The US Presidential Debate of the Future

horse competition - future presidential debate format blog post - DelightabilityThe US Presidential Debate of the Future
The horse race of a republican presidential debate last evening gave us an opportunity to become a little more acquainted with candidates we didn’t know. For some viewers, it may also have been a reminder of what junior high school was like. What it didn’t give us was a sense of what these candidates are actually about. It also didn’t give us real facts.  See Fact Checking the GOP Presidential Debate here or here or here or do your own research. Sure, we heard sound bites of what they didn’t like about each other and what they would promise to undo, obstruct, and de-fund. But, what would they actually do?

What the US needs most right now is a restored middle class and a path to get there for the 46 million that are experiencing some level of poverty. I don’t expect that these candidates will understand this. They are insiders to a system that has run amok and left behind the majority of the American people. This is why I suggest a format change for presidential debates.

Summary of new presidential debate format

  1. Topics of interest to the American public are crowd-sourced over the internet not by moderators of one television station
  2. Any voter can participate and can vote up topics they’d like to see advanced
  3. Candidates then prepare a video response to the winning topics
  4. Videos are then subjected to edits to enforce behavioral rules and a respect for the truth

Starter topic for every candidate for US President to expound on.

The Scene.
These United States 2015. GDP and Corporate profits are up and to the right. But, real wages have been down. Labor force participation is down. BLS statistics are questionable as to what the real unemployment rate is and underemployment is seemingly unknowable. But, talking with ordinary people, there seems to be much evidence that household prosperity is on the decline with the outlook, not promising. So, with that ….

Topic for Each Candidate’s Video
Middle class prosperity is important to the security and stability of the United States. It is also critical for advancing human progress.
1) What would be your plan for improving prosperity as felt by every household, including those residents that don’t currently have a household?
2) What would be the components of such a plan?
3) Who else do you envision would be involved in making this plan a reality?

Where to Send the Video
Please upload your video to the YouTube election channel where it will then be picked over by the public for rule violations and further scrutiny.

Rules – We Have Some
You cannot make references to other candidates and anything you say in your video will be subject to fact checking. When portions of your video violate either of these rules it will be dubbed over and stamped appropriately as “not true” or “rule violation”.

Reform is welcome

Imagine the promises for such a change. We would most likely have increased civic participation. We could have real discussions in every household, club, and social setting. Voters would get to “see” candidates in a way that addresses issues important to the American public. The candidates would be more factual and probably feel a breath of fresh air knowing that all candidates are playing by the same public rules. No longer would they have to bite their tongue for fear their campaign donors or would be donors might become unhappy. Lastly, perhaps, we could open the field up to candidates that don’t solely have the backing of billionaires. People that might have real solutions to the problems we face as a nation but don’t want to be pranced about in the moments leading up to the final horse race.

See related posts:
A Glimmer of Hope in Your City – Do you know about participatory budgeting?
An Open Letter to City Leaders in the World Community – City Leaders as Designers.
Food for Thought and For Neighbors and the Friends You Will Meet – Food: There is an App for that, and a Mouth.

about the author

image of Greg-Olson-Managing Director of Delightability and author of Experience Design BLUEPRINT

Gregory Olson is a consultant, speaker, and author. His latest book is L’ impossi preneurs: A Hopeful Journey Through Tomorrow, a light-hearted and deadly serious book about a brighter future where we live more meaningful lives, governments invest in people and sustainable progress, and technology serves humans.


Greg also authored, The Experience Design Blueprint, a book about designing better experiences and then making them come true. Exercises and mental models in the book will build your confidence in envisioning better possibilities and your competence in making them come true.

The models in the Experience Design BLUEPRINT are equally relevant to organizations of all types and sizes including start-up entrepreneurs, nonprofits, for-profits, and government. Chapters in The Experience Design Blueprint, that especially pertain to this post include:

  • Chapter 6: Aiming for Remarkable, Unbroken, and Generous Design
  • Chapter 8: The Promise Delivery System
  • Chapter 9: The Neighborhood
  • Chapter 11: Barriers to Innovation and Overcoming the Wall
  • Chapter 14: The World of Work Has Changed

See a book summary. Read the book reviews on Amazon. Read The Experience Design Blueprint on Kindle or any device using the free Kindle Reader application or read the full color print edition.

The United Nations Ambitious Goals and You

Comment turned blog post

This blog post started as a simple comment on a video interview of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  But, I as I reflected on my own heritage and the comments being posted, my simple comment evolved to this blog post.

Shaping my own perspective

My own view of the subjects in the video are shaped in part by being of mixed race, specifically Native American Indian, Estonian, and Swedish ancestry. My view is also shaped by my volunteer board work I do with Oikocredit International, an organization that has effectively lifted people out of poverty for nearly 40 years. You probably haven’t heard of them, which is why I’m on the board of Oikocredit Northwest, a support association for Oikocredit International. Operating in over 80 countries and with nearly 1 billion U.S. dollars of cumulative capital invested, Oikocredit has made a conscious decision to do good in the world, by giving people a hand up, not a hand out. Oikocredit is a leader in measuring the impact of its investments through the use of the Grameen Foundation’s Progress out of Poverty Index and also the internally developed Environmental, Social, Governance scorecards (ESG). Our tagline is Investing in People.

A brief history of exploitation in the United States

At one point in the formative years of the United States, some people thought that genocide of the American Indian was a good idea, or at minimum a necessary evil. Fast forward and the new exploit became the African American slaves that many considered to be a business necessity to keep their agricultural and industrial machines going. Today, in the U.S. we struggle with wealth imbalance, minimum living wage, poverty, and a gutted middle class. These issues have created polarizing times as they spark more conversations with people of all walks, political orientations, and even ages.

Dig a little deeper in your middle class pockets

We are living in a time rife with collisions in thought. On the one hand, an overly ambitious and unrealistic government has unbridled enthusiasm to fight costly wars and promote the agenda of mega corporations that fund their election campaigns. On the other hand, these same elected representatives cut funding that would benefit wounded warriors upon their return home. It turns out we continue to pay for wars even after they are fought. Who knew? [said with extreme judgement and sarcasm] But, wars and veterans are only one chapter in a bigger story.

These elected representatives, policy makers and decisions made by the SCOTUS often fail humanity while at the same time they give large corporations nearly free reign over the environment, job crushing mergers and acquisitions that harm people and communities, and tax loopholes that further crush communities and diminish the stability and the security of the nation. The income impoverished middle class (already suffering from economic shocks due to job losses, banking scandals, a mortgage crisis, retirement crisis, student loan crisis, the next crisis) is left holding an increasingly empty bag. There simply isn’t enough tax revenue today or in the future that the middle class will provide to make up for tax dodging, cash-hoarding mega corporations that continue to run largely unchecked.

The video is about humanity not politics

The message in this United Nations Goals and Humanity video isn’t about politics; it is about humanity. We need to separate the reality of the political climate and complexity from what we ought to be doing to preserve and improve a sustainable life for peoples of all nations. I believe and have faith in all reasonable people that they would agree that YES, people in all countries should be able to wake up each morning having access to water, energy, education, freedom from undue imprisonment, preventable diseases, forced labor, rape, attack, and other atrocities. Even better they would have the ability to make meaning whether that is a job, motherhood, serving the community, or volunteering.

The men and women behind the curtain

But, until the world’s only “superpower” decides that it has a real moral and human leadership agenda, we will continue to slide a little more toward a dystopian unsustainable state ruled by GargantuaCorp. As I talk about in Chapter 6 of my book, the GDP and the DOW have little to do with human progress and happiness, but our media and politicians make believe that Main Street progress somehow tracks the progress of Wall Street. The growing pool of people that get their news from alternative sources of media including the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report I think would by now have put politicians and traditional media on notice. Perhaps they are not listening or they are simply waiting for things to change back to a less transparent and less connected era?

You may not own your values

Our conversations reflect our values. Ask yourself what are those things that you are talking about and what does that say about your values? Are you concerned with what is going on in the United States, the political climate, your own livelihood, that of your neighbors, or those across the border or the ocean?

Everybody that watches this video needs to ask themselves, “Do I own my own values or did I inherit or subscribe to the ideology of an agenda that belongs to some special interest, privileged few, parent, church, corporation, politician, pundit, influential, etc?”

A shared agenda that puts people first

It is time that people of the planet share a common humanity and promote a sustainable people-first agenda not a special agenda that puts something else first. We need a little less focus on all things military-industrial complex or political and religious intolerance and much more human centered thinking about things that matter to people on a peaceful sustainable planet. We are overdue for politicians, policy makers, and corporate leaders to begin learning about people, empathy, acceptance, design thinking, and intentionally designing the world we’d all like to live in. Cheers to your next and better conversation. If you’d like to talk further please reach out. For self-help on designing a better world from wherever you sit, read The Experience Design Blueprint. To escape today’s realities and simply dream of a future that has yet to unfold, read L’ impossi preneurs: A Hopeful Journey Through Tomorrow.


about the author

Gregory Olson’s latest book is L’ impossi preneurs: A Hopeful Journey Through Tomorrow, a light-hearted and deadly serious book about a brighter future where we live more meaningful lives, governments invest in people and sustainable progress, and technology serves humans. Greg also authored The Experience Design Blueprint, a book about designing better experiences and then making them come true.

image of Greg-Olson-Managing Director of Delightability and author of Experience Design BLUEPRINTGregory Olson founded strategy and design firm Delightability, LLC. with the belief that if you delight customers then success will follow. He believes that we all have the potential to do better, as individuals, organizations, and communities, but sometimes we need a little help.  Gregory also serves as a volunteer board member for Oikocredit Northwest, a support association for social and impact investor, Oikocredit International.