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Iowa psychologist argues 'eureka moment' in innovation is a myth

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Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

Humans often recount major innovations with an element of serendipity, but one author argues there is a lot less mystery in how these innovations came to be. On this Talk of Iowa, University of Iowa psychology professor Ed Wasserman joins host Charity Nebbe to discuss his 2021 book, As If By Design, which uses examples — from the butterfly stroke to the Iowa caucuses — that illustrate the process that leads to innovation.

Later in the show, Dementia Friendly Iowa promotes education and change in communities to make them more welcoming, safe, and respectful for people with dementia and their caregivers. Nebbe talks with state coordinator Megan Zimmerman and Theresa Johnson, who helps run a Memory Café in Cedar Falls. These pop-up cafés provide a safe and fun environment for people with dementia and their caregivers.

These segments were originally produced on Nov. 29, 2021, and Sept. 1, 2022.


  • Ed Wasserman, Stuit Professor of experimental psychology, University of Iowa
  • Megan Zimmerman, Dementia Friendly Iowa coordinator
  • Theresa Johnson, Friends Memory Café volunteer
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Dani Gehr is a producer for River to River and Talk of Iowa. Dani came to Iowa from her hometown in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to attend Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism, international studies and French. Before coming to IPR, Dani covered local government in Story County for the Ames Tribune and Des Moines Register.
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio