Minnesota Idea Open - Your thinking, our future.
A Project of Minnesota Community Foundation


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The Story

The Story Behind the Idea Open
We at Minnesota Community Foundation were inspired to create the Minnesota Idea Open by a number of social trends:
  • We were watching other efforts like MyStarbucks.com and Ashoka Changemakers use technology to engage large numbers of people in suggesting and shaping ideas
  • We were watching how funders were using competition like the X-prize Foundation and the Case Foundation's Make It Your Own Awards to incent extraordinary efforts to develop creative solutions to problems
  • We were watching how competitive reality shows like American Idol and The Amazing Race could engage huge audiences and get people excited and invested in outcomes
We wanted to put all these trends to work for Minnesota.

The Minnesota Idea Open is our effort to create a fun and engaging way for Minnesotans to learn about critical issues impacting the state, develop creative new solutions for addressing those issues, and be inspired to act.

We partnered with Ashoka Changemakers to develop a state-of-the art idea challenge web site. We took advantage of their expertise running major, international competitions to create a local version operated for and by Minnesotans.

We will sponsor at least one major statewide idea challenge each year through which we try to get EVERY Minnesotan thinking and talking about an issue at the same time. Our first major idea challenge is focused on obesity. We will be looking for suggestions for future challenges from all Minnesotans.

Throughout the year, we will also be able to host smaller idea challenges for organizations around the state working to address important community issues.

All our efforts were made possible by the John S and James L. Knight Foundation, which awarded us a grant to develop this idea in Minnesota and then share it with other states. We've developed the site with the counsel of a number of local partners, including the Citizens League, Padilla Speer Beardsley, Grassroots Solutions, and Minnesota Public Radio.

Together with scores of partners throughout the state, we aim to bring together all Minnesotans in a fun and competitive race for the Idea Open crown (really a terrycloth sweatband). Game on!

Learn More & Vote

Minnesota Idea Open is a venture of Minnesota Community Foundation with major funding from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

ASHOKA - changemakersCitizens LeagueJohn S. and James L. Knight FoundationMinnesota Public Radio

For more information, contact us at info@mnideaopen.org