-described nerds and civic cheerleaders. “The podcasts are really about innovators—we are ­exploring ideas that are shaping the future of healthcare, ­manufacturing, media and beyond. The filter is that the people and companies are based here in London,” says Sharma.

“We are in awe of what is happening in our own backyard, but not everyone is aware of. There is no end to the content and the things we can discuss.”  Kym Wolfe