Re-inventing civic participation in Minnesota

Have you ever had one of those light-bulb moments when you solved world peace – while taking a shower?

Okay, maybe you didn’t solve world peace but you came up with a really good idea to solve a really important issue. When you have that moment, do you also think: Gee, too bad no one but my bar of soap will ever hear my idea?

Now someone will.

Minnesota Idea Open is bringing together all Minnesotans for one purpose: to solve critical issues facing our state.

The Minnesota Idea Open is on the cusp of re-inventing civic participation in our state. It’s a new electronicplatform that will allow Minnesotans to supply ideas to solve our state’s most onerous problems – and some of these very ideas will be implemented!

The Idea Open will issue two challenges each year. The first challenge debuts March 18 and will call for solutions to combat obesity in Minnesota. The Idea Open will collect solutions through April 9. From there, Minnesotans will vote on three finalists. The top vote-getting idea will receive $15,000 and assistance from the Citizens League for implementation. The idea’s author also will receive $500.

From the Star Tribune:

Many themes were considered for the inaugural challenge, including transportation and water quality, said Jen Ford Reedy, Minnesota Community Foundation vice president for strategy. But obesity was deemed the most pressing: Nearly 38 percent of Minnesotans are overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One-fourth of the state's adults are obese. The CDC predicts that, by 2020, only 23 percent of Minnesotans will be at a healthy weight.

Idea Open partners, including the Knight Foundation and Minnesota Public Radio, envision families, neighbors and co-workers sitting around tables, problem-solving together. They hope kids offer ideas, too.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Register your e-mail address on the Minnesota Idea Open Web site to participate in the program.
  2. Fan the Idea Open on Facebook.
  3. Share this with your networks, families, friends, neighbors – ANYONE who lives in Minnesota.
  4. On Thursday March 18, submit your solution to the Idea Open.