The Big Idea

For the third round, the guest will choose their own public policy problem ahead of time. It might be a real problem or it might be a totally fictitious one. During recording, they have 5 minutes to pitch your solution to that problem. At the end of the presentation, the host will ask questions for a few minutes about the idea.

For the third round only, the solution to this problem needs to be:

  1. actually deliverable, and
  2. something people would probably vote for

Explain how the third round works

Introduce the Big Idea and explain what the guest has to do. Say something like:

“For our third round you’ll be pitching The Big Idea. Your job is to come up with solutions that might actually work and that people would actually vote for.

“You’ve chosen your own problem to solve and you were asked to prepare a pitch explaining how you would solve that problem.”

Ask what their idea is

As the guest to explain their problem. Say something like:

“In this round you get bonus points for picking an interesting, challenging or funny problem.

“What is the problem you’ve decided to fix?”

Scoring the problem

Give the guest a score for the problem. Points are awarded for interesting problems: whether they be difficult, intriguing, funny or something else. Say something like:

[react to the problem they’ve chosen].

[insert points here] points for that problem, bringing your total so far to [insert running total].”

Ask them for context and an elevator pitch

Start the conversation asking for some context and their elevator pitch, so that you can structure their time for them. Say something like:

“Why don’t you start off by giving us some context to this problem?


“OK. So in a few sentences, give us an overview of your solution. What’s you elevator pitch?”

Guest presentation

Invite the guest to present their solution.

The guest will present for 5 minutes.


Explain how this round is scored. Say something like:

“Time for your scores. You already have [insert points for the first criteria] points for picking an interesting idea.

“For this round, you also get marks in the same four areas as before: presentation, originality, practicality and electoral viability.

“You get high marks if:

  1. your presentation is good
  2. your solution is original
  3. your solution would work
  4. and I would personally vote for it”

Mark the guest on a scale of 0 to 10 for each of these criteria. Including the bonus points, there are 50 points available in this round.

Move on to Round 4

Once this part of the podcast is finished, we’ll move on to round 4: In the Thick of It.