Yoxi Uses the "Idol" Model for Social Change
Since the early 2000s, American Idol has dominated its primetime viewing slot, capturing the attention of millions. Now, a former executive at the company behind Idol is applying that same model to finding the next innovators in social good.
In summer, Sharon Chang started Yoxi (pronounced YO-see) after leaving her job at 19 Entertainment, the agency that signs and manages American Idol stars. Yoxi is a competition that asks three-person teams to come up with a solution to a social challenge, such as “Reinvent Fast Food.” Teams submit videos that offer their perspective on the issue, a product or idea that solves the problem, and a campaign for promoting that solution. Along the way, teams are judged by a panel of experts including Christina Minardi, a Whole Foods executive, Marion Nestle, an academic who studies and writes about nutrition and public health.
Yoxi ranks contestants based on their ability to build an online following. Viewers can participate and boost their favorite teams by voicing support and pledging money. Yoxi will promises to match the winning entry’s total pledged donations.
Now in the second round, the Yoxi contest had been narrowed down to six teams; a winner will be crowned this month (vote here). Then Yoxi will move to a new social issue, and will start accepting entries for that in January.