Meet my good friend Al.
I met Al recently one night when I was really depressed about the state of the world. I was depressed about a lot of things … you know the litany of problems facing the world today … but most of all I was depressed because everybody seemed so distracted.
Then, Al came to me in a dream. Al really picked up my spirits because he’s a born leader and he had real solutions to these big problems. In fact Al is more than a leader … he’s a whole generation of leaders. You see, Al, doesn’t really exist … yet …
But he will … soon. Al is actually an abbreviation for American Leader … a radically innovative program designed to discover, develop and invest in a whole new generation of leaders.
American Idol for Leaders
TED Talks in a Tournament Format
Local Leadership Leagues as Competitive Sport
Introduction: American Leader is a bold initiative to discover, develop and invest in the next generation of American leaders. It combines:
• the drawing power and brand awareness of television,
• the engagement, sharing and vetting potential of social media,
• the support of school, university and community infrastructures.
Context: As the top rated U.S. TV show for an eight seasons running, American Idol has demonstrated the public appeal of talent discovery and celebrity creation. With over a billion views, TED Talks have validated the mass market for public oratory in the emerging social media ecosystem. As the top rated TV show on Friday nights, Shark Tank has demonstrated the commercial viability of fundraising pitches as competitive sport and entertainment. Now, let’s connect the dots. Let’s combine talent discovery, celebrity creation, social sharing, oratory, fundraising and competitive sport. Let’s connect three stages of leadership development, three unique programs and three distribution platforms – all together under one banner and one highly identifiable, entertainment brand: the American Leader brand.
• Phase 1 – The Community Stage: Local Leadership Leagues As Competitive Sport – High schools, universities, towns and cities all field sports teams that compete against each other – generating excitement, enthusiasm and community involvement. Why not Leadership Leagues where potential leaders compete before live audiences of friends and family? In these preliminary rounds of competition, prospective leaders will hone their leadership and oratorical skills with the coaching, mentorship, nurturing influence and encouragement of their teachers, parents and fellow students. The outcome of the matches will be determined by a distinguished panel of judges, expert ratings and audience votes with the best leaders advancing.
• Phase 2 – The Internet Stage: TED Talks For the Masses in a Tournament Format: TED Talks have pioneered in the process of creating forums in which serious ideas are discussed, videotaped and curated for public viewing on the Internet. Why not competitive, TED Talks organized in a tournament format? All talks will be videotaped and posted online. A rating and review system will invite public participation and sharing. The highest rated videos will rise and leaders will advance to regional competition, eventually narrowing the field to 64 contestants.
• Phase 3 – The National Stage: – A Reality TV Show: Reality TV shows like American Idol and Dancing With the Stars has shown the commercial viability of creating stars out of singers and dancers. Why not a reality TV show that creates celebrities out of potential leaders? In Phase 3 of American Leader, the finalists from the Internet based competition will all step onto the national stage and perform before a global audience on the American Leader Reality TV show judged, reviewed and rated by celebrities, experts, and the general public. The contestants plans will be vetted by experts and a funding ecosystem will stand ready to support the prospective leaders with the implementation of their visions for change.
In sum, American Leader is radically innovative, commercially viable and socially compelling. Preparing tomorrow’s leaders is the most important and impactful investment we can possibly make in our nation’s future.