There are tons of conversations going on about 2.0 (by way of a quick background: it’s pronounced “two-point-oh,” as in Version 2.0, just in case).
The big idea is that in version 2.0 of anything, the fundamental rules are different from before (version 1.0, of course). Largely, cooperation and collaboration are cornerstones of 2.0 philosophies.
In Government 2.0, full transparency and massive collaboration are cultivated. In Internet 2.0, the audience creates the content and collaborates on entertainment. Capitalism 2.0 suggests the ideals of capitalism 1.0 have grown weary, and what this new century needs are an updated, sustainable, set of economic ideals.
Let’s duck the thorny details of any one of these intentionally provocative generalizations for now. (Oh, there juicy, folks; so jump right in using the comments section below.)
For now, though, let’s make some observations about a much weightier topic: the finale of American Idol.
This year’s competition seemed qualitatively different from the previous ones:
- The core group of finalists genuinely like each other.
- They are interested in each other’s success.
- They are willing to help each other.
- They encourage and support each other.
- … and all despite the competition.
There has been plenty written about just how different the two finalists are (Kris and Adam) and yet, they each seem authentically excited about the other’s success. For crying out loud, we’re talking about a dramatic, gay man on the one hand and a religious missionary on the other. They have plenty of ideological cudgels easily at hand to start waling away at each other. Just imagine those two running against each other for a seat in congress, for example.
This didn’t happen–quite the opposite, in fact. Here’s a question: Why?
They define winning in a different way from a traditional competition. The idea that there’s only one “winner” is just too narrow and inorganic to their overall interests. I’m not suggesting that a competitive energy didn’t play a significant role, but, despite the power of this “one winner” model to create drama for the show, the core group of finalists fundamentally do not buy into it.
Collaborative Effort, Collective Benefit
That core group of finalists clearly embodies the idea that if they collaborate, the general quality of the work (the entertainment value of their performances) rises. Producing a better product, regardless of who takes primary credit for that product, benefits the whole group.
There is a goal at work here that transcends each individual’s goal of getting to the next level of the competition: producing good music. Serving the goal of producing artful music allows each contestant to contribute to a more meaningful purpose, which is more personally enriching than stark individual competition.
These competitors have a genuine regard for each other and an authentic vested interest in each other’s success. The big ideas of 2.0 philosophies are evolutionary, not revolutionary. These competitors did not, for example, take a stand on moral grounds and walk out of the competition or reject the concept of the competition out of hand.
They took part, delivered what they had to offer within the structure of the competition, gave their best, but conspired together nonetheless to collaborate, encourage, help, support and praise each other, regardless of the four old-school judges sitting at the 1.0 table.