Minnesotans “Weigh-In” on Obesity Issue
ST. PAUL - Fewer calories and more exercise generally are the combined prescription when combating obesity, but the new Minnesota Idea Open also is prescribing creativity to help cure the problem. Some consider it a "Facebook approach," through which people can brainstorm solutions in online discussion groups, make comments, and submit their own ideas.
Carleen Rhodes, CEO of the Minnesota Community Foundation, project sponsor, says the Minnesota Idea Open is also a competition.
"The real charm of this project isn't that there will be one winner who will implement an idea; it's a way of saying we may not solve it with one strategy, but we might with hundreds of people coming up with multiple strategies."
Participants have submitted many clever suggestions, according to Rhodes, including a group that proposes reorganizing a busing program so children can walk a half mile to school. The project is making Minnesotans feel more involved on issues important to them, she adds.
"People are feeling a bit disengaged from being able to influence decisions. I think this is a way to empower people to feel like there's something they can do; they can get involved, they can share their idea."
The Minnesota Idea Open also is designed to address other issues, such as neighborhood safety and after-school programs.
While emphasizing a collaboration of ideas, the open will also produce one winner, who will receive $15,000 to help implement his or her idea, and a $500 personal prize. Idea submissions will be accepted through Friday, April 9 at www.MNIdeaOpen.org.