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Make lunch a healthy walk away from the workplace

Employers could offer healthy lunch deals with restaurants that are a 10-minute walk away from the office.

Photo of Matt Sandrini
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Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it inspire the end user to lead a healthier life?

During the brainstorming at the Manchester OpenIDEO first session, we were looking at each other eating habits and trying to paint a wider picture of each other's daily activities and how these might impact our behaviour and attitude towards a healthy lifestyle. Convenience can sometimes makes us a bit lazy, so we thought that by offering lunch deals with shops that are a walk away from the office, employers would offer an incentive for workers to take a break and get some movement daily.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We could try it out on ourselves, by forcing us to walk a minimum of 5-10 minutes every day before having lunch, and monitor our own reaction to it. Another way could be to ask a small business to participate in the experiment. It would be interesting to measure friction and see whether and at what point the worker would give up the reward of a lunch deal in order not to have to walk to reach the shop.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea?

It would be great to hear what other people from the OpenIDEO community do during their lunch break, what they observe in colleagues, and whether they think workers would be willing to take a daily walk.

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm


Join the conversation:

Photo of Cecilia Reifschneider

Hi Matt, nice idea! I hadn't seen it before posting my own an now I think one could incorporate the other. What if there were different levels of discounts based on how far you walked to get your lunch? Perhaps people could sign up to the app and geolocate their workplace before having access to a list of nearby restaurants or food trucks?

Photo of Matt Sandrini

I very much like this idea, it could be an evolution of this v1 experiment!

Photo of Allen A

My 2 cents: good idea!

Photo of OpenIDEO

Matt, you've been mentioned by Maria in our latest Community Voices blog! Check it out here:

Photo of Helen Van

In San Francisco and Nashville, I tend to go to the same lunch places or pack my lunch. Maybe user participation could be increased by email or push notifications mid-week (Tues-Fri) related to:
1. pushing a different restaurant every week would be exciting and encourage users to try new places, rather than me trying to remember or having to pull up a list of participating restaurants (which is the current situation at our company)
2. a push email/notification (per users' setting - daily, weekly, bi-weekly) would keep them from forgetting about it. We had "Walk It Out Wednesdays" at work, but I got used to it sitting on my calendar and eventually started ignoring it
3. for the days of the week that users do bring a packed lunch, the app/platform could still push different walking loops or eating areas (like "today, let's take lunch to the park 1 mile down the street!")

Photo of H Mack

What about targeting school children who are let out for lunch? Most kids have smartphones and are looking to save money - and if it was healthy eating it means you're training younger people to eat healthier from when they are first making eating choices. In the long run it could encourage more healthier eating places around school which benefits the entire community.

Photo of Shane Zhao

Matt, this is a very interesting idea! I've seen how mobile payment services like GoPago have been setting up partnerships with local restaurants in the Bay Area. Users would open the GoPago app to discover special lunch deals at restaurants and deli's nearby their work. It's a great way to incentivize people to walk a little bit further for discounts on delicious daily specials. Can you share with us a bit more about how the role of technology will work in this idea? It'd be great to add more content to the Full Description section of your post. Thanks for the share!