RIP The Apprentice. Welcome Innovation!
Updated: Aug 3
Image design by my nephew Toby.
The multi-diverse media networks today are the most powerful voices influencing our culture. So it’s very frustrating that the two biggest shows on entrepreneurship in the UK and the US are still The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den. Everything feels so outdated on these shows, and the cast are by no means role models to excite you into wanting to start your own business. They have quite the opposite effect!
When I spoke to my 10 year old Nephew the other day about The Apprentice, he said, ‘Is that the show where everyone is mean to each other?’
Yes it is! And why are they mean to each other? Because the show is designed to attract egomaniacs, who are put in a ruthless dynamic to fight against their own team members, through competing in tasks that don’t necessarily play to their strengths.
The mentors always look miserable, and will put the candidates down at any sight of them making the wrong move, or for having wacky ideas in a project brainstorm. You are basically set up on this show to be character assassinated, to exit a soulless boardroom with viewers labelling you as a failure. Any opportunity for innovation is subsequently suppressed.
But to be fair to the show, it's not far off from the culture of a typical corporate workplace.
I experienced it myself a few years back when I attended a brainstorm with Sir Philip Green, to come up with creative collaborations between TopShop and some of Hearst’s top lifestyle media brands. There were 20+ senior people around a table and anyone who expressed an idea, he immediately faulted to the point that no one felt they could say anything. It was more a brainstorm for ways to bow to Sir Philip Green's ego! Well look where that got him - TopShop and the Arcadia Group are now a story of the past!
The winner on the last episode I watched of the Apprentice was appointed to scale up a sugary cake business - I mean, is this really a priority for the types of businesses we need to build in the world right now, to influence millions of viewers to follow suit?
I could go on ranting, but instead I decided to manifest what a new show format could look like to inspire a future generation of regenerative design entrepreneurs.
With the increasing need for us to rethink systems to become more healthy and regenerative, what’s comforting to know is that a large percentage of the younger generation DO value sustainability. I found that the students and young professionals whom I interviewed are very open minded and they reject archaic processes that don’t serve the wellbeing of people, or the planet. However, what they seem to be lacking is the right form of mentorship and education to go out to the world to make the changes we all need to see happen.
Here's some more interesting facts I found in this Future of Learning report:
I have called the new show MAZE to convey the message that business isn’t about perfection. It’s more a journey to encounter a series of dead ends, until you eventually find the right path for you. Failure on this new show is encouraged, and teams are accountable for each other, as the onus is on their ability to create the right team dynamic, to achieve new levels of 'commercial' innovation breakthroughs that will create an impact.
As new networks continue to evolve, let’s put the focus on building media formats to entertain everyone, without the need for intimidation, or for anyone to get fired. All that's required is a positive attitude, and a mindset to embrace a lot of trial & error... with the ability to laugh with each other along the way!
Let media play a role in showing how people can thrive within supportive communities that celebrate each other’s achievements, however big or small they are. Sounds idealistic I know, but I promise you, this IS possible with the right network of people coming together to lead such a shift.
It's time to take action. Media Producers, hello let's have discussions! Contact me to receive my pitch for Maze....
My goal is to influence a culture where good ratings are achieved through high levels of creativity, humanity and humour, rather than through fear, or the downfall of others. What the world needs right now is some enlightenment, and for people to feel empowered to make a difference. Lights, camera, action, let’s do this!