Winning ideas on kids and food…from IDEO

Gotta’ love IDEO. A global design firm that helps companies — and movements — move the world through new design, IDEO often employs what I’d say is best of crowdsourcing. It’s the kind of company that a few years ago, I would have had a hard time even conceptualizing. Today, they offer a damned fine way to pull some great ideas out of the ether, all wrapped up in a fresh, fun package.

It just so happens that one of the smartest guys I knew in childhood works for IDEO. But don’t take that as evidence:  the company is also on Fast Company’s list of the Top 25 Most Innovative Companies, and they’re the winner of more IDEA awards than any other design firm. Props for IDEO, please.

They recently worked with Jamie Oliver, that cheeky, dishy bloke,  on an “Open Food Revolution,” posing this question to the internets: how can we raise kids’ awareness of the benefits of fresh food so they can make better choices?

They posed the question in late July. Just three months later, they’d sorted through 584 inspirations, evaluated 198 concepts, shortlisted 40 final concepts, selected 17 winners, and produced a book of those winners, designed to educate, inspire, regulate, play, and make our way to a world of better, more healthful food.

And you?  Can download the book of best ideas here (PDF).  And you should. Many of the ideas aren’t new — take kids to a farm, trace your food back to its roots, have food tastings, eliminate junky “kids” food. But some of them take ideas to new places (I love, love the plates with designated zones that follow nutrition guidelines), and collectively, they add up to an environment in which it is easier, not more difficult, to raise kids to love the foods that are good for them.

I dig the excellent design of the whole thing, and I dig that there are 71 delightful pages to explore. Mostly, I love that there are still so many inspired people out there, working to make it easier, not harder, to raise kids with wellness in mind, and that this funny ol’ world we have today, this whole web 2.0 thing, makes it so easy to connect these good ideas. It’s a revolution in a revolution. And I really like it.

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