Crowdsourcing to Create Better Futures in Minnesota

Published Oct-15-12

A series of open innovation challenges to engage the expertise and inventiveness of Minnesotans to solve key issues facing the state.

Minnesota Community Foundation, United States

The Story:

Crowdsourcing to Create Better Futures in Minnesota Inspired by the open innovation and crowdsourcing endeavors of others such as and the X Prize Foundation, the Minnesota Community Foundation decided to get its own project underway to address issues affecting the people of Minnesota.

The Minnesota Idea Open is a platform for Minnesotans to learn about issues that affect their lives, to come up with ideas to tackle them, and ultimately to create change and get things done.

Engaged and Empowered Citizens

Such forums catalyzed by open innovation’s engagement with diverse individuals gives citizens a much bigger role to play in moving things forward and creating better living and working environments for their communities.

Every year the Minnesota Idea Open organizes at least one challenge. Individuals are invited to submit their ideas which are assessed by a panel of judges and voted on by members of the public. The top three winning ideas are awarded $15,000 each to help them become a reality and two more ideas receive grants of $5,000.

Previous challenges have included ideas for addressing obesity in the state and ideas for tackling water issues.

Building Relationships across Faiths and Cultures

In 2012 the Minnesota Idea Open looked for fresh thinking to promote multi-faith and cross-cultural understanding in a state that has become more diverse in cultures and faiths.

More than 600 ideas were submitted, a record for the open innovation initiative. These were whittled down to five finalists by a judging panel that included media professionals, community and faith leaders. The public were then invited to vote for their top three, and 10,000 votes were submitted over a 10-day period.

Winning Ideas for Social Change

The top three ideas were:

Hidden Pearls 7-Step Summer Challenge by Fatuma Mohamed – a summer-long program of initiatives to help shatter stereotypes and boost multi-faith understanding: includes Pink hijab week (passing out of hijabs – headscarves - in town centers to let women of other faiths experience life as an hijabi) and church hopping – visiting places of worship and prayer of different faiths.

Tents of Witness by Margo O'Dell and Ellen Kennedy – a multimedia, multicultural, multi-generational exhibit that is designed to educate the public on issues around racism. Ultimately the aim is to create neighborhoods and communities that will stand up against violence and hate.

Multicultural Barn Raisings by Jim Rettew – an idea to bring together people with different skills from different backgrounds and faiths to work on shared goals such as building new playgrounds and school premises. It takes barn raisings to the next level, and allows relationships to form naturally when people from diverse backgrounds work alongside each other for a common cause.

The two open innovation competition runs up were:

Questions from the Future of Minnesota by Paul and Akiko Maeker – capitalizing on the natural inquisitiveness of kids this is a plan for fifth and sixth graders to come up with a list of questions to be put to Minnesota business, political, educational, and religious leaders as well as other prominent community heads. The questions and answers may also be compiled in a book.

United By History by Margaret Michaletz – to record a series of oral histories from immigrants who have made their way to Steele County over the years.

Share on      
Next Story »

What Can we Solve for You?