Innovation Hours: Tuning into Non-traditional Career Paths

At 1904labs, we encourage creativity with our Innovation Hours Program. We offer 10% of our workweek for all employees to dedicate time working on yourself, working on a startup, working on the community, or working on the labs. In this story from our series on how our team uses their Innovation Hours time, Simon Yost, Agile Engineering Lead, has cleverly combined his theater background and technology knowledge to create a career development podcast titled “Catch Fire Show.” 

Inspiration for the Podcast

Simon’s initial inspiration for his podcast occured when he overheard a conversation between a customer and a waitress. The customer declared that the waitress could’ve gotten a better job if she had gone to college. The waitress replied, “I have a master’s degree. This was the only job I could get.” This observation made Simon think about how to equip others with the knowledge of how to obtain goals. He especially thought of those periods where it seems as if one has hit a roadblock during their path toward their purpose in life. “My goal was to give my kids and others just graduating a more robust conversation than ‘fast food or not,’” said Simon. 

About Catch Fire Show

Learning is a life-long pastime for Simon. He wants to share this passion with others and share knowledge from experienced and successful individuals featured on the Catch Fire Show. There are three main ideas of the program. Simon’s goal is to inspire people to contemplate these questions: 1) Who do you want to serve? 2) How do you want to serve them? And 3) What does it take to serve them? Each of Simon’s episodes highlights into these questions and gives listeners insight into how to develop answers for themselves. 

For the Listener

The purpose of this podcast is to help people in all walks of life, whether they are just starting out in life, regaining their footing, or tackling new projects. The official show description reads: Traverse non-traditional career paths by intentionally choosing who and how you serve. Then cultivate the skills you need to serve.

Simon sums up his mission as: 

“I’m excited for the possibility of people to find their way in their career through my podcast. I want people to reach a point where they feel like they are contributing their efforts towards their goals. I want to encourage people and collaborate with other bright minds with experience and wisdom.” 

One example of this in practice is from Vince Mahtani. In his episode, Vince was talking about helping his clients set boundaries as they are balancing their companies and lives. He said, “…it’s not a consequence; it’s a boundary.” For Simon, “It made me think hard about how I often view boundaries more as penalties than freedom.” Catch Fire Show also featured our very own Sean Walsh!

Working at the Labs

The time offered in the Innovation Hours Program helps Simon develop his project. “The time is great. Four hours doesn’t seem like a lot on paper, but it feels like a lot of time.” And Simon has accomplished an immense amount since launching in May with 14 episodes aired and season two kicking off on October 7th. 

Simon also appreciates the transparency the program offers: “I don’t have to hide my side projects or feel like my startup is competing with 1904labs. Sean even creates company-wide meetings with the purpose of us talking about our projects and progress. Innovation Hours are a powerful thing – the space to share ideas, to be excited about my projects, and to not be asked to hide them in any way.” 


This is one story of how our team is spending their time during Innovation Hours. Read more about the innovative projects our employees dedicate their time to in our Innovation Hours blog series

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