Colorado Launches First-Ever Statewide Open Innovation Challenge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Office of Gov. John Hickenlooper
Office of Economic Development & International Trade

Holly Shrewsbury, 303-892-3847
holly.shrewsbury@state.co.us

Colorado launches first-ever statewide open innovation challenge

"Imagine Colorado" asks Coloradans to submit their best ideas to make kids healthier in exchange for $25,000 in prizes

DENVER - Gov. John Hickenlooper, the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) and LiveWell Colorado launched on February 1, 2016 Imagine Colorado, the nation's first-ever statewide open innovation challenge. Imagine Colorado is seeking bold ideas from Colorado residents in response to the challenge question: How would you connect Colorado's youth to a healthier lifestyle?

Used throughout the world by business, government and higher education institutions, innovation challenges shine a spotlight on a problem or opportunity and ask communities to provide ideas that can help build a better tomorrow. Imagine Colorado's aim is to engage all residents to come up with big ideas on how to ensure our kids have access to a healthy lifestyle. In exchange, $25,000 in prizes will be awarded to winning individuals and teams.

"We believe in the power of the collective wisdom of Coloradans to address tough challenges in our communities," said Hickenlooper. "We want to harness this energy and ingenuity through the Imagine Colorado platform. We know that solving tough problems requires collaboration, and we look forward to the innovative ideas that will be submitted that will help make our state the healthiest in the nation."

Challenge partner LiveWell Colorado is a statewide organization focused on increasing access to physical activity and affordable, healthy food for all Coloradans to prevent obesity and other chronic health conditions.

"Imagine Colorado is an exciting opportunity to tap into the state's entrepreneurial and technology sectors and the creativity of our residents toward making Colorado a healthier place for everyone," said LiveWell Colorado CEO Shepard Nevel. "We know that a person's health status is primarily determined by his or her social circumstances, environmental conditions and behavioral choices, so we can meaningfully increase the health of our state's youngest residents by improving opportunities to eat well and be more physically active."

From Feb. 1-March 31, 2016, Coloradans, ages 7 and up, can submit their best ideas at www.imagineco.us. Ideas should focus on one of two categories:

 

Physical Activity: ideas that get our kids moving and that engage our outdoor spaces differently
Nutrition: ideas that provide our kids access to healthy foods and the education to make good choices


Finalists will be judged through an online community voting process as well as through a panel of experts. The top ten finalists will be invited to participate in a live event in April where they will pitch their idea to a panel of celebrity judges, and live audience polling will determine the grand prize winners. In addition to the prize money, Unreasonable Institute will provide each of the five adult finalists the opportunity to interview for the 2016 Unreasonable Institute accelerator program focused on early childhood. Winning ideas will be distributed to statewide partners and the Colorado community so that appropriate champions can stimulate further action.

Preparation for Imagine Colorado's public launch began several months ago at the 2015 COIN Summit, where key subject matter experts were invited to participate in two "think tank" sessions regarding a challenge question for Coloradans. The sessions were facilitated by Jenn Gustetic, Assistant Director for Open Innovation for The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and head of Challenge.gov. This challenge question was selected because while Colorado touted the "healthiest state," the reality is that one in four Colorado kids is overweight or obese, one in three lives in neighborhoods without a safe place to play and 90% don't get enough fruits and veggies each day. Additionally, Colorado is one of only four states where physical education is not a required part of the state's public school curriculum at any grade level. Better health is not just good for individuals and families; it has positive outcomes for our workforce, reducing costs of government and improving the quality of life in our communities.

"As a state, we need to ensure our innovation pipeline is overflowing with good ideas," said Sean Kuusinen, Program Manager of Unreasonable Institute. "We support entrepreneurs with the potential to address major problems at scale, and through Imagine Colorado we can engage all Coloradans in this process." 

Imagine Colorado is produced in partnership with The Colorado Health Foundation, Gary Community Investments, Unreasonable Institute, SkipsoLabs, Entravision and Comcast, and it is also supported by more than 30 engagement partners from throughout the state. For more information, please visit www.imagineco.us.

ABOUT The Colorado Innovation Network (COIN)
COIN is a public-private partnership launched by Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2011 and is the leading global platform for innovative networks. COIN provides access to convene, connect and foster circles of exchange around ideas, talent, capital and the entrepreneurial spirit to strengthen economic development and diversity with the mission to make Colorado the most innovative state in the nation. COIN has a robust and highly engaged statewide network of innovation leaders in education, industry, startups, government and research. Learn more at www.coloradoinnovationnetwork.com.

ABOUT LiveWell Colorado
LiveWell Colorado is a statewide organization committed to reducing obesity and other chronic health conditions by promoting healthy eating and active living. LiveWell reaches more than one million Coloradans through partnerships with communities, the private sector, local governments and school districts. In addition to educating and inspiring people to make healthy choices, LiveWell Colorado focuses on policy, environmental and lifestyle changes that remove barriers and increase access to healthy behaviors. LiveWell Colorado aims to provide every Coloradan with access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity in their communities and where they work. Learn more at www.livewellcolorado.org.

 

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